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The Two "Conflicting" Commandments in Eden


consiglieri

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It is common to hear Latter-day Saints refer to the twin commandments in the Garden of Eden to (1) multiply and replenish; and, (2) not eat the forbidden fruit, as "conflicting commandments."

I have never been comfortable with this analysis, as it seems to conflict with the "justice" of God to punish somebody for doing something they could not avoid, and I am especially troubled at God's allegedly setting Adam up for a fall, so to speak.

Although I am happy to hear the thoughts from others on this subject, I want to throw what seems to have been a "third commandment" into the mix.

When God confronts Adam on whether he had eaten the forbidden fruit, the Book of Moses supplements Adam's response:

Moses 4:18 And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.

Here a third commandment is referenced; that God had commanded Adam that Eve should remain with him. Now, here I can definitely see a commandment that comes into conflict, but only after Eve has partaken of the forbidden fruit and is on her way out of the Garden.

Adam clearly must choose between commandments at this point; this does not trouble me so much as it is a crisis brought on by the disobedience of another; not through a set-up instituted by God.

It is interesting that, though this commandment is not referenced in our Old Testament as we have it (unless it is the bit about cleaving unto your wife), Paul seems to be aware of it when advising members on whether they should remain married.

1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

Any thoughts?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Personally?

I think the 'conflicting commandments' scenario as in Moses/Temple is something unique to the Revelations of the Restoration, and re-contextualizes the Adam and Eve narrative to teach something differently than was taught anciently.

It is my opinion that the Fall narrative as it currently stands in Genesis is a lot more about the loss of the Monarchy/High Priest, and also the Exile and expulsion from the Temple than the plan of Salvation.

However, I think it's quite plausible that the 'Standard LDS Version' is a Modern Revelation/Midrash/Targum to teach the saints concerning the Plan of Salvation, and their role within it, and also the ancient nature of the Plan of Salvation, using a re-contextualization of a familiar authoritative framework and story.

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I may be over intellectualizing in saying this, but I become less and less troubled by the paradoxical commandments in the garden (and a host of paradoxes extending therefrom) the more I understand the heart and mind of God. As odd as it may seem to our finite intellects, the "conflicting" commandments were a product of divine love and the desire of an Eternal Father (and Mother) for his children to become like him--which necessitated that mankind fall, and that the man not be withouth the women, neither the woman without the man, and that they twain become one flesh through giving birth to their children.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I may be over intellectualizing in saying this, but I become less and less troubled by the paradoxical commandments in the garden (and a host of paradoxes extending therefrom) the more I understand the heart and mind of God. As odd as it may seem to our finite intellects, the "conflicting" commandments were a product of divine love and the desire of an Eternal Father (and Mother) for his children to become like him--which necessitated that mankind fall, and that the man not be withouth the women, neither the woman without the man, and that they twain become one flesh through giving birth to their children.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

My feelings exactly. The only thing that "bothers" me is when the word "deceived" is used to describe Eve partaking of the fruit. It seems to me, particularly the way it is presented in the temple, that she knew what she was doing, and therefore so did Adam, and in fact wasn't deceived. Can somebody expound on why the word "deceived" is sometimes used?

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My feelings exactly. The only thing that "bothers" me is when the word "deceived" is used to describe Eve partaking of the fruit. It seems to me, particularly the way it is presented in the temple, that she knew what she was doing, and therefore so did Adam, and in fact wasn't deceived. Can somebody expound on why the word "deceived" is sometimes used?

In every single account I'm aware of, she's acting based on incorrect knowledge from an unauthorized source.

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I taught the lesson on the Fall to the 12-13 years olds last week in Sunday School, and I was struck by the verses we read that may have the key to understanding the apparent paradox by the two conflicting commandments:

(2 Nephi 2:22-27) "And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
Now I have always read this first part of these verses "if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen" and thought well that is fairly obvious, however if you look at it in the context of the plan of salvation as revealed in the restoration, in order for Adam and Eve to truly have unrestrained agency they had to fall. They had to become mortal or there would have been no "test" to see if we would keep all of God's commandments. This probation was a two tiered plan, the first estate was while we were in God's presence. But this second estate needed us to leave God's presence. The only way we could do this was to transgress His law. God could not command us to sin, therefore the "set up" as you refer to was necessary so that Adam and Eve could choose to fall. This fall was necessary for us to develop the characteristics of God, faith, love, obedience etc... these could not be fully done in the first estate. Traditional Christianity looks on the fall as a disaster a woe to mankind. But the fullness of the Gospel explains that God is in control, His plan is "Satan proof" and it is just and merciful at the same time. God could not create that which was "not good" it needed the choices of the participants to make the plan of salvation and exaltation work. The problem was how could mankind come to a world that was fallen and mortal so that their faith could be tested? Solution the fall of man. The atonement was also a critical part of that plan, without it we could not overcome the fallen state and prove worthy of God's glory which is the reason we came here in the first place. The Book of Mormon plainly shows the need for the fall and the atonement, and that all things were done in the wisdom of God.
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Eve says she was beguiled. That means

1. to influence by trickery, flattery, etc.; mislead; delude.

2. to take away from by cheating or deceiving (usually fol. by of): to be beguiled of money.

3. to charm or divert: a multitude of attractions to beguile the tourist.

So yes, she was deceived.

However I am with Orson Pratt on this one (and Consig). There were three commandments given (or 2 as the first and second go together).

1. Stay together

2. Multiply

3. Don't eat the fruit.

Eve broke one. Adam had to figure out what to do. Did he break one or break two. If he would have chosen to not eat the fruit, he would have been separated from Eve and therefore not able to multiply. He decided he better eat.

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Here a third commandment is referenced; that God had commanded Adam that Eve should remain with him. Now, here I can definitely see a commandment that comes into conflict, but only after Eve has partaken of the forbidden fruit and is on her way out of the Garden.

This is a nice way to show that Adam needed a woman in paradise (to steward over it), mortality (to multiply and replenish the earth), or in eternity (which was the Lord's aim).

The conflict, to me, doesn't seem too severe. The commandment not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was designed for life in Eden, permitting Adam and Eve to remain there forever. So to eat of the fruit was forbidden as far as life in Eden was concerned. The commandment to multiply was designed for life in the Celestial Kingdom. Adam and Eve could choose whether to remain in Eden under one set of laws, or to enter the World and live under another set of laws ranging from natural to revealed, preparing them for a telestial, terrestrial, or celestial pattern of living in in this life.

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Consig,

Might I share a couple posts from an Excellent LDS Poster over on CARM which speaks directly to your questions. (Hanna Rebekah)

Her Blog:

LDS Temples and 'Ancient Wisdom'

http://ancient-wisdo...e.blogspot.com/

<SNIP>

The account of the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Bible is relatively succinct, particularly in the vocal exchanges between the serpent, Eve, and Adam (bolded below). What details we know of the Fall come primarily from chapter 3 of Genesis:

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman,
Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent,
We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman,
Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Gen. 3:1-7)

Some Armenian Apocrypha manuscripts have been translated into English in recent decades which expand on the Fall narrative substantially, and which are enlightening to compare and contrast with the Genesis account and the account as presented in the temple. LDS scholars John Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper have helped bring this literature to light for us. English translations of the Armenian Apocrypha texts can be found by W. Lowndes Lipscomb and Michael Stone. Michael Stone

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It is common to hear Latter-day Saints refer to the twin commandments in the Garden of Eden to (1) multiply and replenish; and, (2) not eat the forbidden fruit, as "conflicting commandments."

Any thoughts?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Are you suggesting that #2 was about sex, as the forbidden fruit? I ask because of #1 being multiplying and replenishing the earth. Some do believe that #2 is about sex, but I do not.

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Consig: 'ppears to me that "should remain with me" is implicit in "multiply and replenish."

We shouldn't assume Adam was an idiot.

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I have never been comfortable with this analysis, as it seems to conflict with the "justice" of God to punish somebody for doing something they could not avoid, and I am especially troubled at God's allegedly setting Adam up for a fall, so to speak

Doesn't seem to be any sort of analysis, it's canon:

14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.

15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.

16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

2Nephi 2:14-16

The commands were opposing so as to initiate the agency of man. Both commands were good because both required obedience to God. Yet to obey one required breaking the other.

The consequence for not partaking the fruit was:

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

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Eve says she was beguiled. ... So yes, she was deceived.

I agree that she was deceived. I hold that God fully intended to introduce Adam and Eve to the forbidden fruit (though, it would still be Adam and Eve's choice) but only after Adam and Eve were better prepared. They still had lessons to learn. They weren't ready. They were still "naked". Satan knew this and sought to seriously mess with things by introducing them to the forbidden fruit prematurely.

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I agree that she was deceived. I hold that God fully intended to introduce Adam and Eve to the forbidden fruit (though, it would still be Adam and Eve's choice) but only after Adam and Eve were better prepared. They still had lessons to learn. They weren't ready. They were still "naked". Satan knew this and sought to seriously mess with things by introducing them to the forbidden fruit prematurely.

I completely agree... Why else would he put the second tree in the garden.

Its like a parent placing a loaded gun in the middle of the living room floor, telling the kids not to touch it, and then leaving to do some Groceries, hoping they won't touch it.

There has to be a reason for him doing it.

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To me, the issue of justice is resolved because it is God giving man (in this case Adam and Eve) a chance to choose. He explains the laws and the consequences (both having desirable and undesirable attributes attached) and lets them choose which they desire to have the most in spite of the difficulties that would accompanied them.

I see Eve being 'beguiled" in that the serpent was telling her she could escape some of the consequences that were given and it seems she buys into that for a time, but in the end even fully recognizing the consequences she did not regret her choice (and it would appear to me Adam did not either).

add-on: I see that firepatch has provided some quotes relevant to this POV. Thank you.

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...

I agree. The conflicting commandments thing has never been taught by prophets, apostles, or by any general authorities that I have ever heard. When-ever I hear about 'conflicting commandments' I cringe.

And yes, you are completely correct about the 3rd commandment. It's stately plainly in 3rd Nephi 2:25.

Chris J.

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There are seemingly "conflicting" laws in nature as well. The laws of flight "conflict" with the law of gravity. If one wished to take flight, one must obey the laws of flight and defy the law of gravity. Is that so troubling? :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Please don't put it that way. No one defy's the lay of gravity by flying. Gravity is not suspended just so you can have a nice jaunt on your airplane! The only thing that is defied is safety.

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The question I would ask any non-LDS person is this: "Were Adam and Eve anatomically correct?"

If they were then God knew they would eventually take of the fruit and start the process of populating the world. In a strange way, God putting the tree there would be akin to subscribing to a porn site and telling your teenagers that they can surf all they want but they are forbidden to click on the icon on your opening page to look at the porn. You absolutely know, unless you are totally clueless, that every one of your young sons and daughters will eventually click on the icon. Now can't we conclude that God is smarter than any parent on earth? He knew they would eventually partake of the fruit and that the plans of God to populate the earth would get rolling.

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