January 12, 2022

Finding Christ in the Fall of Adam and Eve

The fall of Adam and Eve is perhaps one of the more misunderstood stories of the Old Testament. Many see it as a tragic event that ultimately brought sin and death into the world. Yet, the fall also is the catalyst that brought about the saving atonement of Jesus Christ. As we more fully understand this important event, we can see that it is a pivotal part of God’s plan. We also can find that the story of Adam and Eve is really our own story. Within the words of this account, we can find our own fall from grace, our longing for redemption, and our being raised up to eternal life with the Savior through his sacrifice and resurrection! 

The story begins in a beautiful garden, the garden of Eden. The Lord had just completed the creation of the world. With the beauty of the mountains, oceans, plants, animals, and all other creations completed, the Father’s culminating act was the creation of male and female in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). He then placed Adam and Eve into this beautiful Garden, a paradise on earth where there was no sin or death, pain or suffering. 

Here in the Garden, Adam and Eve were given two commandments. The first was to multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28). The second was that they could eat of any of the trees of the garden except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17). If they partook, they would be cast out of the Garden to fend for themselves and eventually would die. Notwithstanding this command, they were given the opportunity to choose for themselves. If they did not eat of the fruit, they would remain in the presence of the Lord where all things would be provided for them. They would not know pain and suffering, anguish or death. Yet, if they stayed in the garden, they likewise would not know true joy or happiness. For it is only by experiencing pain and suffering that we can truly know joy. It is only by tasting the bitter that we can know the sweet.

Satan, desiring to frustrate the great plan of God, thought to tempt Adam and Eve into partaking of the fruit. As is always the case, Satan did not understand the plan of God, for the Lord knows all things. God knew that Adam and Eve would fall. He knew the consequences of their choice. He was never caught off guard or surprised. Because of this, before they had even made their decision to transgress the law of the Father, He had already laid the groundwork for them to return to the presence of the Lord. 

Satan tempted Eve to partake by first asking “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Eve responded that they could eat of all the trees except for the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Then, as Satan so often does, he mixed a lie with a truth. He states that Eve would not die if she partook (which of course was a lie), but would have her eyes opened, knowing good and evil (which was true). (Genesis 3:4-5). The Lord even recognized this when he later states: “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” (Genesis 3:22). Thus, Satan was able to deceive our first parents, as he continues to do today, by mixing a truth with a lie, making it harder to recognize his deception.

With their eyes open, and now recognizing that they were naked, they both sewed fig leaves to make aprons to hide their nakedness and shame. The Lord God then called to Adam asking “Where art thou?” giving him an opportunity to acknowledge his transgression before the Lord. However, instead of admitting his wrong, he blames Eve, his wife. When the Lord asked Eve, she similarly blamed the serpent stating that he had beguiled or deceived her. (Genesis 3:7-14).

The Lord God then turns to the serpent and gives us the first messianic prophecy found in the Bible. He states, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; [He] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15). Just as it was by a woman that the fall would occur, it would be through another woman that redemption would be born into this earth.

We often criticize Mother Eve for her choice, but it is because of her decision to partake that the Savior would be able to come into this world. It is because of the fall that suffering, pain, and death would now be in the world. These elements are the very things that would allow for the Savior to come and redeem us. There must be suffering to have the atonement. There must be death to have the resurrection. Equally, without sin we would never learn between good and evil, and we would never need to accept Jesus as our Savior. Without death, we would never have the chance to be resurrected and live forever with the Lord! Thus the fall of Adam and Eve sets in motion the very plan of God, providing the way for us to live with Him forever!

With infinite loving compassion, before the Father sends Adam and Eve out into the lone and dreary wilderness to learn to distinguish between good and evil, he first covers them with coats of skins to hide their nakedness (Genesis 3:21). While the Bible does not mention where these skins came from, it would only make sense that these skins were from the first animal, perhaps a lamb, that had been slain on their behalf so that they could be covered. The word atonement in Hebrew actually means to cover or blot out. Here we have a beautiful symbol of the coming Messiah. A sacrifice is made, an innocent animal dies, and Adam and Eve both are now covered and protected before being sent out into the world. The shame they felt for transgressing the Law of the Father is covered over because of the death of an innocent animal. These skins would be a constant reminder to them throughout their lives that it was only through the shedding of blood that sin can be covered over.

What a beautiful lesson we learn here. Adam and Eve both were given the chance to admit their wrongs. While they did acknowledge their transgression, they also sought to blame others. Yet, in his loving kindness, the Father takes them where they are, helps them see the seriousness of their actions, and then gives them protection and a symbol that would teach them of the coming Messiah.

As we study the story of Adam and Eve, we can find our own story within its words. Each of us comes to this earth as an innocent child of a loving Heavenly Father. As we grow, we are faced with the opportunity to choose between right and wrong. As a loving Father, God knows that the only way we can learn and grow is if we are allowed to make mistakes. Just as a parent must allow their young child to fall so that they may learn to walk, our Father allows us to choose for ourselves whether we will obey or disobey His commands. Just like Adam and Eve, we will often try to hide our sins from God. But He knows all things and gives us the opportunity to come unto Him as we are.

It is fitting that the story of our redemption began in a garden, the Garden of Eden, and that the culmination of the redemptive story ends in a garden near a hill called Calvary. After the Savior had suffered for the sins of the world, and had been crucified, his lifeless body was removed from the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb in a garden. (John 19:41). On the third day He rose from the dead, overcoming the effects of the fall. Because the fall took place, the Savior could suffer for our sins, covering the shame of our disobedience. Because of the fall, the Savior could die and be resurrected again, giving life to all! Truly, the fall set in motion the most critical event ever to take place, even the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ!

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