Confusion about Adam and Eve:

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Ilovechrist77
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Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 07 Jan 2012, 23:25

Sorry if I posted this question as a response to the Nauvoo Expositor. I didn't mean to do that. If the fall of Adam and Eve was supposed to happen to bring us into mortality to become like Heavenly Father, then why didn't Heavenly Father just say to them partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Why did Satan say it? And if we're supposed to dress modestly then why did Satan tell Adam and Eve they were naked after partaking of the fruit? If these things are part of Heavenly Father's plan then why didn't he say those things? Even after hearing various explanations by the church, these things don't make any sense to me. Your thoughts?

GBSmith
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by GBSmith » 07 Jan 2012, 23:28

It was just the writer's way of trying to explain things. It's not even the "translated correctly" thing. Just someone trying to make sense of why things are the way they are. Some take it as an accurate description of a real event with real people. That's what causes all the trouble.

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Heber13
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Heber13 » 08 Jan 2012, 01:00

My feeling on the story is it is teaching how God expects us to think and act for ourselves so we can learn through experience...not just be told what to do. But at some level the story starts to break down as a real head scratcher, so it can only be taken for what it is intended...a story with a teaching we can ponder about and apply to our lives as we must make decisions, or if it doesn't resonate with us, that's ok...note the story and move on to something that may be more relevant.

One application for me is that when I was struggling in my marriage and there was stress at church, I was willing to back away from church to keep my family together, and strive to hang on to spiritual matters even if I was less actively committed to callings or other things. I thought that was similar to the choice Adam and Eve chose to have a family and stay together even if that choice included leaving the Garden of Eden. Again, at some point the analogy or metaphor breaks down and didn't exactly fit my experiences as I still struggle with issues in my life...but I appreciate stories like these in the scriptures to give me some things to ponder, but I don't get hung up on the Adam and Eve story making total sense or not.

Satan's part in the story makes little logical sense to me. Perhaps some time in my life something about his role will, but so far it doesn't. I mean, if he was just kicked out of Heaven because his plan was to restrict choice and make all children obey rules and be saved, why would he then make his first actions in the world to get Adam and Eve to break commandments and practice agency (and by doing so, completely support Heavenly Father's plan)? It doesn't follow if I try to make it a literal story. But perhaps there are allegorical lessons there I do not yet grasp, and look forward to keep learning about these things. For sure, Satan makes it a less boring story.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 08 Jan 2012, 06:04

Heber13 wrote:My feeling on the story is it is teaching how God expects us to think and act for ourselves so we can learn through experience...not just be told what to do. But at some level the story starts to break down as a real head scratcher, so it can only be taken for what it is intended...a story with a teaching we can ponder about and apply to our lives as we must make decisions, or if it doesn't resonate with us, that's ok...note the story and move on to something that may be more relevant.
This is exactly what I think as well.

First, it's really important to recognize that the Garden of Eden story is not to be taken literally. Pre-1990, LDS doctrine was explicit on this matter. Speaking of the way the world was constructed, the endowment said: "This, however, is simply figurative, so far as the man and the woman are concerned."

If we take the garden of eden story literally, it becomes an ontology: this is how and why we are who we are. The reality is that we are not human because god formed us from the dust of the earth and then formed eve from removing a rib from adam. The story should not be taken literally.

Taken figuratively, the story has a more significant epistemology: this is how we know what we know. There were three potential sources of knowledge in the garden of eden:

1. Existential Knowledge ("Truth"). Adam and Eve (figurative archetypes for you and I) can obtain knowledge by direct observation. In this way the emergent order of the universe becomes apparent to us by study of things as they are. Observation, today, is the provenance of science: we can observe truth, we can test principles and laws, and we can understand truth for those things which are falsifiable, but are not falsified. Adam and Eve (we) have that mechanism available to them by virtual of observing, thinking, rational minds.

2. Spiritual Guidance ("Light"). Adam and Eve we instructed by God and his messengers as to what to do. Not everything in life is directly observable. Value judgments of good and evil are supposed to be embedded into us by virtue of the "light of Christ" given to every person. This is our internal moral compass, our conscience, our divine spirit that guides us to truth -- one of the needles in our internal Liahona. To the mystic, this direct knowledge of god is through the spiritual experience. As well, God, Jesus, and messengers (apostles) were sent to give Adam and Eve further light and knowledge, but the spirit of god and the message is meant to be minimal - it is not meet that we are commanded in all things.

The glory of god is intelligence, or in other words, truth and light. In my opinion, this is god's epistemology -- and we are to gain this for ourselves in the Lord's plan of salvation. The unity of body and spirit, of truth and light, of science and spirituality, achieves a fullness of joy. Intelligence is just exactly what it means -- thinking, observing, deciding, and making reasoned and inspired choices for ourselves, freely.

3. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. My take on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is that it is the predefined knowledge tree of value judgments defined as DOGMA -- that which is accepted as right and wrong without direct observation or spiritual confirmation. In most direct terms, when we go to a church or worldly system whereby all decisions of right and wrong are predefined, and we accept that predefined schema as being normative in our lives without searching for ourselves the truth through direct means, then we are partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil -- we are allowing someone else to make value judgments for us. It is to be commanded in all things. That was and is the 'forbidden fruit'.

Adam and Eve were commanded NOT to partake of this tree. Did that mean that God would leave them in ignorance? No, because either through personal experience or through spiritual/direct instruction they would get knowledge of God. The plan of salvation was most explicit on this point: we were to make our own value judgments based upon observed and minimal, received truth, and we were to learn for ourselves to distinguish good and evil -- not accept the predefined schema that would mandate our every action.

Once Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, their innocence was lost, and they observed the first false rule of good and evil: the human body is 'evil', and must be covered up. It's as if the author of the garden of eden story is trying to tell us something obvious here: nakedness and the human body are completely natural and good, yet the tree of knowledge of good and evil schema -- the false schema of dogma -- make it evil. Note how religion enforces dress standards to cover the woman's body because it might tempt men. This is false doctrine, always has been, always will be (in my distinct impression). Yet this was the first principle taught by Satan in invoking the schema of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

So, Adam and Eve (we) are thrown out of the garden of eden, forbidden now to partake of the tree of life (another symbol), but the tree of knowledge of good evil is still with us. It has gone into a new generation, one with sprouts all over the world: There's the Catholic tree, the Protestant tree, the Jewish tree, the Muslim tree, the Buddhist tree, Confucian, Daoist, neoPagan, Zoroastrian, Shinto, Communist, Atheist, Secular Humanist trees -- trees of knowledge of good and abound: the philosophies of men, mingled of course with scripture. You want religion do you? There will be many...

Oh and did I mention there is the Mormon tree as well? Same deal, really, when we partake of it without thinking and without regard for observable, provable truth.

I believe that we continue to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil today. Moral schemas abound: for Catholics, it's the catechism and tradition. For evangelicals, it's the literal word of god as written in the bible. For Jews it's the 613 mitzvoh written in the torah interpreted through the talmud. and for mormons, it's 'strength of youth', the 'ensign', the 'conference reports', etc., etc., ad infinitum.

When we adopt a moral schema of good and evil without thinking, disregarding observable truth, and without personal spiritual confirmation, we are partaking of the fruit. It's easy. It's delicious to the taste and very desirable. And its' wrong.

I believe that the moral of the garden of eden is to fix our way we gain knowledge. rote learning should be rejected in favor of the model of minimal high-level instruction, a lot of direct observation and truthful investigation, and a strong moral compass: the Liahona. Speaking from an LDS believing perspective, the high-level guidance is represented by 'the church' and its teachings confirmed by one's own personal testimony. The teachings and guidance should not fly in the face of either direct, observable truth nor the personal, direct moral compass of personal revelation.

There will be some minimal guidance to obey something that may not make sense. however in the story of the Garden of Eden and the aftermath, this blind obedience will not be left in place permanently by a loving god. The example of doing sacrifices was followed up by God with an explanation: "This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth." Once Adam was empowered with the reason, he and eve rejoiced and came closer to god not just because of blind obedience, but that the obedience had a symbolic meaning. There is a deep moral significance to this: at no time will god require permanently blind obedience. Once the obedience is done, the meaning will become clear for the obedience.
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by SamBee » 08 Jan 2012, 09:59

Why did Satan say it?
Maybe he said it, so that the plan could be set into motion by creating acts of choice, i.e. Adam, Eve AND Satan himself. If he'd ordered them to do it, and they didn't have the choice to, then there would be no agency.
And if we're supposed to dress modestly then why did Satan tell Adam and Eve they were naked after partaking of the fruit?
Because they were innocent like children, and it didn't matter to them up to that point.

Reading some rabbinical commentary, I came across the interesting idea that the first real sin was NOT taking the fruit (because they didn't know what they were doing), it was telling the lie afterwards, because then they did know what they were doing. The first really heinous sin though was Cain murdering Abel.
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Old-Timer » 08 Jan 2012, 13:22

To follow up on wayfarer's comment, "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves" means WAY more than we tend to realize, imo.

I have no problem with people who believe the general idea that Adam and Eve covered their nakedness once they entered the animal world as a way to separate themselves from the animals, but I think our scriptures are pretty clear, when parsed, that the initial clothing in the story is symbolic of Lucifer's attempt to get Adam and Eve to hide from God. With that view, physical nakedness really doesn't come into play - other than to make a very strong, anti-Victorian statement that there is NOTHING evil or fundamentally wrong with our bodies, even when naked.
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by SamBee » 08 Jan 2012, 13:47

The story is a metaphor for childhood. We live the womb, or at least early childhood, as a paradise, without too many cares and we are looked after. We run around naked, and don't care about it. Later we get out of that, get embarrassed and also gain an ability to choose. We also fall out with our parents and get kicked out of the home.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Minyan Man » 08 Jan 2012, 15:15

And then we come back home after we graduate from College.

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 09 Jan 2012, 00:31

Thanks. These are interesting insights. I always thought we were supposed to take the Garden of Eden as literal. At least, that's always what I thought.

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 09 Jan 2012, 04:42

Old-Timer wrote:I have no problem with people who believe the general idea that Adam and Eve covered their nakedness once they entered the animal world as a way to separate themselves from the animals, but I think our scriptures are pretty clear, when parsed, that the initial clothing in the story is symbolic of Lucifer's attempt to get Adam and Eve to hide from God. With that view, physical nakedness really doesn't come into play - other than to make a very strong, anti-Victorian statement that there is NOTHING evil or fundamentally wrong with our bodies, even when naked.
what parser are you using here? "see...you are naked" is pretty clear that the new schema encouraged by lucifer included "shame" and guilt for nakedness. then, we get to wear a coat if skin coverering to the neck, wrist, and ankles taliban style... i think nakedness has a lot to do with it, but i must be using a different parser. personally, i prefer lex and yacc...the ability to adjust the parsing rules is important. :lolno:
Last edited by wayfarer on 09 Jan 2012, 04:51, edited 1 time in total.
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