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How We Taught This Lesson in the Past: Lesson 4: “Because of My Transgression My Eyes Are Opened”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 17, 2010

Formalized auxiliary lessons were still in their developmental infancy when this lesson was published in 1901. Even so, the lesson takes the approach favored in today’s manual: A focus on the scriptural account from the Pearl of Great Price, cross-referenced to both Old and New Testaments and the Book of Mormon, with some explanatory narration and questions, making the identical points taught today. This year’s lesson even includes a point-by-point catechism of doctrinal points to be extracted from the story – which in this 1901 lesson is called “What We May Learn from This Lesson.”

Although not as prominent in this old lesson as it is in the modern manual, both lessons remind class members that the atonement of Christ is the antidote to the fall of Adam and Eve.

The Fall.

Text – Genesis 2:8, 9, 15, 16,. 18. Pearl of Great Price.

8. And the Lord God planted a garden[1] eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life[2] also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

* * * * * * * * *

15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. – Genesis, Chapter 2.

And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent [3], * * * and he said unto the woman, Yea, hath the Lord said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden? (And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die [4]; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked [5]. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife went to hide [6] themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And I, the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where goest thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I beheld that I was naked, and I hid myself.

And I, the Lord God, said unto Adam, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? If so, thou shouldst surely die? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.

And I, the Lord God, said unto the woman, What is this thing which thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

And I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this thou shalt be cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust [7] shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; and I will put enmity between thee and the woman; between thy seed and her seed; and he [8] shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground – for thou shalt surely die – for out of it thou wast taken; for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return. * * * * And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only begotten, Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever, therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. * * * So I drove out the man [10], and I placed at the east of the garden of Eden, Cherubim [11] and a flaming sword [12], which turned every way to keep the way of the Tree of Life. – Book of Moses.

1. Ezekiel 31: 8, 9. 2. Genesis 3: 22; Alma 42: 3, 5, 6; Revelation 2: 7; 22: 2; Proverbs 3: 18. 3. Revelation 12: 9; II Nephi 2: 18; Mosiah 16: 3. 4. John 8: 44. 5. Genesis 2: 25. 6. Jeremiah 23: 24. 7. Isaiah 65: 25. 8. Isaiah 7: 14; Matthew 1: 23; Luke 1: 35. 9. Alma 42: 2; Mosiah 2: 25. 10. II Nephi 2: 19. 11. Alma 42: 2, 3; Psalms 80: 1, 99. 12. I Chronicles 21: 16; Alma 12: 21.

Lesson Statement.

When the earth was finished the Lord God planted a beautiful garden with fruit trees of every description and all plants good for food, and He placed therein Adam and Eve, and told them they might freely eat of all the fruit except that from one special tree called the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil”; but of this tree they were commanded not to eat under penalty of death. Satan came to Eve in the form of a serpent, and tempted her to eat of the forbidden fruit, saying that if she did so she would become wise. She believed the voice of the evil one, and ate some of the fruit. Then she took some of it to her husband, Adam, and asked him to eat. He at first refused; but remembering that the Lord had commanded him to remain with Eve, and seeing that as she had fallen through the deception practiced by Satan he would have to separate from her unless he became like unto her, he also did eat. Before this act they had been innocent like children; but now they felt ashamed, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made aprons to cover themselves with. In the evening the Lord came down to the Garden of Eden, as He had been used to do; and Adam and Eve, hearing His voice, went and hid themselves. The Lord called to Adam, and asked him if he had eaten of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; and Adam answered that the woman whom the Lord had commanded him to remain with, had offered him some of the fruit, and he had eaten. The Lord questioned the woman, and afterward the serpent. Because the serpent had been the means of deceiving Eve, the Lord cursed the creature above all other animals, and declared that hatred should exist between man and the serpent; and though the serpent might do mankind some harm, man should be able to bruise the serpent’s head. Then the Lord declared that because Eve had listened to the tempter’s voice rather than to the commandment of God, she should ever be subject to her husband, and great should be her pain and suffering in life. And because of Adam’s transgression, the Lord declared that he should ever have to work by the sweat of his brow to get food to eat; and the ground was cursed for his sake, so that it brought forth thorns and thistles. Now, there was another tree in the Garden of Eden, known as the “Tree of Life”; and the Lord had decreed that whoever should eat of the fruit of this tree would live forever. Therefore, as the Lord had said that Adam and Eve must die because of their disobedience, He drove them out of the Garden of Eden, and placed there an angel with a flaming sword to guard the Tree of Life. Thus did our first parents become mortal.

Notes.

EDEN. – This word, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies something particularly pleasant and delightful – a very appropriate name for the “garden of the Lord.” The majority of Christians believe Eden to have been in Persia, on the Eastern Hemisphere; though the best authorities admit that there is no resemblance between that place, at the present time, and the spot described in the bible. The latter-day Saints possess more certain knowledge on the subject, the Lord having revealed to Joseph Smith the exact location of the altar upon which Adam offered sacrifices after he had been expelled from the Garden of Eden. The ruins of the altar are till standing, at the place called Spring Hill, in Missouri; but the Lord has named that place Adam-ondi-Ahman. See Doc. and Cov., Sec. 116, and The Contributor, Vol. 7, p. 314.

THE FALL. – It is not proper for us to blame our first parents for their act of seeming disobedience. God alone can be their Judge. Adam certainly knew what he was about. (See I Timothy 2: 14.) “Adam was not deceived; but the woman being deceived was in transgression.” (Read carefully II Nephi 2: 22-25.) The fall of Adam was not mere chance; it was according to Divine will that men should have the opportunity of choosing between good and evil. Christ, we learn, was ordained, before the world was made, to be a sacrifice for sin. By the fall man gained the knowledge of good and evil.

What We May Learn from This Lesson.

1. That it was Satan, the enemy of God and of man, who first tempted Eve. 2. That by eating of the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve became conscious good and evil. 3. That Adam was not deceived in what he did; knowing well that the Lord desired himself and Eve to remain together. 4. That Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong, and sought to hide themselves from the Lord. 5. That the Lord cursed the serpent, and implanted hatred between that creature and man. 6. That Adam and Eve were punished for their transgression. 7. That the Lord would not permit them to partake of the Tree of Life. 8. That Eden was on this continent, probably near Adam-ondi-Ahman, in Missouri.

Questions on the Lesson.

1. Where were Adam and Eve first placed to live? 2. Of what were they cautioned against eating? 3. What was the penalty for disobedience? 4. Who ate of the forbidden fruit first? 5. Why did Eve do so? 6. Why did Adam then eat also? 7. Who came into the garden toward the evening of that day? 8. What did Adam and Eve do when they heard the voice of the Lord? 9. What did the Lord say? 10. How did He curse the serpent? 11. What did he say to Eve? 12. What to Adam? 13. Where did Adam and Eve then go? 14. who was placed in the garden after they had left? 15. For what purpose? 16. How do you know that the Lord intended that death should come into the world? 17. Where do we suppose the Garden of Eden was?



5 Comments »

  1. Adam’s altar is still standing in Missouri? I’ve heard that Eden was there, but I have never heard the claim that the original altar was still there. I would think that Noah’s flood, the earthquakes of Christ’s crucifiction, and various other elements of nature and man over the past 6,000 would destroy something like that.

    Comment by kew — January 17, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  2. I will teach this next week. I’m looking forward to it.

    As for the altar, the Lord revealed the site, but the stone structures Abraham O. Smoot claimed to have found there were most likely of later construction.

    At any rate, the urban legends I hear say that so many relic hunters have taken stones from the stone structures, that they are no longer visible above ground.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — January 17, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  3. When we toured Adam-ondi-Ahman (my family lived in Jackson county in 1973-75), a local man told us his elders’ quorum had a regular service project to “replenish” the stones that tourists kept carting away.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 17, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

  4. Oh wow! That is funny!

    Comment by Bruce Crow — January 17, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

  5. I have a quote at home by John Widstoe, about the stones in the altar at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Responding to someone who was talking arguing for “no death before the fall”, Elder Widstoe remarked that he had examined one of the stones from the altar, and noticed that on close examination, that there were tiny fossils in the rocks, so obviously something had died a very long time before Adam built his altar. I think he was trying to make a point both about the age of the earth, and about the stone altars at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Love the bit about replenishing the stones for the altar. (scratches head in apparent bemusement)!

    Comment by kevinf — January 18, 2010 @ 11:09 am

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