Genesis 3; Moses 4

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 26–29


Modern revelation testifies that the Fall was good, necessary, and a planned step in the eternal progression of all of Heavenly Father’s children. The Old Testament explains what happened in the Fall but not why it happened or what it means for us. One reason for this may be the loss of many plain and precious truths from the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13:25–29). As members of the Church, we can better understand the doctrine of the Fall because much of what was lost has been restored in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

video icon Old Testament Video presentation 6, “The Fall” (5:00) can be used in teaching Genesis 3; Moses 4 (see Old Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Moses 4:1–6. The war that began in heaven is not over; Satan is still trying to destroy Heavenly Father’s plan and children. (5–10 minutes)

On the board write War in Heaven. Draw or show students a picture of some military weapons and ask:

Have them search Revelation 12:7–11 and find who was involved in the war. (Michael and his angels—which included us—against Satan and his angels.) Read Moses 4:1–6 and ask:

  • How was Satan able to get one third of the host of heaven to follow him?

  • How did he propose to fulfill God’s plan?

  • How would destroying our agency allow Satan to be successful?

Compare what Satan said to Heavenly Father with what Jesus, the “Beloved Son,” said. Ask:

  • How do you feel about Jesus Christ after learning this?

  • What happened to Satan and his followers?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:25–30 and help students understand that the war did not end—it just changed battlegrounds and continues here on earth. Ask what weapons were used to defeat Satan (see Revelation 12:11). Tell them that Satan’s main target is the Latter-day Saints (see Revelation 12:17). Ask: If Satan will eventually be cast into outer darkness, why did Heavenly Father allow him and his followers to come to earth and do so much damage?

Moses 4:1–6. Satan rebelled and sought to destroy the agency of man. (15–20 minutes)

Note: The following activity builds on the teaching suggestion for Genesis 2:15–17; Moses 3:15–17 (p. 25) but can still be effective if you did not use that suggestion.

Read Moses 4:1, 3 and ask students what the scriptures say Satan planned to do to destroy our agency. Most people think that he would have forced us to do right, but that is only one possibility. Explain that certain conditions are necessary if we are to have agency and that you are going to demonstrate what they are.

Invite one or two students to come to the front of the room, and offer them an enticing reward to just do the correct thing for the rest of the day. When they ask what the “correct thing” is, say that there are no rules—they are free to do whatever they want. They will probably think that is a good arrangement. Ask the class how the students will know if they have done the “correct thing.” Read 2 Nephi 2:11–13 with the class and help them understand that if there are no rules for behavior, there can be neither wrong nor right behavior. Therefore, there is no way to win the reward because in that situation agency could not exist. On the board write 1. There must be laws that define good and evil (see 2 Nephi 2:13). Explain that certain rules or commandments must be given, each with blessings and consequences. Without law there could be no sin (see 2 Nephi 2:13). This is an essential element of agency.

Have an empty table at the front of the room and invite another student to come forward. Point to the empty table and tell the student that the law states that it is forbidden to take anything off the table and eat it. When the student does not take anything, say what a righteous person the student is for not breaking the law. Ask the class if they think a person should be rewarded for obeying a law when there is no other alternative. The prophet Lehi taught the need for opposition (see 2 Nephi 2:11). We ultimately have to make choices between good and evil (see 2 Nephi 2:16). Have the students suggest what a second essential element of agency is. On the board write 2. There must be an alternate choice to what is defined as good (see 2 Nephi 2:11).

Place some treats on the table and have another, much more desirable treat hidden in your pocket. Invite one or two students to come forward and choose any one thing on the table to eat. After they pick up one of the treats, show what was in your pocket and ask why they did not choose the more desirable one. When they say that they did not know about the other choice, have the class suggest what a third essential element of agency is. On the board write 3. A person must have knowledge of what the choices and consequences are (see 2 Nephi 2:15–16; Helaman 14:30–31).

Place two treats on the table, one more desirable than the other. Invite another student to come forward and choose any treat from the table and eat it. When the student reaches to take the most desirable treat, take it away. Ask the student to try again, but then prevent the student from taking it. Ask the class to suggest a fourth essential element of agency. On the board write 4. A person must have complete freedom to choose between the two choices (see 2 Nephi 2:26–27).

Help students understand why agency is such an essential part of the plan of salvation by discussing the following questions:

  • Why did we choose to come to earth under Heavenly Father’s plan instead of following Satan?

  • Could we become like God under Satan’s plan? Why not?

  • Could we ever be trusted with the powers of godhood if we had never had the opportunity to learn to choose between right and wrong?

Tell the class that Satan might have destroyed our agency by eliminating any one of those four elements and that he is still trying to destroy our agency using the same techniques of deception and lies.

Have students read Moses 4:4. Ask them what falsehoods Satan tries to get people to believe that could affect their choices. (There is no God and, therefore, no laws of right or wrong, no sin, and no punishment. Whatever you want to do is right.) Have students give examples of how Satan attacks those four elements of agency today. (Everybody does it. It’s my body. I’m not hurting anyone else. Just this once. No one will know.)

Genesis 3; Moses 4:6–29. Understanding the Fall is essential to an appreciation of the Atonement and for coping with the challenges in this life. (20–25 minutes)

On the board write If the Garden of Eden was a paradise, why did Adam choose to leave? Read the following statements (or make up similar ones) and ask your students to vote with a “thumbs up” sign if they agree or a “thumbs down” sign if they disagree:

  • I like getting bitten by insects.

  • Pulling weeds is one of my favorite activities.

  • I am happiest when I am sick.

  • I feel very safe knowing about all the war, famine, and pestilence in the world.

  • Knowing that I will die someday is very exciting to me.

Ask students:

  • Do you think Adam and Eve experienced any of those challenges in the Garden of Eden?

  • Why would Adam and Eve choose to live in a fallen world instead of paradise?

Have students search Moses 4:6–19 and look for reasons Eve ate the forbidden fruit (see vv. 12, 19) and then why Adam also ate (see v. 18). Ask: If Adam and Eve had not transgressed, would we have been born in the Garden of Eden? (see 2 Nephi 2:22–23).

To help your students understand that the Fall was essential to our progress, write the following chart on the board (or give it to students as a handout). Include only the headings and numbers, leaving spaces for the answers. Read the scripture references with your students and help them fill in the conditions before and after the Fall.

Before the Fall

After the Fall

1. No physical death; Adam and Eve would have lived forever (see 2 Nephi 2:22).

1. All things became mortal and could die physically (see 2 Nephi 9:6).

2. No spiritual death; they lived in God’s presence—faith was not required (see Alma 32:21).

2. Adam and Eve were cast out of God’s presence and became spiritually dead (see D&C 29:40–42).

3. No progression toward godhood possible because of limited agency (see 2 Nephi 2:22).

3. Eternal progression according to Heavenly Father’s plan became possible (see Moses 5:11).

4. They could not have children (see 2 Nephi 2:23).

4. They could have children (see Moses 4:22; 5:11).

5. They were innocent, knowing neither good nor evil, joy nor misery (see 2 Nephi 2:23).

5. They knew good and evil and could experience joy and misery (see Moses 5:11).

6. They lived in a paradise where everything was provided without effort (see Moses 3:8–9).

6. The earth also fell, so we must work for what we need (see Moses 4:23–25).

Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.

“No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 106; or Ensign, May 1987, 85).

(Note: The Atonement will be taught with Moses 5 [pp. 30–31].) Ask students:

  • How can understanding the Fall help us cope with the trials and challenges we must face in this life?

  • How would we be worse off if we went through mortality without facing any challenges or difficulties? (By comparison, you might ask: How well would you understand math if you never had to solve any math problems? How much stronger would you become if you did not exercise?)

Share your testimony that although the Fall seemed to be a step down, it was an essential step forward.

Genesis 3:14–19; Moses 4:20–25. The consequences of the Fall are blessings, not punishments. (15–20 minutes)

Note: This teaching suggestion is a continuation of the previous one on the results of the Fall.

Have students read Moses 4:20–25 and look for consequences of the Fall. List their responses on the board.

Write the word enmity on the board. Explain that President Ezra Taft Benson said that “enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 3; Ensign, May 1989, 4).

Have students look at Moses 4:21. Ask:

  • Who placed the barrier of enmity between Satan and the woman and between the followers of Satan and the seed of the woman?

  • Who is the “seed” of the woman? (Jesus Christ; see also the commentary for Genesis 3:15 in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, p. 41.)

  • How could that enmity be considered a blessing?

  • How does Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan bless our lives now and in the eternities?

Write the word sorrow on the board and ask students if sorrow can be a blessing. Read Moses 4:22–23, and find the word sorrow in each verse, determining whether it seems like a punishment or a blessing. Explain that the Hebrew word that was translated sorrow in those verses can also mean “distress” or “toil” or “labor” (see also the commentary for Genesis 3:16–19 in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, pp. 41–42). Ask students how hard work, illness, and other adversities can ultimately be blessings in our lives.

Genesis 3:16–20. Just as the Lord gave Adam responsibility for Eve’s welfare, a husband should preside over his wife and family in righteousness and provide for their needs. (5–10 minutes)

Some people have been troubled by the statement that Adam would rule over Eve (see Genesis 3:16; Moses 4:22). Read to students President Spencer W. Kimball’s statement in the commentary for Genesis 3:16 in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel (p. 41).

Read Ephesians 5:23 and ask how a husband should preside over a wife and family. Ask what qualities best describe Jesus Christ’s leadership over the Church. List responses on the board.

Help students understand that the type of leadership Heavenly Father intended Adam and all men to have over their families is like the leadership the Savior has over the Church.

weekly icon Moses 1–4. The blessings of the Fall. (40–50 minutes)

Note: All of the ideas students studied in Moses 1–4 cannot be covered if your class meets only once or twice a week. This teaching suggestion can help you review some of the most important doctrines in these chapters. You may also decide to use some of the other teaching suggestions based on your knowledge of your students and the guidance of the Spirit.

Write the following four questions on the board:

•Who am I?

•Why was the earth created?

•Why is there so much wickedness on earth and so many troubles and trials in life?

•Why do we need a Savior?

Tell students you hope that by the end of class they can give an answer to each of those questions.

Ask students what they learned in their personal study of Moses 1–2 about how to answer the first question: Who am I? Refer them to what Moses learned about God and about himself (see Moses 1:1–11). Tell them that one way to learn about what a child may become is to look at the parents. Ask:

  • Who is the father of our spirits?

  • What does that say about our potential?

Discuss why knowing that we are children of Heavenly Father can be important in our lives.

Have students complete activities A and B for Moses 1 in their student study guides (p. 11). Invite them to share their responses in class.

In Moses 1 we read about visions the Lord gave Moses concerning this world and the people who live on it. After seeing this vision, Moses had two questions. Have students find and highlight those questions in Moses 1:30. Have them read Moses 1:39; Abraham 3:24–26 and find answers as to why the earth was created.

Have students quickly tell what happened during each period of creation. Ask:

  • What were the final creations?

  • How were they different from the rest of the creations?

Ask students how they would answer the third question: Why is there so much wickedness on earth and so many troubles and trials in life? Have them read Moses 4:15–31 and list the consequences of the Fall. Have them read Moses 5:9–11. Ask:

  • How did the Fall benefit us?

  • Why was it essential to the plan of salvation?

  • What single act was required to make the fall a blessing? (The Atonement.) Why?

  • How does repentance help us receive the blessings of the Atonement?