Old Testament Week 4: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel (Genesis 3–4; Moses 4:1–6

:9)
1) The Fall. a) Latter-day Saint belief. i) Latter-day Saints recognize the Fall of Adam and Eve as a necessary step in the eternal progress of mankind, one that introduced the conditions that made the mission of Jesus Christ absolutely necessary for salvation.
[SLIDE 2] The Fall brought two kinds of death upon Adam, Eve, and their posterity: the separation of the spirit and the physical body, which the scriptures call the “temporal death” (Alma 11:42–43); and being shut out of God’s presence, which is called spiritual death (2 Nephi 9:6; D&C 29:41). Jesus Christ redeems all mankind unconditionally from the two deaths brought by the Fall of Adam, raises all mankind from the grave, and restores them to God’s presence for a judgment (Helaman 14:16–17). The Atonement also redeems individuals from the consequences of their own sins on conditions of repentance.1

b) The two trees. i) Adam and Eve were given conflicting commandments on purpose, and therefore faced an irreconcilable situation in the Garden of Eden: They could not keep the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, and, at the same time, also keep the commandment to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.2 (1) [SLIDE 3]The scriptures seem to indicate that God himself created this dilemma as part of the plan of salvation:
And to bring about [God’s] eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents…it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.3 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other. (2 Nephi 2:15–16.)

(2) So the conditions in the Garden of Eden were designed to create a fallen world into which God’s children could come and where they could experience good and evil and be tested.4 (a) This is distinctly different from the traditional Christian view of the Fall, in which Adam and Eve’s actions are seen as a disaster that brought only corruption and depravity into the world.5

Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992), s.v. ―Fall of Adam,‖ 2:486 (http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Fall_of_Adam). See also Appendix 1: Was Adam’s act in the garden a sin or a transgression? on page 12. 3 Which tree is sweet and which is bitter? See 1 Nephi 8:11. 4 A counter view of this comes from Brigham Young, who believed that the accounts of the Fall that we have were ―baby stories‖ (Journal of Discourses 2:6; http://en.fairmormon.org/Journal_of_Discourses/2/1#6), and that Adam and Eve really did have full knowledge of what they were doing. 5 ―The unbelief and disobedience of our first parents brought not only on themselves this misery and ruin, it entailed also the same sad consequences on all their descendants.‖ Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897), s.v. ―Fall of man‖ (http://www.biblelearn.com/east1304.htm).
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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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c) Temptation. i) [SLIDE 4] The serpent. (1) The Genesis account does not identify the serpent with Satan.6 (a) In Genesis the serpent is portrayed simply as a deceptive creature or trickster,7 promoting as good what God had directly forbidden. (b) The connection between the serpent and Satan was made in later Jewish and Christian literature.8 (2) In Moses chapter 4—Joseph Smith’s translation of Genesis 3—the serpent is an intelligent, speaking creature with its own will. He is a follower of Satan, and Satan speaks to Eve through the serpent. (Moses 4:5–6.)9 (3) In the temple endowment, the serpent is not even present; instead, Satan appears in the Garden as an embodied human, and converses with Adam, Eve, and God as one individual converses with another. (4) How do we reconcile these three varying accounts? My suggestion is that all of them are highly symbolic and metaphorical, and that we can learn important truths from all three accounts.10 ii) [SLIDE 5] Genesis 3:4–5. Satan’s subtle sales pitch. (1) 3:4. He starts by denying they will die. This is a half-truth: They wouldn’t die the very moment they ate the fruit, but they would eventually die. (2) 3:5. He then attributes God’s motives to jealousy: He implies that God has told them not to eat of the tree of knowledge because they will become equal to God. This sets up a conflict between God and man based on mistrust, doubt, and greed. (3) 3:5. He closes with the truth that eating the fruit will bring them knowledge.

6 Satan is a translation of the Hebrew (ha-satan), ―the adversary, the opposer.‖ Satan appears in the Old Testament as a supernatural being in Job 1–2, and possibly Zechariah 3:1–2. The two other occurrences of the name Satan in the KJV (1 Chronicles 21:1; Psalm 109:6) likely refer to human beings and therefore should be translated ―adversary.‖ The majority of scholars believe that the concept of Satan in Hebrew theology did not appear until the second century B.C., and were carried over from there into Christianity (The Anchor Bible Dictionary [Doubleday, 1992], s.v. ―Satan,‖ 5:987). The Joseph Smith Translation inserts Satan into the creation stories, beginning with Moses’ encounter on the mountain (Moses 1:12–24), and continuing with a recounting of Satan’s fall from heaven and his temptation of Adam and Eve (Moses 4:1–6). 7 In mythology, a trickster is a deity who breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously but usually, albeit unintentionally, with ultimately positive effects (see http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/605010/trickster-tale). For Jews, the serpent is an etiological myth or ―just-so story‖ that explains the origin of snakes, why they slither on the ground instead of walking on legs, and why there is hostility between them and man (Genesis 3:14–15). 8 See especially Revelation 20:2 , ―And [the angel] laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.‖ This connection may go back as far as the sixth century B.C.; Lehi himself makes it in 2 Nephi 2:18. 9 George Q. Cannon, a member of the First Presidency at the time, took the a ccount in the Moses as the accurate one: ―He [Satan] has instilled into the minds of the children of men hatred for the truth —that is, every one that has been willing to listen to him. He has entered into them, taken possession of their souls, and has used them to accomplish his wicked purposes. He has done this through man. He could not do it without he had some tabernacle to operate through. He could not deceive Eve — or did not deceive her—except through the means of the serpent. He entered into the serpent. The serpent was willing, doubtless, to let him enter, and he spoke through the serpent. It was the mouth of the serpent, but it was the voice of Satan that beguiled the woman.‖ Cannon, 18 October 1884. Journal of Discourses 26:252 (http://en.fairmormon.org/Journal_of_Discourses/26/25#252). 10 On the actual reality of the various accounts of the Fall, see my comments on the Creation story as ―divine myth‖ in notes to lesson 3, pages 14–15 (http://bit.ly/ldsarcot03n).

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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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(a) The exact promise is that they ―shall be as gods [elohim], knowing good and evil.‖11 d) [SLIDE 6] Consequence: The three cursings. i) Genesis 3:14–15. There are at least two ways to interpret this: (1) The serpent was cursed. (a) According to one Jewish legend, the serpent had hands and legs in the Garden, and its form was changed so that it would slither on its belly.12 (b) God placed enmity (animosity or hatred) between men and snakes. Men would step on the snake’s head, and the snake would in return bite man’s heel. (i) The Hebrew word translated ―bruise‖ (‫ תשופנו‬/ shuwph) means to ―crush‖ or ―strike.‖ (c) The serpent was one of the animals classified as ―unclean‖ in the law given to Moses (Leviticus 11:42). (2) Satan was cursed. (a) In this view, the curse is metaphorical: Satan, who had previously been cast out of heaven for rebellion, now became the lowliest of God’s creations. (b) Genesis 3:15 is interpreted by many Christians to refer to Jesus.13 (i) Satan delivered a crippling blow to the seed of the woman (Jesus, through his crucifixion), who in turn delivered a fatal blow to the serpent (by defeating death and sin). ii) Genesis 3:16. Eve’s punishment was twofold: (1) She and her daughters would experience pain in childbirth. (―I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children.‖—NET) (2) Men will want to dominate and control women. (―You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.‖—NET)14 (a) The second half of this verse, just like the first half, is a condition of the fallen world, not the Lord’s ideal order.15

The KJV and JST both take a literal reading of the Hebrew noun elohim. The participle ―knowing‖ is plural in Hebrew, so it’s appropriate to translate elohim ―gods,‖ as it refers to Adam and Eve. Some English Bibles (NRSV, NIV, NASB) read ―you will be like God,‖ which strikes me a weak translation based on theological concerns. Others take an even more distant approach: ―you will be like divine beings‖ (NET, JPS). 12 Jewish Encyclopedia (1916), s.v. ―Adam, Book of‖ (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/759-adam-book-of). 13 Roman Catholics identify ―the seed of the woman‖ as Mary, the mother of Jesus. This traditional is often portrayed in religious iconography with Mary represented standing on a snake (e.g.: http://bit.ly/15DGNDI). This is based on the translation of Genesis 3:15 in two ancient Bible versions (the Latin Vulgate and the Coptic) which read, ―She shall crush your head.‖ 14 The Hebrew verb translated ―rule over‖ in the KJV ( ‫ משל‬/ mashal) means to rule over in a way that emphasizes powerful control, domination, or mastery. Elder Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen have argued that the Hebrew in this verse indicates ―ruling with, not ruling over.‖ Hafen and Hafen, ―Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners,‖ Ensign, August 2007, 27 (http://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/08/crossing-thresholds-and-becoming-equal-partners). There are considerable problems with the Hafens’ argument, however; see ―Playing Fast and Loose?‖, FaithPromotingRumor.com, 8 August 2007 (http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com/2007/08/08/playing-fast-and-loose). 15 See also President Gordon B. Hinckley’s remarks in the October 1991 Women’s Conference (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1991/10/daughters-of-god).
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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.16

iii) Genesis 3:17–19. Adam’s punishment was also twofold: (1) The ground would not produce food spontaneously, as it had in the Garden; Adam would have to work to get it to produce.17 (2) He and Eve would both experience physical death. iv) These four conditions—pain in childbirth, struggle for power in relationships between men and women, the necessity of work to maintain a living, and the everpresent reality of death—are the circumstances into which all of Adam and Eve’s descendants have been born. e) [SLIDE 7] Genesis 3:22–24. The tree of life. i) The symbol of the tree of life appears in many cultures throughout the ancient Near East. In Judeo-Christian scripture it represents the presence and love of God:18 (1) It appears explicitly in Ezekiel 47:1–12 and Revelation 22:1–2, where it grows in the city of God and from it flows a stream of water that gives life.19 (2) It appears several times in the book of Proverbs, most notably in 3:18 where it represents Wisdom.20 (3) The golden lamp stand (menorah) in the tabernacle and the temple is a tree of life. (4) The tree plays the central role in Lehi’s vision (1 Nephi 8) where it represents the love of God manifested in his becoming mortal (1 Nephi 11:16–23).21 ii) [SLIDE 8] Cherubim are divine sentinels who guard the way into the Lord’s presence. (1) Ezekiel describes them as having human form, but with four wings, straight legs with feet like calves’ feet. They had four faces: one each of a human, a lion, a bull, and an eagle. They gleamed like polished bronze. (Ezekiel 1:5–10; cf. 10:15.) (2) Images of cherubim were sewn into the veil of the tabernacle and the temple, and placed on top of the ark of covenant (Exodus 25:18–22; 26:1, 31). In Solomon’s temple, two 18-foot tall gold-leafed statues of cherubim stood on either side of the ark of the covenant (1 Kings 6:23–28).
―The Family: A Proclamation to the World,‖ 23 September 1995 (http://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation). Adam’s difficulty in laboring with the ground mirrors Eve’s pain in laboring in childbirth. 18 For a book-length treatment of the tree of life, see The Tree of Life: From Eden to Eternity, John W. Welch and Donald W. Parry, eds. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2011). 19 A similar vision is found in the apocryphal book of 1 Enoch 24–25 (written in the first or second century B.C.), in which Enoch was shown a vision of the mountain on which God will be enthroned when he visits the earth at the end of days. At the foot of the mountain is a fragrant tree that will never wither, which becomes the source of food for the righteous after God’ s final judgment. 1 Enoch 24:1–6 (http://archive.org/stream/thebookofenoch00unknuoft#page/97). 20 ―Wisdom‖ is explicitly female in Proverbs 3. Methodist scholar Margaret Barker argues that Wisdom is Asherah, the female consort of Jehovah whose worship was put down by king Josiah in 623 B.C. We’ll discuss Barker at greater length in lesson 15. 21 For an important take on Lehi’s tree of life vision, see Daniel C. Peterson, ―Nephi and His Asherah,‖ Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9/2 (2000), 16–25 (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=9&num=2&id=223).
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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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f) [SLIDE 9] Was there death before the Fall?22 i) There are three passages of scripture that indicate that there was no death before the Fall. The primary text is from the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi1:
If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. (2 Nephi 2:22.)

(1) The difficulty here is interpreting ―all things.‖ Does it mean ―all things in the Garden,‖ or ―all things on the entire planet earth‖? (a) Some general authorities, including Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie, interpreted it to mean the entire earth.23 (b) [SLIDE 10] The LDS Bible Dictionary24 once agreed with this interpretation, but that appears to have changed with the new edition:
1979 LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 670 Before the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood. There was no sin, no death, and no children among any of the earthly creations. With the eating of the “forbidden fruit,” Adam and Eve became mortal, sin entered, blood formed in their bodies, and death became a part of life. 2013 LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 641 Before the Fall, there were no sin, no death, and no children. With the eating of the “forbidden fruit,” Adam and Eve became mortal, sin entered, and death became a part of life.

(Italics indicate text removed in 2013.)

(i) In addition to deleting the unscriptural claim that Adam and Eve had no blood before they fell,25 the 2013 revision removed the phrase ―among any of the earthly creations.‖ This may indicate the Church’s correlation committee wanted to step back from the insistence that there was no death before the Fall anywhere on the earth, even among plants and animals.26 (c) Other general authorities, such Elder James E. Talmage of the Twelve, have taught that there was death in the world before the Fall, and that Adam and
For more discussion of this question, see Appendix 2: Was there death before the Fall? on page 15. The views of Elders Smith and McConkie have had a deep and lasting impact within the Church on this subject. Their teachings continue to influence most of the correlated lesson material produced by the Church, including the recently revised Gospel Principles manual that served as the curriculum for Priesthood and Relief Society classes in 2010–11. (See pages 27– 28, 219.) 24 The preface to the 2013 LDS Bible Dictionary indicates that it ―is provided to help your study of the scriptures and is not intended as an official statement of Church doctrine or an endorsement of the historical and cultural views set forth‖ (583; a similar statement is found in the 1979 edition). See also a similar statement by Robert J. Matthews, ―Using the New Bible Dictionary in the LDS Edition,‖ Ensign, June 1982, 47 (http://lds.org/ensign/1982/06/using-the-new-bible-dictionary-in-thelds-edition). Elder Bruce R. McConkie also explained: ―[As for the] Joseph Smith Translation items, the chapter headings, Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, footnotes, the Gazetteer, and the maps. None of these are perfect; they do not of themselves determine doctrine; there have been and undoubtedly now are mistakes in them…. They are aids and helps only.‖ Doctrines of the Restoration: Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, Mark McConkie, ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989), 289–90. 25 Joseph Smith taught that resurrected beings don’t have blood (see Words of Joseph Smith 109), but the idea that Adam and Eve had no blood before they fell appears to have originated with Orson Pratt. See David Tayman, ―No Blood Before The Fall? Where’d THAT Come From?‖, ImprovementEra.com, 29 March 2011 (http://improvementera.com/2011/03/no-bloodbefore-the-fall-whered-that-come-from). 26 The 2013 edition does, however, indicate that ―After Adam and Eve fell, the whole creation fell and became mortal‖ (641).
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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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Eve’s immortal condition was a special circumstance that only applied to them.27 This seems to be supported by a close reading of the other two scriptural passages:
[SLIDE 11] Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people. And now behold, I say unto you that if it had been possible for Adam to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time, there would have been no death, and the word would have been void, making God a liar, for he said: If thou eat thou shalt surely die. And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death…. (Alma 12:22–24, italics added.) [SLIDE 12] And death hath come upon our fathers; nevertheless we know them, and cannot deny, and even the first of all we know, even Adam…. And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe…. Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying: That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten…. (Moses 6:45, 48, 58–59, italics added.)

(d) Notice how these passages both speak of death in the context of mankind: According to Alma, because of Adam, ―death comes upon mankind.‖ And, according to the Lord’s revelation to Enoch, ―death hath come upon our fathers,‖ and because men have die (spiritually and physically), they must be born again. ii) [SLIDE 13] The Encyclopedia of Mormonism concludes:
Various interpretations have been suggested concerning the nature of life on the earth before the Fall and how the Fall physically affected the world, but these go beyond the clearly stated doctrine of the Church. The Church and the scriptures are emphatic, however, that the Fall brought the two kinds of death to Adam and his posterity.28

2) [SLIDE 14] The telestial world.29 a) This week’s lesson is greatly enhanced by the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. Moses chapter 5, especially, expands greatly on the Genesis account of Adam and Eve’s experiences after the Fall. b) In the Moses account, Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden into the world, where they begin to work and have children (Moses 5:1–2).
27 James E. Talmage, ―The Earth and Man,‖ address delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, 9 August 1931. The Instructor 100/12 (December 1965), 474–77 (http://archive.org/stream/instructor10012dese#page/n11); continued in 101/1 (January 1966), 9–15 (http://archive.org/stream/instructor1011dese#page/n10). 28 ―Fall of Adam.‖ Despite this, some Latter-day Saints still dogmatically affirm that the official position of the Church is that there was no death before the Fall. One individual even has an entire web site (!) dedicated to defending just this idea:

http://www.ndbf.net
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The phrase ―telestial world‖ appears in scripture only in D&C 76:98, 109, where it refers to a kingdom of glory. The phrase, at it is used to refer to the earth on which we live, is found in the temple endowment. © 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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c) Moses 5:5–8. Adam was commanded to offer animal sacrifices. Because he was obedient to the commandment, he was told what the sacrifice represents. i) Implications of these verses: (1) We are justified in performing religious rituals without understanding the purpose or the meaning of the symbols. (2) We learn ―line upon line, precept upon precept.‖ We are given commandments, and, if we are obedient to them, we are told why we do them and then given more commandments. (See Alma 12:10–11; Mormon 8:12.) d) Moses 5:10–11. Adam and Eve rejoiced in the results that came from their action in the Garden. i) [SLIDE 15] This passage is written in a repetitive pattern (a-b-c-d-a1-b1-c1) that is common to Hebrew poetry.30 The passage hinges or turns on d, the blessing of having children:
And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression a my eyes are opened, and b in this life I shall have joy, and c again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression d we never should have had seed, and a1 never should have known good and evil, and b1 the joy of our redemption, and c1 the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

e) [SLIDE 16] Moses 5:12–13. Despite Adam and Eve’s joy at the ability to have children, they also were acutely aware of the pain of having those children go astray. i) The Moses account doesn’t say how many of their children rejected their teachings, only that there were ―many‖ of them (5:41). ii) The fact that so many great men and women have had children who rejected the gospel should give us pause before we blame others—or ourselves—when our own children stray. 3) [SLIDE 17] Cain. a) The story of Cain is the first of many where a younger brother is preferred above an older. i) Ancient civilizations, including the Israelites, practiced primogeniture, the right of the eldest son to inherit the bulk of his parents’ estate. ii) God’s choice, however, is based on righteousness and worthiness, not birth order. iii) Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, and Nephi, are examples of younger siblings who rose to inherit the birthright blessing reserved for the firstborn son.

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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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b) Moses 5:16–17. In Cain’s name we have another Hebrew sound play: The sound of the verb ‫( קניחי‬qaniti / ―I have created‖) reflects the sound of the name Cain in Hebrew (‫ קין‬/ qayin). i) Abel’s name (‫ חבל‬/ hevel) means ―breath‖ or ―vapor.‖ The transitory, incorporeal nature of his name anticipates his premature death. c) Moses 5:18–21. Why was Cain’s offering rejected? i) Verse 18 indicates that he did it because Satan commanded him to. An offering made insincerely or without the right intent ―is counted evil before God‖ (Moroni 7:6–8). ii) Joseph Smith also indicated that Cain’s offering was rejected because it did not involve the shedding of blood, as had been commanded in Moses 5:5:
[SLIDE 18] It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man;…to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.31

d) [SLIDE 19] Moses 5:28–31. Cain entered into a secret combination with Satan and became Master Mahan. i) What is a ―secret combination‖?
It is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and the vain things of this world, for the which ye do murder, and plunder, and steal, and bear false witness against your neighbor, and do all manner of iniquity. (Helaman 7:21.) They all sware…[that] whoso should divulge whatsoever thing [was] made known unto them, the same should lose his life. (Ether 8:14; cf. Moses 5:49–51.)

(1) Elder M. Russell Ballard:
[SLIDE 20] The Book of Mormon teaches that secret combinations engaged in crime present a serious challenge, not just to individuals and families but to entire civilizations. Among today’s secret combinations are gangs, drug cartels, and organized crime families…. Among their purposes are to “murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God” (Helaman 6:23). [SLIDE 21] If we are not careful, today’s secret combinations can obtain power and influence just as quickly and just as completely as they did in Book of Mormon times. Do you remember the pattern? The secret combinations began among the “more wicked part” of society, but eventually “seduced the more part of the righteous” until the whole society was polluted (Helaman 6:38).32

31 Joseph Smith, ―An Epistle of the Elders of the Church in Kirtland to Their Brethren Abroad,‖ 22 January 1834. History of the Church 2:15 (http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/2/2.html#15); Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 58 (http://scriptures.byu.edu/stpjs.html#58). There were provisions in the Law of Moses for offerings of flour, oil, wine, and incense, but these were supplements to burnt offerings (Numbers 15:1–21). 32 M. Russell Ballard, ―Standing for Truth and Right,‖ General Conference, October 1997 (http://www.lds.org/generalconference/1997/10/standing-for-truth-and-right).

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Old Testament: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

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(2) [SLIDE 22] Hugh Nibley:
From the international drug and arms traffic to the sneaky chemical additions in the supermarket, the principle applies: life in exchange for profits. One example should suffice. This month a headline announces that “Radiation Dump Could Bring Cash to County.” Some counties actually clamor to convert the land Bountiful into the land Desolation for a quick buck.33

(3) Any time we lie or cheat in order to increase our own material standing, profit, or power at the expense of others, we are engaged in a secret combination. (4) [SLIDE 23] Secret combinations are Satan’s false counterfeits to sacred covenants, which the Lord’s people make in holy temples. (a) In the temple we covenant to lead lives of holiness and righteousness. We keep these covenants sacred, which means that we do not discuss them openly to the world. (b) Secret combinations are covenants to lead lives of wickedness for material gain. Those who enter into them keep them secret, not out of respect for the covenant, but for fear of retaliation. ii) What does ―Master Mahan‖ mean? (1) The Hebrew verb ‫( מהח‬maha) means ―to blot out,‖ ―to destroy,‖ or ―to be exterminated.‖ The addition of an n would make the word a noun. Hence Mahan means ―destroyer.‖34 (a) This is a perfect companion to Moses 5:24, where the Lord warns Cain that he will be called Perdition. Perdition is the KJV translation of the Greek word άπωθέω (apoleia), meaning ―destruction.‖ e) Moses 5:33. Cain ―gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free….‖ i) [SLIDE 24] Robert L. Simpson of the Presiding Bishopric:
Cain’s observation of a newfound freedom was false doctrine straight from the adversary. In reality he enslaved himself to a life of deceit and a life “shut out from the presence of the Lord….” (Moses 5:41.) Cain brought this tragedy to his own life by disregarding priesthood principles. He refused to be his “brother’s keeper,” and in so doing he sold his soul to the father of lies and murder.35

f) [SLIDE 25] Moses 5:36–40. The curse of Cain and the mark of Cain. i) The curse of Cain and mark of Cain are two different things. (1) The curse was Cain’s punishment for his murder of his brother. (a) The curse actually includes eight separate penalties promised if Cain ―doeth not well…for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God.‖ These are found in Moses 5:23–25, 37:36
33 Hugh Nibley, ―But What Kind of Work?‖, Approaching Zion, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 9 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1989), 256 (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=75&chapid=935). 34 This is the conclusion of Matthew B. Brown, ―Girded about with a Lambskin,‖ Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 6/2 (1997), 147–48 (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=6&num=2&id=149). 35 Robert L. Simpson, ―Conforming to Priesthood Principles,‖ General Conference address, October 1968 (http://archive.org/stream/conferencereport1968sa#page/n99). 36 Note at the end of the first part of the list (Moses 5:23 –25), God declares ―this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.‖

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(i) (ii)

5:23. God would deliver Cain up to Satan. 5:23. It would be unto Cain according to Satan’s desire (in this life).

(iii) 5:23. Cain would rule over Satan (in eternity). (iv) 5:24. Cain would be the father of Satan’s lies. (v) 5:24. Cain would be called Perdition (―destruction‖). (vi) 5:25. It would be said in the future that ―these abominations were had from Cain.‖ (vii) 5:37. When Cain tilled the ground it would not produce. (viii) 5:37. Cain would be a fugitive and a vagabond. (2) Cain lamented that someone would try to kill him. The Lord promised that vengeance would be taken sevenfold on anyone who killed him, and he placed a mark upon Cain to protect him. (Moses 5:40.) (a) It’s unclear from the text exactly what the ―mark‖ was. The Hebrew word ‫אות‬ (’owth) appears 79 times in the Old Testament, but is only translated ―mark‖ once in the KJV. It’s usually rendered ―sign‖ (60 times) or ―token‖ (14 times), indicating some sort of symbol or distinguishing emblem. ii) This brings us to an important issue: The continuing belief among some Latter-day Saints that people of African ancestry are the descendants of Cain. 37 (1) Most of you are probably aware that, until 1978, Latter-day Saints of African descent were prohibited from holding the priesthood. (2) Understanding the priesthood ban is often difficult, because the historical record is not entirely clear about when and why it was instituted.38 (a) [SLIDE 26] It does not seem to have originated with Joseph Smith. Several black Saints, including Elijah Abel39 and Walker Lewis,40 were ordained to the priesthood in the 1830s and 1840s. To the best of our knowledge, Joseph never taught that blacks were to be excluded from the priesthood. (b) There is no contemporary account of the ban’s implementation, and no revelation authorizing it has ever been produced. From the available evidence it appears to have most likely originated with Brigham Young between 1847 and 1852. (c) Some Latter-day Saints believe the ban was commanded by revelation; others believe that Church leaders were simply acting according to the common beliefs and interpretations of their day.41
For a longer treatment of this subject, see Doctrine and Covenants lesson 18, pages 13–16 (https://sites.google.com/site/hwsarc/home/dc/week18). 38 As the 2013 introduction to Official Declaration—2 puts it, ―Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice‖ (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/od/2). 39 Elijah Abel was baptized in 1832, ordained an elder by Joseph Smith in 1836, and ordained a seventy later that same year. He served three missions for the Church, including one shortly before his death in 1884. Biography at
37

http://www.blacklds.org/abel

40 Walker Lewis was baptized about 1842. He was ordained an elder by William Smith, brother of the Prophet, in the summer of 1843. Biography at http://people.ucsc.edu/~odonovan/elder_walker_lewis.html 41 The ban appears to have its origin in the common belief in America that blacks were the descendants of Cain, who was cursed and marked for killing his brother Abel (Genesis 4:9–15), through the lineage of Noah’s son Ham (Genesis 9:20–25).

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(d) Whatever the reason it was started, it was ended by revelation to the First Presidency and the Twelve on 8 June 1978.42 (3) Even though no reason for the ban has ever been revealed, many members have tried to explain it with various theories. (a) The most common theory goes something like this: In the premortal existence, certain spirits were set aside to come to Earth through the lineage of Cain that was cursed and marked. The reasons why this lineage was set apart weren’t clear, but it was speculated they were somehow less valiant than their premortal brethren during the war in heaven.43 (i) As neat and coherent as that scenario might seem, the scriptures typically cited in its support cannot logically be interpreted this way unless one starts with the priesthood ban itself and then works backward, looking for scriptures to support a predetermined belief. (b) These theories amount to ―folk doctrine‖ and were never official, but they became widespread and commonly accepted. (c) In a 2006 interview, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:
[SLIDE 27] One clear-cut position is that the folklore [about the priesthood ban] must never be perpetuated…. I have to concede to my earlier colleagues…. They, I’m sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is however well-intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were inadequate and/or wrong…. [SLIDE 28] It probably would have been advantageous to say nothing, to say we just don’t know…but some explanations were given and had been given for a lot of years…. At the very least, there should be no effort to perpetuate those efforts to explain why that doctrine existed. I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the newer and younger [apostles] to come along,…we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.44

(d) Elder Dallin H. Oaks has also spoken on this issue:
[SLIDE 29] It’s not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do we’re on our own. Some people put reasons to [the priesthood ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that…. The lesson I’ve drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it. [SLIDE 30] Let’s [not] make the mistake that’s been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons
This was the conventional explanation for the existence of the black race employed by many Protestant whites—particularly by religious American slave owners—and was used as the justification for black slavery. Mormon explanations that added Egyptus, the daughter of Ham (Abraham 1:21–27) to the stories of Cain and Ham began to appear in the late 19th century, beginning with the writings of Seventy B.H. Roberts. 42 See Official Declaration—2 at the back of the Doctrine and Covenants. 43 A more extreme version of this theory states that blacks were not just less valiant, but were, in fact, neutral in the war in heaven. This idea has been repudiated by leaders of the Church, including Brigham Young and Joseph F. Smith. See
http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_racial_issues/Blacks_and_the_priesthood/Repudiated_ideas/Neutral_in_%22war _in_heaven%22 44 Jeffrey R. Holland, interview, 4 March 2006 (http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews/holland.html).

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turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that’s where safety lies.45

(e) Elder Bruce R. McConkie, speaking only two months after the priesthood ban was lifted, said:
[SLIDE 31] There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. [SLIDE 32] We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more. It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year [1978]. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them.46

iii) [SLIDE 33] Despite these statements, and others by general authorities since 1978, the doctrinal folklore that blacks are the descendants of Cain and Noah’s son, Ham, continues to be taught by well-meaning members of the Church. (1) This speculation is unsupported from the scriptures. (2) In reality we do not know why God allowed the denial of the priesthood to blacks for a time in this dispensation. All we do know is that policy has been reversed by a living prophet. (3) The Church is for all God’s children, for ―he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female…and all are alike unto God‖ (2 Nephi 26:33). 4) Next week: a) The ministry of Enoch (Moses 6:25–7:69).

Appendix 1: Was Adam’s act in the garden a sin or a transgression?
The idea that a ―transgression‖ is something less than a ―sin,‖ and that Adam and Eve transgressed, rather than sinned, in the Garden of Eden, mainly comes from a general conference talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in October 1993:
Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited.
Dallin H. Oaks, interview with Associated Press, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), 5 June 1988. Bruce R. McConkie, ―All Are Alike unto God,‖ address in the Second Annual CES Symposium, 18 August 1978 (http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1570).
45 46

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Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall.47

In support of this idea, Elder Oaks cited several authorities, including Joseph Smith:
Joseph said…that Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruits, for God had decreed that he should eat and fall. But in compliance with the decree he [Adam] should die; only “he should die” was the saying of the Lord. Therefore the Lord appointed us to fall and also Redeemed us, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” [Romans 5:10], for Paul says [in] Rom[ans] 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”48

Elder Oaks also referenced Elder Joseph Fielding Smith’s writings:
I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. One may say, “Well did they not break a commandment?” Yes. But let us examine the nature of that commandment and the results which came out of it. In no other commandment the Lord ever gave to man, did he say: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself.” It is true, the Lord warned Adam and Eve that to partake of the fruit they would transgress a law, and this happened. But it is not always a sin to transgress a law. I will try to illustrate this. The chemist in his laboratory takes different elements and combines them, and the result is that something very different results. He has changed the law. As an example in point: hydrogen, two parts, and oxygen, one part, passing through an electric spark will combine and form water. Hydrogen will burn, so will oxygen, but water will put out a fire. This may be subject to some disagreement by the critics who will say it is not transgressing a law. Well, Adam's transgression was of a similar nature, that is, his transgression was in accordance with law.49

However, other general authorities—including Elder Oaks in other settings—have referred to Adam’s actions as a sin.50 President Howard W. Hunter:
The first task Christ did as a perfect, sinless Son was to redeem all mankind from the Fall, providing an atonement for Adam’s sin and for our own sins if we will accept and follow him. The second great thing he did was to set a perfect example of right living,

47 Oaks, ―The Great Plan of Happiness,‖ General Conference, October 1993 (http://www.lds.org/generalconference/1993/10/the-great-plan-of-happiness). Elder Oaks’ logic rests heavily on Article of Faith 2, where he reads the

words ―sins‖ and ―transgression‖ not as synonyms, but as having separate meanings. 48 Joseph Smith, 9 February, 1841; Words of Joseph Smith 63, spelling and grammar modernized. Joseph’s remarks were in response to a question or statement by Hosea Stout at the Nauvoo Lyceum, and were recorded by William Patterson McIntire in his minute book. 49 Smith, Doctrines of Salvation (Bookcraft, 1954), 1:114; italics in the original. The three-volume Doctrines of Salvation was compiled by Bruce R. McConkie from Joseph Fielding Smith’s sermons and public and private writings. The footnote for this section indicates that it was drawn from personal correspondence. 50 D&C 29:40–41 takes a very dim view of Adam and his actions in the Garden: ―Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation. Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed.‖ © 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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of kindness and mercy and compassion, in order that all of the rest of mankind might know how to live, know how to improve, and know how to become more godlike.51

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (1988):
Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father. He is our Creator. He is our Teacher. He is our Savior. His atonement paid for the sin of Adam and won victory over death, assuring resurrection and immortality for all men.52

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (1987):
Our Savior has redeemed us from the sin of Adam, but what about the effects of our own sins? [Quotes Moroni 8:7–9.]53

President Marion G. Romney:
It [the gospel plan] anticipated the need for a Savior to win the victory over death, atone for the sin of Adam, which brought death, and provide the means whereby men, through repentance, may receive forgiveness for personal sins and be readmitted into the presence of God.54

Elder Joseph Anderson:
God was willing that his Beloved Son should take upon himself the responsibility of that mission, namely, to atone for the sin of Adam and Eve which brought about the fall, and, also, that mankind might receive forgiveness for their individual sins, provided they would keep the commandments upon which salvation and exaltation were based. …. Ultimately every knee must bow and every tongue confess that he is the Christ. He died on the cross to atone for the sin of Adam, that we might receive forgiveness for our sins if we would accept him and keep the commandments that he has given us, the plan of life and salvation.55

The LDS Bible Dictionary—included as a supplement in the Church’s publication of the King James Version of the Bible—also refers in passing to Adam’s act as a ―sin.‖56 One of the problems with the ―sin versus transgression‖ premise is that the King James translation of the Old Testament renders these English words exactly the opposite of this theory:  ―Sin‖ is from the Hebrew ‫( חטאת‬chatta’ah), which comes from a root word meaning to ―miss the mark.‖ The idea here is that people fall into error, either through weakness or through lack of knowledge (e.g. Leviticus 4:2). Sins can be individual or group. Sacrifices

51 Hunter, ―What Manner Of Men Ought Ye To Be?‖, General Conference, April 1994 (http://www.lds.org/generalconference/1994/04/what-manner-of-men-ought-ye-to-be); italics added. This talk was given six months after Elder Oaks

gave his talk, cited above. 52 Oaks, ―’What Think Ye of Christ?‖, General Conference, October 1988 (http://www.lds.org/generalconference/1988/10/what-think-ye-of-christ); italics added. 53 Oaks, ―The Light and Life of the World,‖ General Conference, October 1987 (http://www.lds.org/generalconference/1987/10/the-light-and-life-of-the-world); italics added. 54 Romney, ―Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,‖ General Conference, October 1979 (http://www.lds.org/generalconference/1979/10/faith-in-the-lord-jesus-christ); italics added. 55 Anderson, ―A Testimony of Christ,‖ General Conference, October 1974 (http://www.lds.org/generalconference/1974/10/a-testimony-of-christ); italics added. 56 ―The first effect of Adam's sin was that he was afraid.‖ LDS Bible Dictionary, s.v. ―Fear‖, 672 (1979)/643 (2013) (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/fear). With regard to the canonicity of Bible Dictionary, see footnote 24. © 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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were offered daily at the tabernacle (and later the temple) for sins of the people, and by individuals for their own sins.  ―Transgression‖ is either from the Hebrew ‫( פשע‬pasha), which means ―revolt‖ or ―rebellion,‖57 or ‫( מעל‬ma’al), an ―unfaithful or treacherous act.‖ These are crimes or offenses against God’s law committed willfully and knowingly (e.g. Numbers 31:16; Deuteronomy 17:2; Joshua 7:15).  There’s also a third word, ―iniquity,‖ from the Hebrew ‫’( עון‬avon), referring to perversity or depravity (e.g. Leviticus 18:25).  Sometimes all three words appear together in the Old Testament, in a comprehensive list of all the things one can do to offend God (e.g. Exodus 34:7; Leviticus 16:21). So the idea that ―sin‖ is a willful act against God and ―transgression‖ is a lesser offense is backwards from the perspective of the King James Translation of the Old Testament. Finally, several passages in the New Testament equate sin with transgression, without differentiating between the two (Romans 5:14; James 2:9; 1 John 3:4). Because of this, I recommend against defining these two terms rigidly across the scriptures. I think Elder Oaks was trying to convey the idea that Adam’s actions were not a terrible evil that brought only misery upon mankind, but rather a necessary step forward in the plan of salvation. On that point, I agree with him. But insisting that a transgression is always less serious than a sin, wherever those words appear in the scriptures, can lead to misreading or misinterpretation.

Appendix 2: Was there death before the Fall?
This is a question that has generated much discussion within the Church, with strong opinions held on both sides. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Elder B. H. Roberts, senior president of the First Council of the Seventy, wrote and spoke extensively about his beliefs concerning ―preAdamites‖ and death among plant and animal life before the Fall.58 His views were strongly opposed by Elder Joseph fielding Smith, at the time a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Smith’s arguments centered on the teaching in 2 Nephi 2:22 that if Adam had not fallen, ―all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.‖ Each attempted to have his views confirmed by the Church. Both Elder Roberts and Elder Smith formally presented their views to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. After careful consideration, the First Presidency, in a report dated 5 April 1931, stated:
Neither side of the controversy has been accepted as doctrine at all. …. Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored Gospel to the people of the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of

57 Compare this with the Book of Mormon’s use of the word ―rebel‖ (e.g., 1 Nephi 2:21; Jacob 1:8; Mosiah 2:37; 3:12; 15:26; 16:5; Alma 3:18; 9:24; 10:6; 36:13; Helaman 8:25; 3 Nephi 6:18; 4 Nephi 1:38; Mormon 1:16). 58 Other general authorities who agreed with Elder Roberts position included Elders James E. Talmage and John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve.

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the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church. We can see no advantage to be gained by a continuation of the discussion to which reference is here made, but on the contrary are certain that it would lead to confusion, division and misunderstanding if carried further. Upon one thing we should all be able to agree namely, that presidents Joseph F. Smith, John Winder and Anthon Lund were right when they said: “Adam is the primal parent of our race.”

Anything more or less than this is not official Church doctrine. So what do we do with dinosaurs and ancient human-like beings? The answer is, from a doctrinal perspective, we do nothing with them. They are objects for science to deal with. Our scriptures don’t concern themselves with them; they only worry about God’s commandments and our reaction to them. Hugh Nibley wrote:
Do not begrudge existence to creatures that looked like men long, long ago, nor deny them a place in God’s affection or even a right to exaltation — for our scriptures allow them such. Nor am I overly concerned as to just when they might have lived, for their world is not our world. They have all gone away long before our people ever appeared. God assigned them their proper times and functions, as he has given me mine…. It is Adam as my own parent who concerns me. When he walks onto the stage, then and only then the play begins.59

From a scientific standpoint, the proposition that there was no death at all before the Fall raises some difficult questions: If death is defined as ―the cessation of all biological functions that sustain a particular organism,‖ what happened to the (permitted) fruits of the Garden that Adam and Eve and the animals ate before the Fall? The plant matter they consumed would have to have died (in the sense of ceasing self-contained metabolic functions) in order to be digested and used for fuel. Also, did Adam and Eve shed hair, skin, or nails? Human beings are constantly discarding or breaking down old cells and generating new ones through cellular reproduction; that’s death on a microscopic level. (Skin cells live only two or three weeks, while cells in the human colon have a life span of only about three days.) And if there was no death at all anywhere on the earth before the Fall, where do fungi fall into the creation periods? Fungi (like yeast, molds, and mushrooms) are not plants and do not photosynthesize light to make energy; rather, they are decomposers, degrading organic matter to inorganic molecules, which can then re-enter anabolic metabolic pathways in plants or other organisms. Since fungi exist only by converting living cells to dead ones, if there was no death before the Fall, when were they created? Was there an additional day of creation after the Fall, when fungi appeared?

59 Hugh W. Nibley, ―Before Adam,‖ Old Testament and Related Studies, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1986), 82–83 (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=52&chapid=471).

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