Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Did Eve Get the Memo?

Posted by robf on July 4, 2012

What did Eve know and when did she know it?  

In reading the account of the Creation and Fall in Genesis and Moses, we find something very interesting about the commandment to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil: the commandment was given to Adam alone (Genesis 2:16-17; Moses 3:16-17).  Eve wasn’t there.  She only appears after Adam is given this commandment.

However, by the time the Serpent (Genesis) or Satan (Moses) shows up to tempt Eve, she seems to know about the commandment (Geneisis 3: 2-3 ; Moses 4:8-9).

So how does she know about this commandment?  Did God reveal this to her himself, or did she just get this commandment by way of Adam?  Does it matter?  How might this help us understand the nature of Eve’s state of knowledge and relationship to Adam and God before the Fall?  Does that change our understanding of her relationships to Adam and God after the Fall?  While some of this may not be appropriate for discussion on a public blog, how does the Temple Account of Creation and Fall differ from these written accounts, and how does it add to or perhaps alter our view of what is going on here?

12 Responses to “Did Eve Get the Memo?”

  1. tanamaybach62 said

    There is an AWESOME book by Alonzo L. Gaskill, titled: TheSavior & The Serpent – Unlocking the Doctrine of the Fall.

    Bio of Alonzo L. Gaskill: Faculty member of BYU, Provo. Is currently an Assistant Professor of Church History and Doctrine. He holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, a Masters in Theology, and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies. Has taught at Brigham Young University since 2003. Prior to coming to BYU he served in a variety of assignments within the church Educational System – most recently as the director of the LDS Institute of Religion at Stanford University (1995-2003).

    I have personally spoken with him regarding the Fall of Adam & Eve and he is AWESOME! The above mentioned book is a MUST READ and I review and refer to it frequently.

    In this book Alonzo states, “It must be rememebred that nowhere in scripture do we have a full account of exactly what took place in the Garden surrounding the giving of the command not to partake of the “forbidden” fruit. Something is clearly missing in each of the authorized accounts of the Fall. Something additional must have happened that is unclear in the story of the Fall but revealed through modern prophets. –P14

    Adam and Eve did exactly what God sent them to do–exactly what the Father wanted them to do. Robert L. Millet wrote: “Latter-day Saints view the Fall with an optimism born of the conviction that Adam and Eve went intothe Gards of Eden to fall, that the Fall was as much a part of the foreordained plan of the father as the Atonement. We believe they did precisely what needed to be done.”
    There was no mad scramble in heaven when Adam fell. The Fall was part of the plan fromm the beginning, and those present in the premortal world knew of it and accepted it even before the earth was created. . . . In the premortal council Lucifer proposed that he would “redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost.” (Moses 4:1) This suggests that the knowledge of the fall and the need for redemption were known to God’s spirit children before the creation of the earth. –P3


    In light of our discussion, the following concepts should be clear:

    • The Fall of man was planned by God, and taught in the premortal world, even before earth was created.

    • In the Grand Council in Heaven Adam and Eve were called, sustained, and set apart to bring to pass the Fall.

    • When Adam and Eve entered Eden they had direct access to God and frequently conversed with Him regarding the plan and their role in it.

    • While in Eden, our first parents understood that God desired them to bring to pass a state of mortality so that the plan of salvation could be initiated for those waiting in the premortal world.

    • The only way to introduce mortality, death, and the veil of separation was to intentionally transgress one of God’s commands.

    • God could not oppose His own plan; He could not instigate death; nor could he force a veil between Himself and His creations. Thus, Adam and Eve functioned as the agents to bring each of these elements into play.

    • Adam and Eve are to be honored because they did God’s will and, in doing so, provided an opportunity for our exaltation.

    • Lucifer was the only participant in the Fall to actually be deluded.

    • Finally for the discussion which is to follow, it is important to realize that the vast majority of what we learn from the scriptural and temple accounts of the Fall is about us and our personal fall–and not about Adam and Eve and their fall from Eden. To miss the distinction is to both misunderstand what the authorized accounts of the Fall are trying to convey and also to potentially misunderstand the doctrines relating to the Fall.

    Hope the above information provides you with a broader perspective on this subject.


  2. robf said

    I agree that “the vast majority of what we learn from the scriptural and temple accounts of the Fall is about us and our personal fall” rather than a one-time-only historical incident–and am much more comfortable with questions about the Fall than most of our proffered answers. A lot to ponder.

    • Tanamaybach62 said

      It is generally understood that Adam and Eve were typological symbols for the human race. They serve as representations of each of of and our own personal fall from grace. –P23

      Adam . . . is the Representative of the human race. . . . This story must be taken seriously but not literally. . . . It is a [scriptural story] that accurately reveals the existential situation in which man finds himself in the world. . . . While anchored in history, its significance is not limited to a particular history. . . . The language or terminology employed is, for the most part, symbolic. . . . To affirm that there are [figurative and symbolic] elements in Scripture is not to detract from its divine inspiration nor from its historical basis but to attest that the Holy Spirit has made use of various kinds of language and imagery to convey divine truth. . . . The tale in Genesis concerns not only a first fall and first man but a universal fall and universal man. Adam is not so much a private person as the head of the human race. He is a generic as well as first man. He is Everyman and therefore Representative Man. He is the representative of both our original parents and of all humankind. –P24

      Robf, I just want you to know and be clear with you that I am a NEWBIE to Religious issues, it was only 2 years ago that I started looking into it and doing research about it.

      As odd as it may sound, I love RESEARCHING!!!


  3. Bonnie said

    Much, much, much we don’t know about the first dispensation. The records we have have been restored several times – first by Moses, then probably Ezra, hard to say what survived Josiah’s sanitization. Even the JST which is immensely helpful doesn’t tell us if it is restoring the original record, Moses’ version, Ezra’s, Josiah’s, or whose. And who knows what happened between the 2nd century BCE and 2nd Century AD to the records. I’ve been thinking a lot lately of the independence of the dispensations from one another, the way the records were kept and which ones survived, the work of each of the dispensations, and our work. It seems clear that we are to work with what we have and seek further light and knowledge personally. Boy, but what I would give for a primary source on the 1st D, though.

    Speculatively, I can’t believe she would have been allowed to partake ignorantly and I don’t believe she did. I lean with those who saw her choice as her stewardship (two veils theory), but who knows? I’d love to be enlightened further, so I guess I have some work to do.

  4. karell Bingham said

    It doesn’t matter, the story of the Garden of Eden is a symbolic poem. It was not meant to tell us how they fell, but why they fell. Why they fell was lost along the way until it was restored.

  5. robf said

    Thanks for all the comments so far. A wife variety of opinions and thoughts on the Fall narrative :-)

  6. larryco_ said

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland informs us, “They had full knowledge of the plan of salvation” during their stay in Eden.

    Alma says, “God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption” (Alma 12:32; emphasis mine; see also Moses 7:32). Owing to the fact that God’s laws do not change, we must assume that this same principle was in effect in Eden. Indeed, the Lord stated that he gave Adam and Eve their knowledge in the day he created them (Moses 7:32). That being the case, clearly Adam and Eve would have known their purpose in Eden. Indeed, if they had not known their purpose in Eden, they would not have been capable of exercising agency, for, as Elder Bruce R. McConkie has noted, knowledge is a prerequisite to the exercising of agency.

    We know from modern revelation that Adam and Eve entered into covenants with God while they were in the Garden. At the very least, they participated in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage—being sealed for time and all eternity by God the Father, Himself. It is quite likely that they also received at least part of their endowments in Eden. Covenants, of course, can be entered into only by those spiritually and intellectually capable of understanding the promises they are making. Otherwise, they could not be held responsible for the promises and commitments they have made.

    As President Boyd K. Packer has noted:
    “Moral law assumes accountability; no accountability, no penalties! Moral law will self-destruct if enforced against those not accountable. It is not moral to do so.”

    Thus, the fact that Adam and Eve did make covenants in Eden prior to their Fall indicates that they were intellectually and spiritually mature and capable of being held accountable for their actions. Indeed, if our first parents were “as little children” in their intellect or level of spirituality, how could they have been held accountable by God when they partook of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil? Such would be contrary to the laws of God and the plan of salvation. As President Packer noted, it wouldn’t be moral. We are never accountable for what we do not know or cannot understand.

    Eve got the memo, attended the briefing, took notes, and reminded Adam of the things he had missed while he was out getting a diet coke.

    • marcusladd said

      Which begs the question . . . when you speak of Adam and Eve as spiritually mature and capable, then you are talking about the role of the Holy Ghost in their hearts and minds. Was it operable in the garden? Was Eve’s transgression a failure to yield to the enticings of the Spirit? – something which Christ, as the one fully anointed with the Spirit, does perfectly. Isn’t the fall about how the natural man came to be? In Nephi’s vision we have the tree of life, but the other tree is absent — or is it represented by the great and spacious building? (Many commentaries cite Eve’s trespass as the sin of pride.)

  7. CEF said

    I am just thinking out loud here, so please do not take this to be a thread jack. But the tension in the Church over Adam and Eve fascinates me. This week we have a discussion about how things were for A&E, and then next week we have a discussion about how A&E are not real people. I don’t think we can have it both ways. Or is it just me? Probably, just me.

  8. Robert C. said

    Interesting questions, Rob, I’ve never thought about this particular issue. Elder Oaks likes to talk about the difference between sin and transgression, noting that Eve only transgressed. His take has never completely jived with me, but perhaps thinking about his take in the light of your point here would make it a more coherent story….

  9. Roberta said

    You might enjoy the Jewish Study Bible’s perspective on the book of Genesis (published by the Jewish Publication Society) about the two differing stories of Adam and Eve. “One aspect of narrative in Genesis that requires special attention is its high tolerance for different versions of the same event, a well-known feature of ancient Near Eastern literature, from earliest times through rabbinic midrash.” To me, it’s interesting to read the ancient Jewish source critics’ views that predate the Christian influence. But then I’m that kind of geek.

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