Confusion about Adam and Eve:

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Old-Timer
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Old-Timer » 09 Jan 2012, 23:26

Fwiw, I think it is interesting to ask Jews and Catholics (as the longest readers of the account) whether they see it as literal or figurative or symbolic - especially Jews, since they aren't influenced by the Christian perspective. I would suggest asking friends or reading some views online to get a feel for how they see it.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 10 Jan 2012, 07:27

Ilovechrist77 wrote:I believe the story was to be taken literally. Parts of it don't make sense, but I guess that's why we're supposed to accept Gospel teachings on faith.
I believe otherwise, most strongly and emphatically. Faith involves obedience in the absence of knowledge, and yes, faithful LDS are to obey even when we don't know the reason. This does not apply to knowledge, for we are to seek to have knowledge on our own through study, prayer, and confirmation. True faith does not assert knowledge in the absence of logic. Your statement "we're supposed to accept Gospel teachings on faith" can mean to many, 'turn off your thinking and just say that it's true'. I think that is dangerous, and I do not believe that is what a loving god wants for his children. It isn't what I would want for mine.

Here is why i believe it is not literal, and why we don't just accept knowledge assertions:

1. Prior to 1990, the revealed endowment language said that the story was meant to be taken strictly figuratively.

2. When Adam is confronted with why he obeyed, he said, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me", and then afterwards, the reason was provided to Adam, and he rejoiced, then, in this 'knowledge'. Adam did not pretend to know the reason for his obedience: he did not do apologetics, he did not accept (as in assert knowledge) based upon faith. He obeyed acknowledging that he did not know, which is as explicit of a definition of faith as anything. Faith is not pretended knowledge, it is action/obedience explicitly without knowledge as to why.
Last edited by wayfarer on 10 Jan 2012, 14:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 10 Jan 2012, 07:31

Old-Timer wrote:I think bringiton's comment is a good example of people finding meaning in different ways that work for them, even if those ways don't work for others. I don't see it that way (and, honestly, I've never thought of it that way and don't get anything special from seeing it that way), but that's OK - since the purpose isn't to have everyone see it exactly alike but, instead, have each person see it in a way that gives meaning and "enlightenment" to them personally.

I think it's cool that someone can think about it uniquely and find great meaning in a way that just doesn't work for me. Thanks, bringiton, for sharing your thoughts about it.
+1. for once you and I are in complete agreement. :lolno:
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by GBSmith » 10 Jan 2012, 11:06

wayfarer wrote: He obeyed acknowledging that he did not know, which is as explicit of a definition of faith as anything. Faith is not pretended knowledge, it is action/obedience explicitly without knowledge as to why.
Sorry but that doesn't sound like faith. It just sounds like doing what you're told.

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Heber13 » 10 Jan 2012, 11:25

I believe faith is built upon the person's intent and heart. One person's faith could be another person's blind obedience, depending on how they are processing it internally.

Examples of faith in the book of Hebrews shows that Abraham was to sacrifice his son. It may look like blind obedience ("Ok, God said to kill my son...c'mere son...let's take a walk."), but as we read in verses 17-19:
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
I look at this as Abraham was doing it expecting his son would be raised from the dead. Even if he didn't understand why he was to do it, there was faith on an outcome or expectation. There was more thought and consideration, even in the absence of knowledge, on why doing it is still the right thing and what the Lord can do to bless them in spite of the difficult trial.

Of course, I believe this is as much allegorical as Adam and Eve. But I can apply it to my life to think about how I do not feel comfortable just doing what I'm told, but I can at times get to a point where I can obey with faith even if I lack knowledge but try to gain it through experiences.
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?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 10 Jan 2012, 12:17

GBSmith wrote:
wayfarer wrote: He obeyed acknowledging that he did not know, which is as explicit of a definition of faith as anything. Faith is not pretended knowledge, it is action/obedience explicitly without knowledge as to why.
Sorry but that doesn't sound like faith. It just sounds like doing what you're told.
doing what you're told has nothing to do with knowledge. If you're doing what you're told and you know why, it's not faith. If you're doing something you're told and you don't know why (no threats, no known consequences, no reason whatsoever), then you must at leaast trust that the person asking you has a reason.

Some scriptural dimensions here:

faith without works is dead (James 2). Therefore faith implies action.

faith is not a knowledge of things (alma 32). The operative element of faith is 'not knowing'.

Faith is not knowledge:
pretending to know something when you don't is called deception, not faith.
thinking you know something when you don't is called delusion, not faith.
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Roy » 10 Jan 2012, 12:59

wayfarer wrote:Once we set aside literalism, a world of wonder becomes available to us! each person's interpretation of the story, "likening scripture to ourselves," adds to the meaning of the story.
For some people the literalism makes these stories relevant, otherwise they would just be stories. I know DW was really interested in a book that she believed to be a true account and then stopped reading it cold when she discovered that it was fiction. She also would have trouble finding things of value in the BOM if it were not taken literally.
Ilovechrist77 wrote:I believe the story was (meant) to be taken literally.
This sentence is written from the passive voice. My question would be - who meant or intended for this story to be taken literally? Was it God? The original writers? or the current correlated leadership of the church?
Obviously we have the most direct and observable experience with current church leadership, yet even here (as evidenced by the pre-1990 endowment disclaimer) there doesn't appear to be a consensus.

Without knowing your full intent, I might modify your words to say - "I believe the story literally and that belief adds meaning and hope/faith to my life"

As for me personally, I don't know - but I do enjoy considering the possibilities. Good discussion guys!
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 10 Jan 2012, 13:15

I was just stating my belief of how I was originally taught the fall of Adam and Eve was a literal event. That doesn't bother me that different people believe differently about the event. We all have different degrees of faith and spiritual knowledge of Gospel principles and I strongly believe that God will judge us all righteously when all is said and done. I pray me and all of you will have eternal life. It's been a good discussion.

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 10 Jan 2012, 14:06

Ilovechrist77 wrote:I was just stating my belief of how I was originally taught the fall of Adam and Eve was a literal event. That doesn't bother me that different people believe differently about the event. We all have different degrees of faith and spiritual knowledge of Gospel principles and I strongly believe that God will judge us all righteously when all is said and done. I pray me and all of you will have eternal life. It's been a good discussion.
thank you for your sentiment. If you do feel that the event is literal, I respect your belief, but do believe otherwise. I also appreciate that BH Roberts diverged with others about literalism in the scriptural record, but all remained faithful in brotherhood as leaders of the church.

I hope that within the household of faith there is opportunity to interpret things differently, and even disagree about interpretation, but in the end, we can all acknowledge the blessings of the wonderful gifts of our minds and our free agency. Would you agree?
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 10 Jan 2012, 20:28

Yes, I would agree with that, wayfarer.

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