Lesson 3: The Fall of Adam and Eve

Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher’s Manual, (1998), 13–16


Purpose

To teach class members that the Fall of Adam and Eve allowed each of us to enter mortality.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Genesis 1:28; 2:16–17 (Moses 2:28; 3:16–17); 2 Nephi 2:19–20, 22–25; Moses 4:6–12.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      The picture Adam and Eve Leaving the Garden of Eden (picture 3 in the picture section of the manual; 62461; Gospel Art Picture Kit 101).

    2. b.

      A set of scriptures and a scripture marking pencil for each class member. Continue to encourage class members to bring their own scriptures to class each week.

Note to the teacher

The decision of Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was not a sin, as it is sometimes considered by other Christian churches. It was a transgression—an act that was formally prohibited but not inherently wrong (see Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 98; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73). The Fall was necessary for us to progress toward exaltation. We have to experience mortality to become like our Father in Heaven, and Adam and Eve fulfilled their mission to make this possible. Help class members appreciate that the Fall of Adam and Eve enabled each of us to receive a body and come to earth to gain experience in choosing between good and evil.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Callings of Adam and Eve

Discussion

  • Imagine you were given the opportunity to live in a world where sickness, sorrow, sin, pain, and death were unknown. Would you like to live in such a world?

Point out that when Adam and Eve were first placed on the earth, they lived in such a world. In the Garden of Eden there was no sorrow, pain, or death. However, Adam and Eve made a choice they knew would require them to leave the Garden of Eden. (Display the picture of Adam and Eve leaving the garden.) This lesson will discuss why they made that choice and how their choice has affected all of us.

Explain that Adam and Eve were chosen in the premortal life for a special mission.

  • What was their mission? Why were they chosen to do this?

Help class members realize that Adam and Eve were chosen to be the first people on earth because of their faithfulness. They were among the “noble and great” of our Heavenly Father’s children (see Abraham 3:22). Adam (then known by the name of Michael) helped create the world and was one of those who led the righteous spirits to victory in the war against the rebellious Lucifer.

The Fall

Scripture discussion

  • What commandments did God give Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

Have class members read Genesis 1:28 (or Moses 2:28) and Genesis 2:16–17 (or Moses 3:16–17) to discover two commandments given to Adam and Eve by Heavenly Father: to multiply and replenish (fill) the earth and to refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Explain that Adam and Eve could not keep both these commandments. If they chose to eat the fruit, they would be cast out of the Garden of Eden. But if they did not eat the fruit and remained in the garden, they would not be able to have children (to “multiply and replenish the earth”). Because the Garden of Eden was a place of innocence, while Adam and Eve lived there they could not change or progress in any way, including having children (see 2 Nephi 2:22–23).

Quotation

Read or have a class member read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“To bring the plan of happiness to fruition [fulfillment], God issued to Adam and Eve the first commandment ever given to mankind. It was a commandment to beget children. A law was explained to them. Should they eat from ‘the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Genesis 2:17), their bodies would change; mortality and eventual death would come upon them. But partaking of that fruit was prerequisite to their parenthood” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 46; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 34).

Scripture discussion

  • What happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

Have class members tell what they know about the Fall. Then have a class member read Moses 4:6–12 aloud (you may want to have class members take turns reading one verse each).

  • What did Satan say would happen if Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? (See Moses 4:10–11.) Why did he tell Eve this? (See Moses 4:6; emphasize that Satan did not know that eating the fruit was a necessary part of God’s plan for Adam and Eve.)

  • Which part of Satan’s argument was true? (See Moses 4:11.) Which part was not true? (See Moses 4:10.) What are some ways Satan combines truth and lies today to persuade us to do what he wants?

  • Why did Eve and then Adam eat the fruit?

Help class members understand that Adam and Eve acted with understanding and used freedom of choice. They realized that if they did not eat the fruit, they would not be able to have children and they would not be able to learn to make righteous decisions. They wisely chose to eat the fruit.

Chalkboard discussion

  • What are the effects of the Fall on Adam and Eve’s descendants, including us?

Label two columns on the chalkboard: Before the Fall and After the Fall. Have class members develop a list of conditions before the Fall and a list of conditions after the Fall. Following is an example with some suggestions:

Before The Fall

After The Fall

No mortal experience

Mortal experience

No testing or probation

Testing and probation

No mortal body

Mortal body

Limited choices

Unlimited choices

No work

Work

No judgment

Judgment

No sin or opposition

Sin and opposition

No repentance needed

Repentance

No joy or pain

Joy and pain

No need for a Savior

The Savior and his Atonement

No opportunity for exaltation

Opportunity for exaltation

Scripture discussion

Have class members read 2 Nephi 2:22–25. Suggest that class members mark verse 25 (remind class members not to mark in library copies or borrowed copies of the scriptures).

  • What would have happened to Adam and Eve if they had not eaten of the forbidden fruit? (They would have remained in the Garden of Eden without progressing; they would have known no joy because they knew no misery; they would have had no children. Also, God’s plan of salvation would have been frustrated.)

  • What would have happened to us if Adam and Eve had not eaten the fruit? (Because they would not have had children, we would not have had the opportunity to be born on this earth.)

Have class members look at 2 Nephi 2:25 again.

  • How is the Fall of Adam and Eve essential to your eternal joy? (The Fall enabled us to be born on earth, where we can learn and progress toward exaltation and eternal joy.)

Testimony

  • Testify that Adam and Eve made a deliberate choice to partake of the forbidden fruit. Their choice did not come from a desire to disobey the Lord, but from a desire to gain wisdom. Because of this choice, we have the opportunity to come to earth and learn, as Adam and Eve did, how to choose good over evil. Express your gratitude for Adam and Eve and the choice they made.

Encourage class members to follow Adam and Eve’s example and choose good over evil.

Enrichment Activities

You may want to use one or more of these activities during the lesson.

  1. 1.

    Invite the mother of a newborn baby to come to class to show her baby to the class and share her feelings about the privilege of bringing a new spirit into mortality. Explain to class members that this would not have been possible if Adam and Eve had not chosen to partake of the fruit.

  2. 2.

    If Old Testament Video Presentations (53224) is available, show “The Fall,” a seven-minute segment, instead of reading the quotation from Elder Nelson.

  3. 3.

    Explain to class members that they were among the righteous spirits with Adam in the premortal world. Help them realize that they are like Adam and Eve.

    Write two headings on the chalkboard: Adam and Eve and Me.

    Begin by listing on the chalkboard one way we are like Adam and Eve. Discuss this similarity, and then have class members list as many other similarities as they can. Discuss each similarity as it is added to the list. The finished chalkboard will look something like this:

    Adam And Eve

    Me

    Spirit children of God

    Spirit child of God

    Given agency to choose between good and evil

    Given agency to choose between good and evil

    Used agency to follow God

    Using agency to follow God

    Special mission—first man and woman

    Special mission—held back until last dispensation

    As you discuss the final item under “Me,” you may want to use the following statement from Elder Ezra Taft Benson (Elder Benson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when he made this statement; he later became the thirteenth President of the Church):

    “For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. … God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God” (“In His Steps,” in BYU Speeches of the Year, 1979, 59–60).

    Encourage class members to continue to be like Adam and Eve, following their righteous examples.