Adam & Eve / The Fall

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JohnLocke
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Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by JohnLocke » 13 Jan 2014, 22:15

Does anyone know of any good articles or material that attempts to interpret the Adam & Eve story in a more mythic sense and not as literal history, but from a faithful (albeit more liberal) LDS perspective?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Jan 2014, 23:00

Not off the top of my head, but I will do some checking. However, the best source, in my opinion, is the pre-1990 temple endowment, in which it said explicitly that the portrayal of the creation of Adam and Eve was figurative.

Also, there are threads in our archives that deal with that question, although they wouldn't be accepted as official sources by anyone. :P
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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

GBSmith
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by GBSmith » 13 Jan 2014, 23:31

JohnLocke wrote:Does anyone know of any good articles or material that attempts to interpret the Adam & Eve story in a more mythic sense and not as literal history, but from a faithful (albeit more liberal) LDS perspective?
Harold Kushner's How Good Do We Have To Be? is based on the Adam and Eve story. I just re read it and it might well have what you're looking for. He does not interpret it in a literal since and since he's a rabbi it won't be LDS in orientation but closer than you'd imagine.

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Eric Merrill
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by Eric Merrill » 14 Jan 2014, 08:07

Just listened to a mormom matter's episode that talked about this not too long ago.
http://mormonmatters.org/2013/10/01/194 ... n-cursing/
"Tradition is not the same as doctrine, and I will not hold myself back for fear of offending."
"Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination"

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On Own Now
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by On Own Now » 14 Jan 2014, 08:56

Articles, books, etc... no. But from my own perspective...

The way I look at this is by starting with less-revered stories. The talking donkey. The sun standing still. Lot's wife as a pillar of salt. These stories don't need to be true to convey meaning.

The best OT example is Job. This is so clearly not a true story that it is even written as a series of poems. There is a prologue (First two chapters) and an epilogue (Job 42:7 to the end). Everything else is a poetry or hymns. I think it can be seen as a collection of psalms with a narrative around it. It contains long call-and-response motifs. Job's friends question his loyalty to God, he responds with faith, God challenges Job, and he answers with humility. It's actually quite beautiful if taken in this way, but grotesquely disturbing if taken literally.

Similarly, I look at the fall as symbolic of our ungodly base human nature... something that, in Judeo-Christian thought, must be put away if we are to approach God. Adam and Eve are simply the narrative around the concept of the fall, in the same way that Job, Eliphaz and Elihu give context to the verses in the Book of Job.
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“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Jan 2014, 10:08

As far as it not being literal history, BYU's science department teaches evolution openly and directly. That alone would destroy any literal history tied to a young earth time frame.

Personally, I have read enough creation mythology to understand the general origins of the story. I love what I can interpret from it as mythology, and I like to see it as a symbolic presentation of our choice to leave Heaven and enter this life (complete with competing Gods vying for our allegiance, with the central choice being continued existence in the presence of God, the Father, with no eternal progression, or "following" Lucifer to this world of pain and suffering based on nothing more than faith that what we were told actually would occur as promised). Seriously, try reading it as an allegory of the War in Heaven - and then extrapolate that to the endowment.

As a symbolic story, I really like it. However, when I try to read it literally, not only does it fly in the face of modern scientific discovery, but it also loses SO much of its power and actually produces some conclusions I really dislike.
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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mackay11
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by mackay11 » 14 Jan 2014, 12:44

Ray Degraw wrote:Not off the top of my head, but I will do some checking. However, the best source, in my opinion, is the pre-1990 temple endowment, in which it said explicitly that the portrayal of the creation of Adam and Eve was figurative.

Also, there are threads in our archives that deal with that question, although they wouldn't be accepted as official sources by anyone. :P
Here's an official source:
In a symbolic way, the teachings and rituals of the temple take us on an upward journey toward eternal life, ending with a symbolic entrance into the presence of God. The characters depicted, the physical setting, the clothing worn, the signs given, and all the events covered in the temple are symbolic. When they are understood, they will help each person recognize truth and grow spiritually.
There are some words in between, but it means: "The characters depicted are symbolic." That doesn't mean they can't have a place in history, but for me their role as symbols is waaaaay more important than their theoretical as ancestors.

Happy to help

Mackay"just call me the quotes archive"11

http://manyotherhands.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... -than.html

Joni
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by Joni » 14 Jan 2014, 13:03

Ray Degraw wrote:Not off the top of my head, but I will do some checking. However, the best source, in my opinion, is the pre-1990 temple endowment, in which it said explicitly that the portrayal of the creation of Adam and Eve was figurative.
I wish I was around for that. (I was endowed in 2000.) I've mentioned before, I have serious concerns with the way Eve is portrayed, although I haven't seen the most recent video.

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Shawn
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Re: Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by Shawn » 14 Jan 2014, 14:44

Here are some quotes I've collected regarding Adam and Eve (but not regarding the fall)-

Parley P. Pratt:
”Man, moulded from the earth, as a brick! A woman, manufactured from a rib!...O man! When wilt thou cease to be a child in knowledge?” (Key to Theology, p.50)

John A. Widstoe:
”The statement that man was made from the dust of the earth is merely figurative....Likewise, the statement that God breathed into man the breath of life is figurative.” (Rational Theology, pp.50-51)

Spencer W. Kimball:
“The story of the rib, of course, is figurative.” (Ensign, March 1976, p.71)

Brigham Young:
"Here let me state to all philosophers of every class upon the earth, when you tell me that Father Adam was made as we make adobes from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. When you tell me that the beasts of the field were produced in that manner, you are speaking idle words devoid of meaning. There is no such thing in all the eternities where the Gods dwell." (Journal of Discourses 7:285-6)

Joseph F. Smith:
"Man was born of a woman; Christ, the Savior, was born of a woman, and Adam, our earthly parent, was also born of a woman into this world, the same as Jesus and you and I." (Deseret News, Dec. 17, 1913)

B. H. Roberts:
"We are informed that the Lord God made every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb before it grew on our planet. As vegetation was created or made to grow upon some older earth, and the seeds thereof or the plants themselves were brought to our earth and made to grow, so likewise man and his helpmate were brought from some other world to our own, to people it with their children. And though it is said that the 'Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground'—it by no means follows that he was 'formed' as one might form a brick, or form the dust of this earth. We are all 'formed' of the dust of the ground, though instead of being moulded as a brick we are brought forth by the natural laws of procreation; so also was Adam and his wife in some older world. And as for the story of the rib, under it I believe the mystery of procreation is hidden."
(The Gospel and Man's Relationship to Deity, p.268)

Bruce R. McConkie:
"Scant knowledge is available to us of Eve (the wife of Adam) and her achievements in pre-existence and in mortality. Without question she was like unto her mighty husband Adam in intelligence and in devotion to righteousness during both her first and second estates of existence. She was placed on earth in the same manner as was Adam, the Mosaic account of the Lord creating her from Adam's rib being merely figurative."
(Mormon Doctrine, p.242, EVE)

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mackay11
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Adam & Eve / The Fall

Post by mackay11 » 14 Jan 2014, 15:05

Shawn wrote: Spencer W. Kimball:
“The story of the rib, of course, is figurative.” (Ensign, March 1976, p.71)
I smile at this. It's taught in the bible as fact. As a historical and literal step in the creation of Eve.

If Pres Kimball felt comfortable throwing the rib story under the "figurative" bus, then I don't consider it an unreasonable step to do the same with the entire Eden/A&E story.

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