Related Posts: The Fall of Man: The Doctrine; Creation Ex Nihilo; Omniscience; Election; Doctrine of Agency
Defense of the Doctrine
As I mentioned at the end of my previous post (The Fall of Man: The Doctrine), our doctrine of the fall of man presents a dilemma for the believing Mormon. We believe that the following state of affairs existed in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were given the two commandments (1) don’t eat the forbidden fruit and (2) multiply and replenish the earth, and that (2) couldn’t have been done without breaking (1). To most people this would seem contradictory; in fact many Mormons refer to the “conflicting commandments” given in Eden. But then, how could God give a commandment to Adam and Eve and want them to break it? Did God want them to sin? It appears that the LDS belief about the state of affairs in Eden lacks coherence. What is needed is an explication of the coherence of that state of affairs. Continue reading
Related Posts: Adam-God Theory; Opposition in all things; The Fall of Man Part II; Adam-ondi-Ahman and Eden; Doctrine of Agency
According to Mormon beliefs the fall of man was a necessary part of God’s plan for the happiness of his children (Alma 42:8; Moses 6:48; 2 Nephi 2:23; 2:25; 1 Nephi 17:36). Understanding why the fall was necessary begins by understanding the premortal life. From there the necessity of the fall becomes apparent.
We believe that each person had a premortal existence; we lived before the creation of the earth (Ether 3:15; Abr. 3:22; Jer. 1:5; Eph. 1:4). During premortality we learned and progressed. But eventually we reached the limits of premortal development, so it became necessary for us to move to the next stage of existence, mortality. President Joseph F. Smith (d. 1918) explained it in this way:
Our spirits existed before they came to this world. They were in the councils of the heavens before the foundations of the earth were laid…We sang together with the heavenly hosts for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid, and when the plan of our existence upon this earth and redemption were mapped out…[It was there that] Satan rebelled against God, and sought to destroy the agency of man… (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 331)