Lesson 10

Moses 4 (Genesis 3)

“Lesson 10: Moses 4 (Genesis 3)” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)


Introduction

Moses 4 helps explain how Lucifer became Satan. It also contains the Lord’s description of the Fall of Adam and Eve and its consequences. Moses 4 is the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 3.

Suggestions for Teaching

Moses 4:1–4

The Lord reveals how Lucifer became Satan

coat

Display a coat or draw one on the board.

  • Why might a person carry a coat even though the weather is not cold or wet?

Point out that carrying a coat is a solution to the potential condition of cold or wet weather. (You could adapt this activity by displaying various objects that provide solutions to potential problems.) Write the following headings on the board:

Conditions we experience Solution prepared in advance

  • What are some other examples of solutions that can be prepared before a particular condition occurs?

Explain that as students study Moses 4, they will learn about some of the challenging conditions they will experience in life. They will also learn about the solution Heavenly Father prepared in advance to help them overcome these challenges.

Remind students that in our premortal life, before we were born on earth, we learned about Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness and that a savior would be required to carry out this plan. Lucifer, one of Heavenly Father’s spirit children, rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan. He is commonly known as Satan.

Invite a student to read Moses 4:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Satan demanded of Heavenly Father.

  • What did Satan demand of Heavenly Father?

Point out Satan’s repetitive use of the words I and me in verse 1. You may want to invite students to mark these words.

  • What can we learn about Satan from his use of the words I and me in verse 1?

Ask a student to read Moses 4:2 aloud, and invite the class to look for what Jesus Christ said to Heavenly Father.

  • What are some differences between Jesus Christ’s statement in verse 2 and Satan’s statement in verse 1?

  • According to verse 2, what did Heavenly Father say about Jesus Christ? (He was chosen from the beginning.)

  • What was Jesus Christ chosen to do? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board under the heading “Solution prepared in advance”: Jesus Christ was chosen in the premortal existence to be the Redeemer of mankind.)

Ask a student to read Moses 4:3–4 aloud. Invite the class to follow along and look for what these verses teach us about Satan.

  • According to verse 3, what are two things Satan did that caused him to be cast down from heaven?

  • According to verse 4, how does Satan seek to gain control over us? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: Satan seeks to deceive and blind us so he can lead us captive at his will. Write this truth on the board under “Conditions we experience.”)

Moses 4:5–12

Eve and Adam eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil

Summarize Moses 4:5–11 by explaining that the Lord referred to Satan symbolically as a serpent and taught that Satan “sought to destroy the world” by tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (verse 6).

Ask a student to read Moses 3:16–17 aloud. Invite the class to follow along and look for the choice given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

  • According to Moses 3:17, what would happen if Adam and Eve chose to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

  • What would happen if Adam and Eve chose not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? (They would remain in the Garden of Eden forever. See 2 Nephi 2:22.)

Remind students that before the Lord explained Adam and Eve’s choices that we read about in Moses 3:16–17, He gave them a commandment of great importance.

  • What was the first commandment the Lord gave to Adam and Eve? (To have children [see Moses 2:28].)

To help students understand the significance of this commandment, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“To the first man and woman on earth, the Lord said, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply’ (Moses 2:28; see also Gen. 1:28; Abr. 4:28). This commandment was first in sequence and first in importance. It was essential that God’s spirit children have mortal birth and an opportunity to progress toward eternal life” (“The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 72).

  • Why was the commandment to have children so important?

  • What choice did Adam and Eve need to make in order to obey the Lord’s commandment to have children? (Adam and Eve needed to choose to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. See 2 Nephi 2:22–23.)

Invite a student to read Moses 4:12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Eve and Adam chose to do.

Explain that we call the consequence of Adam and Eve’s choice to partake of the forbidden fruit “the Fall.”

Moses 4:13–32

Adam and Eve learn of the consequences of the Fall

Assign students to work in pairs. Invite them to read Moses 4:13–14, 22–25 together, looking for consequences of the Fall of Adam and Eve. You may want to suggest that students mark in their scriptures the consequences they identify.

  • What were some of the consequences of the Fall?

  • What doctrine do we learn from the phrase “thou shalt surely die” in verse 25? (Students may use different words, but they should identify something like the following doctrine: Because of the Fall, all mankind will experience physical death. Write this doctrine on the board under “Conditions we experience.”)

Point out that because our bodies are mortal—or subject to physical death—we experience additional consequences of the Fall before we die, such as physical imperfections and pain. Add physical imperfections and pain to the board under “Conditions we experience.”

  • What are some other consequences of the Fall that we experience because our bodies are mortal? (Add students’ responses to the board under “Conditions we experience.” These may include injuries, illness, and disease.)

You may want to point out some additional consequences of the Fall. If Adam and Eve had not partaken of the fruit, they would not have had the opportunity to have children in mortality. Therefore, we would not have been able to come to earth to receive physical bodies, be tested, and prepare for eternal life—frustrating the plan of salvation.

Explain that in the Garden of Eden there was another important tree called the tree of life. Invite a student to read Moses 4:28 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said would happen if Adam and Eve were to eat the fruit of the tree of life after having eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

  • What would have happened if Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit of the tree of life after partaking of the forbidden fruit? (They would have lived forever in their transgressions, without an opportunity to repent and progress.)

You may want to clarify that if “[Adam and Eve] would have lived forever, … having no space for repentance; … the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated” (Alma 42:5).

Invite a student to read Moses 4:29–31 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord did to prevent Adam and Eve from partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. Ask them to report what they find. You may need to explain that the word cherubim refers to “figures representing heavenly creatures, the exact form being unknown” (Bible Dictionary, “Cherubim”).

Point out that when Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden, they were no longer in God’s presence (see Moses 5:4).

  • What do we call the condition of being separated from God’s presence? (Spiritual death.)

  • What doctrine about the Fall do we learn from verses 29 and 31? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board under “Conditions we experience”: Because of the Fall, all mankind will experience spiritual death.)

To help students understand this doctrine about spiritual death, invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Seventy:

Elder Earl C. Tingey

“Currently, we are all in the state of spiritual death. We are separated from God. He dwells in heaven; we live on earth. We would like to return to Him” (“The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 73).

You may want to invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals one or two ways they have personally experienced the consequences of the Fall. To help them begin, you might suggest they describe the death of a loved one, dealing with sickness, or how it feels to be separated from their Father in Heaven.

You may want to invite one or two students to share with the class what they have written. You may need to explain to students that they should not share experiences that are too personal or private.

  • What was the solution Heavenly Father prepared in advance to help us overcome physical and spiritual death?

Point to the doctrine you wrote on the board at the beginning of class: Jesus Christ was chosen in the premortal existence to be the Redeemer of mankind. Ask if any students would like to testify of this doctrine and why it is important to them. You may also want to share your feelings about this doctrine.

Explain that in the next lesson students will learn more about Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption prepared through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Commentary and Background Information

Moses 4. Adam and Eve’s choice to partake of the forbidden fruit

President Joseph Fielding Smith summarized the choice presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden:

“The Lord said to Adam, here is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here then I forbid you to eat it. But you may act for yourself and you may eat of it if you want to. And if you eat it you will die” (“Fall—Atonement—Resurrection—Sacrament” [address given at LDS Institute of Religion, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 14, 1961]).

The Lord stated, “Thou mayest choose for thyself” (Moses 3:17), indicating that the Fall had to occur as a result of human choice.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“Elohim [our Heavenly Father] certainly could not force innocent parties out of the garden and still be a just God. …

“… Adam and Eve—and we—knowingly and lovingly absolved God of the responsibility for the ‘thorns and thistles’ of a fallen world that was personally chosen by us, not capriciously imposed by him” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 203, 204).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

“For reasons that have not been revealed, this transition, or ‘fall,’ could not happen without a transgression—an exercise of moral agency amounting to a willful breaking of a law (see Moses 6:59). This would be a planned offense, a formality to serve an eternal purpose. …

“It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and ‘Adam fell that men might be’ (2 Nephi 2:25).

“Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall (see Bruce R. McConkie, “Eve and the Fall,” Woman, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, pp. 67–68). Joseph Smith taught that it was not a ‘sin,’ because God had decreed it (see The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980, p. 63). Brigham Young declared, ‘We should never blame Mother Eve, not the least’ (in Journal of Discourses, 13:145). Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: ‘I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:114–15)” (“The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73).

Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“The fall had a twofold direction—downward, yet forward. It brought man into the world and set his feet on progression’s highway” (Cowley and Whitney on Doctrine, comp. Forace Green [1963], 287).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that there was no death on earth prior to the Fall of Adam and Eve:

“Mortality and procreation and death all had their beginnings with the Fall. …

“… An infinite Creator, in the primeval day, made the earth and man and all forms of life in such a state that they could fall. This fall involved a change of status. All things were so created that they could fall or change. …

“… In the primeval and Edenic day all forms of life lived in a higher and different state than now prevails. … Death and procreation had yet to enter the world” (“Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, 9).

Moses 4:4. “He became Satan”

Satan means “the slanderer” (Bible Dictionary, “Satan”). “The English word devil in the [King James Version of the Bible] is used to represent several different words in Greek (slanderer, demon, and adversary) and Hebrew (spoiler)” (Bible Dictionary, “Devil”).

Before his rebellion, Satan was called “Lucifer, a son of the morning” (D&C 76:26) and was “an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God” (D&C 76:25). In the premortal life, Lucifer sought the birthright position of Jesus Christ, the Firstborn of the Father (see D&C 76:25; 93:21), knowing that Jesus would be heir to the throne of God the Eternal Father. His justification for deserving the position of the Firstborn lay in his claim that he would lose none of the spirit children of God (see Moses 4:1–3). Lucifer’s proposal to redeem all mankind was not innocent or altruistic but was an act of rebellion against God through which Lucifer sought to gain followers for himself (see D&C 29:36–37).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

“The contention in heaven was—Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he would save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 209).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

“The Father’s plan … offered a genuine opportunity for his spirit children to achieve what he desired for them—immortality and eternal life. …

“In his proposed modification, Lucifer [only] pretended to seek the same outcome. [In contrast to Jesus Christ (the premortal Beloved Son, who sought to further the work and glory of the Father), Lucifer sought to obtain the Father’s power for himself]” (The Lord’s Way [1991], viii; the bracketed text is taken from the footnote on the cited page).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discussed two truths concerning Satan that are important for us to remember:

“Number one, Satan, or Lucifer, or the father of lies—call him what you will—is real, the very personification of evil. His motives are in every case malicious, and he convulses at the appearance of redeeming light, at the very thought of truth. Number two, he is eternally opposed to the love of God, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the work of peace and salvation. He will fight against these whenever and wherever he can. He knows he will be defeated and cast out in the end, but he is determined to take down with him as many others as he possibly can” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 44).

Moses 4:9. “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die”

The Lord has not revealed the nature of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, nor has He elaborated on the specific processes that caused Adam and Eve to become mortal.