Genesis 4; Moses 5

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 30–32


The Lord did not send Adam and Eve into the world without adequate instructions. The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies that Adam and Eve learned about the blessings of the Fall and were taught about Jesus Christ and how to worship Him (see Moses 5–6). We learn there that Adam and Eve taught the truths they learned to their children. Thus, Cain murdered his brother in spite of his knowledge of eternal truths. We also learn that Satan influenced Cain’s actions—a truth missing in the biblical account.

Moses 5 helps us understand that our Heavenly Father provided a plan of redemption from the Fall of Adam and Eve and from the personal fall we experience because of our sins (compare Moses 5:4 with 5:41; see also 2 Nephi 1:20; 5:20).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • Adam and Eve and their posterity are redeemed from the Fall through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes redemption possible (see Moses 5:4–9; see also Mosiah 3:16–17; 4:6–8; Moses 6:52).

  • The Fall gave Adam and Eve and their posterity the opportunity to experience joy, have children, know good from evil, and obtain eternal life (see Moses 5:10–11; see also 2 Nephi 2:22–27).

  • Offerings to the Lord must be made in righteousness or they are not acceptable to Him (see Moses 5:16–27; see also Moroni 7:6–8).

  • One way Satan seeks to destroy us is to tempt us to feel no responsibility for others (see Moses 5:28–34).

Suggestions for Teaching

video icon Old Testament Video presentation 7, “The Atonement” (3:43), can be used in teaching Genesis 4; Moses 5 (see Old Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Moses 5:1–12. Like Adam and Eve, we are all “fallen” and “shut out” from God’s presence. The Atonement of Jesus Christ redeems us from our fallen condition. (25–30 minutes)

Make three posters. Write on the first In God’s Presence, on the second Out of God’s Presence, and on the third Jesus Christ’s Atonement. Place the first two on opposite walls of the classroom.

Have the students stand with you on the side of the room labeled In God’s Presence. Explain that we all lived in God’s presence before we came to earth. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve also lived in God’s presence. To symbolize the Fall, walk with the students over to the side of the room labeled Out of God’s Presence. Place a line of tape down the middle of the room and ask students to pretend that the tape is a barrier that keeps us from getting back into God’s presence.

Have them read Moses 5:1. Ask:

  • Were Adam and Eve living in or out of God’s presence then?

  • How did they get in that condition? (They transgressed the law when they ate the forbidden fruit.)

  • How was their condition like our condition now?

Have students read Alma 42:2–3, 6–7, 9, 12, 14 and list on the board conditions that existed after the Fall. Be sure students understand that the two basic results of the Fall are physical death and spiritual death, which is separation from God’s presence.

There are two reasons for our fallen condition: the Fall of Adam and our personal sins. The Savior’s Atonement frees all mankind from the effects of the Fall and provides a conditional escape from the effects of personal sin. To illustrate the power of the Atonement, remove a three-foot section of the tape barrier. Have students read 2 Nephi 31:19–21 and ask who opened the way back into God’s presence and how He did it. You may want to read or sing “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” (Hymns, no. 194) with your students and discuss how it relates to the angel’s message to Adam in Moses 5:6–8. Use the third poster to label the opening in the tape barrier Jesus Christ’s Atonement.

Copy the information from the following chart onto the board (or give it to students as a handout). Use it to help students understand how the Atonement gives all mankind the ability to overcome the effects of the Fall (see also the teaching suggestion for Moses 6:50–68, p. 35). You may want to give only the references for the boxes on the right side of the chart and let the students find the answers.

The Results of Adam’s Fall from
Which We Need to Be Saved

•Physical death: We are all born with mortalbodies that will eventually die.

•Spiritual death: We are all born into a fallen world and are separated from our Heavenly Father.

•We live on a telestial, fallen earth.

The Unconditional Blessings
of the Atonement

•All who have ever lived will be resurrected with an immortal physical body (see Alma 11:42–44).

•All will be brought back into God’s presence for judgment (see Alma 11:44; Helaman 14:15–17).

•The earth will be made celestial (see D&C 88:18–20).

Christ in Gethsemane(click to view larger)

The Results of Our Own Fall from
Which We Need to Be Saved

•As we become accountable for our choices, our sins make us unworthy to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence (see Mosiah 16:2–5).

The Conditional Blessings
of the Atonement

•If we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and are baptized, we can be cleansed from our sins. Through the gift of the Holy Ghost we can become sanctified and worthy to remain in the Father’s presence and become as He is (see Alma 34:13–17; 42:15; Moroni 10:32–33; D&C 76:58; 132:19–20; Moses 5:5–11).


Moses 5:4–7. The Lord uses symbols to teach us about and help us remember His atoning sacrifice. (20–25 minutes)

Use a flashlight or overhead projector to create the shadow of an object on a wall. Have the class tell what the object is and explain how they knew what it was. Explain that the shadow is not the object, but represents the object.

Sometimes God uses “shadows” (also called “types” or “similitudes”) of Jesus Christ’s Atonement to help increase the faith of believers, teach them principles about the Atonement, and help them look forward to the redemption it offers. Have students read Moses 5:4–5 and identify the commandments the Lord gave Adam and Eve. Have them read verse 7 and find the word similitude. Tell them that a similitude is a type, symbol, or representation of something else. Have them read verses 5–6 and identify the elements of this similitude (a sacrifice; firstling of the flock). Ask how these elements are “shadows” of the Savior’s Atonement.

The sacrifices Adam offered represented the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and certain elements of the sacrifice pointed to or taught about the Atonement:

  • Adam offered the “firstlings of their flocks” (Moses 5:5). Firstling refers to the first born male. Jesus Christ was the first born of Heavenly Father’s children in the premortal life (see D&C 93:21), He was the Only Begotten child born of our Heavenly Father in the flesh, and He was the firstborn of His mother, Mary. He was also the “firstborn” of the Resurrection (see Colossians 1:18; see also 1 Corinthians 15:20).

  • The firstling of the flock was offered as sacrifice in the place of the person who sinned. For a similar reason, Jesus Christ is sometimes called the Lamb of God (see John 1:29; 1 Nephi 11:31–33). He suffered and died in the place of all mankind (see D&C 18:11–12) so that “all men might become subject unto him” (2 Nephi 9:5). Because He paid the price for our sins and sacrificed Himself for us, we must seek salvation through Him. Adam was taught by an angel that the sacrifices he made should remind him that he must “repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore” (Moses 5:8).

  • The Lord revealed to Moses other sacrifices that served as similitudes of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice (see Exodus 12:3–28, 43–50; Leviticus 1:1–4:12).

Ask students: What similitude do we participate in today that helps us look back to the Atonement? (The sacrament.) Read the sacrament prayers in Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79 and ask how the sacrament teaches us the same principles Adam learned from the angel. For example, how does the sacrament encourage us to “do all that thou doest in the name of the Son” (Moses 5:8) and to know that “as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed” (v. 9)?

Draw the following diagram on the board and help students understand that blood sacrifices offered before the mortal life of Jesus Christ helped people look forward to His Atonement, and the sacrament helps people look back to the Atonement.

Blood Sacrifice → Atonement ← Sacrament

Genesis 4:1–16; Moses 5:12–41. Satan tempts us to feel we have no responsibility for the well-being of others. (20–25 minutes)

Read together Moses 5:12 and help students understand that Adam and Eve taught the truths they learned from the Lord to all their children. Have them read verses 13–41 and identify words and phrases that help us understand how Cain, raised by righteous parents, rejected the truths of the gospel and came to be called “Perdition.” Perdition means “the lost one” or “destruction.”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, an Apostle, wrote:

“Two persons, Cain and Satan, have received the awesome [terrible] name-title Perdition. The name signifies that they have no hope whatever of any degree of salvation, that they have wholly given themselves up to iniquity, and that any feeling of righteousness whatever has been destroyed in their breasts. … Both came out in open rebellion against God having a perfect knowledge that their course was contrary to all righteousness” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 566).

The following may be helpful in a class discussion:

  • How did Cain show he loved Satan more than God?

  • How do people today show whether they love God or Satan more?

  • Why is it important to know that Satan commanded Cain to offer a disrespectful offering? (see Moses 5:18).

  • Read Alma 3:27. How do the “wages” Satan offers compare to the gifts the Lord offers?

  • What are the consequences of following Satan’s influence?

  • What does Cain’s question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9; Moses 5:34) reveal about himself? Why do you think he said it?

  • What is the correct answer to Cain’s question?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

“Are we our brothers’ keepers? In other words, are we responsible to look after the well-being of our neighbors as we seek to earn our daily bread? The Savior’s Golden Rule says we are. Satan says we are not.

“Tempted of Satan, some have followed the example of Cain. They covet property and then sin to obtain it. The sin may be murder, robbery, or theft. It may be fraud or deception. It may even be some clever but legal manipulation of facts or influence to take unfair advantage of another. Always the excuse is the same: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 25; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 20).

Ask students:

  • What temptations does Satan use to lead people astray today?

  • What sins are prevalent today that could be compared to Cain’s?

Read Alma 41:3–10 and look for what leads to misery and what leads to happiness.

Moses 5. Offerings to the Lord must be made in righteousness or they are not acceptable to Him. (10–15 minutes)

Students are aware that we do not offer burnt offerings to God in our day. Many of them may not understand, however, that the law of sacrifice is still in effect and that obedience to the law can bless us as it blessed Adam. Have them read 3 Nephi 9:20; Doctrine and Covenants 59:8; 97:8, and ask them what those scriptures say are some of the sacrifices the Lord requires of us today.

Share the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“To deny oneself of all ungodliness is to come to Christ by ordinances and covenants to repent of any sins which prevent the Spirit of the Lord from taking precedence in our lives. To deny oneself of all ungodliness is to ‘offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God … , even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit’ (D&C 59:8)” (in Conference Report, Mar.–Apr. 1979, 46; or Ensign, May 1979, 32).

Ask students:

  • Why do you think a broken heart and contrite spirit are acceptable offerings?

  • What are other offerings we give today? (Paying tithing and fast offerings, serving, sharing talents, obeying gospel principles, taking seminary, serving a mission.)

Have students read Moses 5:16–21 and compare what Abel and Cain each sacrificed and why. Ask: Why was Abel’s sacrifice accepted but Cain’s was not? (see Moses 5:5, 20–23).

Have students read Moroni 7:6–13 and identify how our motives and attitudes affect the value of our sacrifices. Mormon taught that the devil “persuadeth no man to do good” (Moroni 7:17). How is offering a gift at Satan’s request not in harmony with what is taught in Moroni 7:6–9? Real intent is part of the faith we express in performing a righteous act. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:

“Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith. … The sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised. … But Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous. … Certainly the shedding of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself; and this performance done with an eye looking forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of sins” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 58).

Abel acted righteously and, even though he was killed, he received the Lord’s blessings. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 42:46; 98:13; and 138:38–40 and identify a great blessing Abel received from the Lord because of his righteous living.

The sacrifices we make today are different from those of Old Testament times, but the motivating principles still apply. For example, in the ordinance of the sacrament we have the opportunity to offer the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Taking the sacrament while remembering Jesus Christ and His Atonement will help bring us the blessings of that sacred ordinance. Help students understand that righteous sacrifice “brings forth the blessings of heaven” (“Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27). Invite them to share examples to illustrate this principle (for example, paying tithing and living a moral life). You may want to share an example from your own life that demonstrates this truth.