Genesis 3; Moses 4: The Fall

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 13–14

What happens if you plant vegetable seeds or seeds for beautiful flowers in a piece of ground and never care for them? Do vegetables ever take over and crowd out weeds? If care is not taken, why do weeds crowd out things that are more beautiful or useful?Why do so many people find it easier to choose the wrong instead of the right? Why is there so much wickedness on the earth? Why do seemingly innocent people have so many trials?The answers to these questions have to do with what we call the Fall. The Fall occurred when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and were cast out of the Garden of Eden and the presence of God. As Adam and Eve’s children, we inherit the consequences of their decision, which include living in a world outside of God’s presence that is full of sin, trials, difficulties, and death. You will learn, however, that if Adam did not fall, we would never have been born and could never progress to receive the fulness of joy Heavenly Father offers His children. We are blessed to have a more complete story of the Fall of Adam and Eve in Moses 4 than we can find in the Bible. We are even more blessed to have the Book of Mormon, which explains the doctrine of the Fall more completely than any other book.

Understanding the Scriptures

Moses 4

Redeem (v. 1)Saved from sin and death 
Hearken (v. 4)Listen and obey 
Subtle (v. 5)Sly 
Beast (vv. 5, 20)Animal 
Beguile (vv. 6, 19)Deceive 
Thou beholdest (v. 9)You see 
Put enmity between thee and the woman (v. 21)Cause you and the woman to strongly dislike and work against each other 
Seed (v. 21)Children 
Bruise (v. 21)Hurt 
Conception (v. 22)The process of beginning a pregnancy and giving birth to a child 
Sake (v. 23)Benefit 
The sweat of thy face (v. 25)Hard work 
Lest he (v. 28)So he cannot 
Void (v. 30)Without being fulfilled 
Cherubim (v. 31)A kind of heavenly being 

Moses 4:4—Can Satan Deceive, Blind, and Make Captive?

Moses 4:4 describes the only way Satan can get power over you. You may want to write the following explanation in the margin of your scriptures: “The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1938], 181).

Moses 4:12—The Choice

It is important to know that Adam and Eve did not fully understand the impact of their choice until the events recorded in the first verses of Moses 5. In other words, the choice Adam made was based on his faith that it was the right thing to do. He had never been mortal or out of the presence of God and could not be certain what the consequence of his choice would be.

Moses 4—The Fall

We cannot completely understand the importance of the Fall in Heavenly Father’s plan unless we understand that because of the Fall, Adam and Eve would die both physically and spiritually (see Moses 3:17). Spiritual death means to be shut out of the presence of God (see Moses 5:4). Physical death is the separation of the spirit and the body. Although Adam and Eve did not immediately die physically when they ate the fruit, a change occurred in them that would cause them to eventually die. Eventually, they would die physically just as God said. Adam and Eve did not have the power to overcome physical or spiritual death. Knowing these truths helps us understand why they, and we as their children, need a Savior and the Atonement. Adam and Eve were taught about the Atonement after the Fall. We read some of those teachings in Moses 5.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A–C as you study Genesis 3 and Moses 4.

Activity A iconHeavenly Father’s Plan

Heavenly Father


  1. 1.

    Make a two-column chart in your notebook. Label the first column “Heavenly Father” and the second column “Satan.”

    Under each column, write specific words and phrases from Moses 4:1–4 that describe Heavenly Father or Satan. As you do this exercise it might be helpful to know that Heavenly Father presented His plan of salvation to His spirit children in the premortal world before the events that are described in these four verses occurred. Heavenly Father explained that we would be out of His presence and that a Savior would be provided for our redemption.

  2. 2.

    Write a paragraph that tells how Jesus and Satan differ. For example, what is different about their desires?

Jesus and Lucifer before Heavenly Father’s throne in premortal world

Activity B iconWrite a Journal Entry

Imagine you are Eve in the events of Moses 4. Write a journal entry as if you were Eve. Share the thoughts and feelings you would have had as you considered eating the fruit and what your motivations would have been when you finally ate it. Then write about how you would have felt after eating the fruit and about what the Lord said concerning the consequences of your choices.


Imagine you are Adam in the events of Moses 4. Write the thoughts and feelings you would have had when you found out Eve had eaten the fruit (see Moses 2:27–28; 3:23–24). Explain why you would have decided to eat the fruit—knowing the consequences (see Moses 3:16–17; 4:9), and how you would have felt about what the Lord said concerning the consequences of your choices. The following quotation may help you as you write: “Adam … was not deceived; on the contrary he deliberately decided to do as Eve desired, that he might carry out the purposes of his Maker” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith [1960], 69–70).

Activity C iconOptional Activity

  1. 1.

    Briefly describe what happened to Adam and Eve as they were sent out of the Garden of Eden. Read Alma 12:21–37; 42:2–28 and find reasons the Lord said He kept Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the tree of life shortly after eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

  2. 2.

    What do the reasons the Lord gave tell us about what things are important to do in this life?