2022 Study Summary 3: The Fall of Adam and Eve
Genesis 3-4; Moses 4-5
“The Fall of Adam and Eve”
Genesis 3. The serpent (Lucifer) deceives Eve—She and then Adam partake of the forbidden fruit—Her Seed (Christ) will bruise the serpent’s head—The roles of woman and of man are explained—Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden—Adam presides—Eve becomes the mother of all living.
Genesis 4. Eve bears Cain and Abel—They offer sacrifices—Cain slays Abel and is cursed by the Lord, who also sets a mark upon him—The children of men multiply—Adam begets Seth, and Seth begets Enos.
Moses 4. How Satan became the devil—He tempts Eve—Adam and Eve fall, and death enters the world.
Moses 5. Adam and Eve bring forth children—Adam offers sacrifice and serves God—Cain and Abel are born—Cain rebels, loves Satan more than God, and becomes Perdition—Murder and wickedness spread—The gospel is preached from the beginning.
What is the basis for true religion?
(1) There is a God, (2) He speaks to prophets that He chose, (3) and they speak to the people. The people can know that the prophets speak truth by asking God to confirm the truths through the power and spirit of the Holy Ghost. Three things disappear as true religion apostatizes: (1) the identity of God and the Godhead, (2) the identity of Satan or Lucifer, and (3) the understanding and knowledge of life before and after mortality.
What happened to the oldest known true religion of mankind?
The fall of Adam is one of the faded doctrines of Judaism. Discovery of ancient scriptures (The Pearl of Great Price) and the restoration of true temple worship in modern times have restored understanding that was on the earth beginning with Adam and Eve. Following is a collection of (diminished) Jewish thought on Adam, Eve and sin. “For most of the medieval Jewish thinkers, the biblical story of Adam has both a literal and allegorical meaning. Judah Halevi wrote that in addition to the loftiest intellect ever possessed by a human being, Adam was endowed with the divine power that enables man to achieve communion with God. Maimonides held this to be possible through the development of the intellect alone, no other special gift being required. Adam’s sin is understood allegorically by Maimonides as a failure to resist the demands of physical passion.” “In much the same way Joseph Albo (1380-1844, a Jewish philosopher and rabbi, born and lived in Spain in the fifteenth century, the author of Sefer ha-Ikkarim, a classic work on Judaism fundamentals) interprets the whole of the story of the Garden of Eden allegorically, regarding it as a “symbolic allusion to man’s fortune in the world.” Thus, Adam represents all of mankind; the Garden of Eden, the world; the Tree of Life, the Torah; and the serpent, the evil inclination. Just as Adam is placed in the Garden, in the midst of which stands the Tree of Life, so man is placed in the world in order to observe the commandments of the Torah. Having eaten from the forbidden fruit, Adam is banished from the Garden — in the same way, writes Albo, as man is punished if he disobeys the divine commandments.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What has mankind done to true religion without continued revelation from God?
Death is another fact that has faded in meaning over the centuries. In Judaism, physical death is simply explained: “The Talmud explains that there are three partners in the creation of a human being; the father and mother who supply the physical parts, and God, Who supplies the spirit. At death, God reclaims his part, and the spirit lives on even though the body has died.” “The exact nature of this afterlife is the subject of great discussion in classical Jewish sources. All agree that after death the soul continues to live. The souls of the righteous enter paradise, or Gan Eden (Garden of Eden) as it is generally called. In that state “there is no eating or drinking . . . no envy, hatred or competition but only this: that the righteous sit with crowns on their heads and delight in the splendor of “God’s presence” [Talmud]. The souls of the wicked enter hell, or Gehinnom, as it is known, where they undergo purification before they too can enter paradise.” “Some rabbis believed in resurrection. That is that at a certain point in time God will bring everybody back to life and then the world will be a perfect place and physical life will go on indefinitely. This doctrine poses some obvious difficulties: the body actually decomposes after burial so how can it be reconstituted; furthermore, what about overpopulation of the world? Those who believe in resurrection claim that anyway the whole process will be miraculous, and the miracle will solve all the problems. Other rabbis however denied physical resurrection entirely and understood the afterlife to be a completely spiritual experience.” “The argument about resurrection lasted well into the Middle-ages and was one of the reasons for the sharp attacks against Maimonides. Many believed that he denied the doctrine and his views started a controversy that lasted for hundreds of years. In modern times most Jewish theologians do not subscribe to the doctrine of physical resurrection and movements such as Reform Judaism do not consider it to be a necessary belief for the Jew.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What happened to the concept of “Satan” as it diminished into the idea of “bad impulses?”
“Feelings of hatred, envy, self-indulgence, sexual drives, greed are woven into man’s nature as God created him. But these impulses can be re-directed by the yezer ha-tov, (good impulses) guided and disciplined by the laws of the Torah, so that instead of destructive forces they become creative powers for good. The sages taught that studying the Torah and living according to its commandments are the best way to assure this good. Men then marry, have children, develop commerce, act against injustice and persecution in a spirit of responsibility and high purpose. One need only look at the world around us to see the tragic results when the yezer ha-ra (bad impulse) is irresponsible and unrestrained.” “Neither great personalities nor simple folk are immune to the power of the yezer ha-ra, which in rabbinic literature, is usually depicted as the influence of Satan. The function of Satan is to tempt all humanity and to test a person’s sincerity. The rabbis taught that one must therefore always be aware of the power of temptation, for the yezer ha-ra can grow and become a bad habit. At first it resembles the thread of a spider’s web, the wise men tell us, — fragile and barely visible. lf not controlled it will become as strong as a stout rope. Judaism places a high value on the good that results from man’s victory over his evil inclinations. “Who is mighty?” ask the sages. “One who subdues his inclinations.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How has Satan subtlety attempted to lead us away from the basics of “good” and “evil?”
As discussed in the first few lesson supplements, the explainable concept of God and Satan have basically disappeared in modern Judaism. That, of course, would be Satan’s main goal. Yet, the concepts of good and evil are still basic to Jewish life. References to Satan as a personage have also largely disappeared from Jewish thought. Talmudic teachings include the following description: “In the Talmud, Satan is at times identified with the yezer ha-rah (the evil inclination), but he also assumes certain aspects of a fully personalized entity. Thus, he is the angel of death, or he is the tempter lying in ambush not only for Job but also for Abraham and all the biblical personalities. Or he is the accuser, ha-mekatreg, constantly waiting for man to sin so as to bring down upon him the wrath of God.” “Several references to Satan have found their way into the liturgy, for example the plea in the hashkivenu prayer of the evening service to “remove from us the enemy, pestilence . . . and Satan.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) “Basic to Judaism is the firm belief that all of life is good. The Bible proclaims: “And God saw all that He had made and found it very good” (Genesis 1:31). Yet how can we fit catastrophe, pain, moral evil and sin into God’s design of Creation? The earlier books of the Bible deal very little with the problem of the existence of evil. In the later books, however, questions concerning the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous become familiar. The question appears in Jeremiah, in Isaiah, Job and Psalms, and various answers have been given by Talmudists and philosophers.” “The rabbis of the Talmud taught that as good derives from God who is merciful and loving, so does evil. This also removes any idea of separate gods. The rabbis say that just as a man blesses God for the good bestowed upon him, so must he bless Him for evil. To the vexing problem of the seemingly unjust distribution of good and evil the replies are varied. One answer is that it is beyond the understanding of man’s mind. Another opinion states that the righteous, suffering in this world, might be receiving punishments for the sins of their ancestors, while the wicked may be prospering because of zekhut avot, the merit of pious ancestors. The most widespread explanation is that the righteous receive their punishment for any small transgression so they can then enjoy their full reward in the world to come. The wicked are rewarded in this world for the slightest good deed but in the next world they will reap the full measure of punishment they deserve. The sufferings of the righteous are also a sort of test, “afflictions of love” which develop in them patience and complete faith. The Book of Job and other biblical sources support this view. Evil initiated by man himself is considered the product of his evil inclination, the yezer ha-ra, a distinct part of man’s nature. Yet, it is within man’s power to restrain and redirect his evil inclination with the guidance of Torah and its teachings, the only proven antidote. This self-control enables man to serve God with both his good and evil inclinations, helping him to live a good life, and to grow in holiness.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How is pre- and post-mortal life explained in Jewish religious thought?
The concept of a pre-mortal life has also long since disappeared from Judaism, yet inference of life before birth can be seen in Dead Sea Scroll writings and in the discussions of Jewish sages earlier than Moses Maimonides, eight hundred years ago. It seems that since his compilation of Jewish thought and the code of laws the concept of a pre-mortal life has been rejected or at least it has disappeared from Jewish thought. “Naturally, not all Jews accepted the new role of the sages and their methods of interpreting the Torah. Had not the last of the prophets, Malachi, written: “For the priests’ lips preserve knowledge, and one should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts?”; was it not then the priests and the wealthy landowners who were entitled to interpret the Torah? And was not the Temple rather than the synagogue the true center of Jewish life? Before long there had developed a political/religious party, representing the priestly class, which opposed the sages. This party took the name Zedukim (Sadducees) probably because a priest named Zadok was selected by both David (II Samuel 8:17) and Solomon (I Kings 1:34) to control the affairs of the Temple and because Zadok’s descendants constituted the Temple hierarchy down to the second century B.C.E. The Sadducees refused to accept a precept as binding unless it was based directly on the Torah. They denied the validity of the Oral Law as developed by the Pharisees. The Sadducees also rejected the Pharisaic belief in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body (claiming that there is no basis for these beliefs in the Torah). They also disagreed with the Pharisees in regard to the question of free will. Whereas the latter group claimed that human freedom was somewhat limited by fate, the Sadducees . . .” take away fate entirely, and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say that to act what is good, or what is evil, is at man’s own choice . . .” as the ancient historian, Josephus put it.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How does the Moslem “Dome of the Chain” in Jerusalem play a role in the final judgement?
On the “Temple Mount,” close to where the “Holy of Holies” was located is what some Moslem worshippers feel is the “Site of Last Judgment.” In Islamic tradition the Dome of the Chain, with its 17-evenly spaced pillars, marks the place where in the “end of days” the last judgment will take place. The judgement will be using a chain drawn from this dome, above the “Gate Beautiful,” across the Kidron valley to the Mount of Olives, allowing passage only to the just and stopping all the sinful. A Moslem cleric explained to me that one would be judged by balancing the good and the evil deeds of life while walking on the chain to the “Mount of Judgement,” the Mount of Olives. This invokes the man-made concept of good-deeds balancing out the sins, the bad-deeds!
What foreshadowed the forgiveness of sins at the Temple and on the Mount of Olives?
An example is a special sacrifice of a goat, tied with a red ribbon, performed in the temple in similitude of the Holy One taking our sins upon Himself. That is symbolically tied to the color red. One offering at Yom Kippur was a goat escaping the temple confines through the Gate Beautiful with the sins of the people and tied with a red ribbon. It died on its own outside the temple. The Gate Beautiful is also known by the names The Gate of Mercy and The Gate of Forgiveness. “In the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, the ritual performed by the high priest was the central feature of the Day of Atonement. The high priest, representative of the people, carried out the special service known as avodah. He took two identical goats and cast lots to see which would be sacrificed and which would be sent to Azazel. After sacrificing one of them, he sprinkled its blood on the altar and then confessed the sins of the people while placing his hands on the head of the live goat.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) “How do we know that a crimson-colored strap is tied to the head of the goat that is sent [to ‘Azaz’el’]? because it is said, if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Talmud, Shabbath 86a) Another symbolic sacrifice was that of the red calf as mentioned in the scriptures. It was to be brought outside the temple and sacrificed and its ashes kept for a separate washing for a purification of sins. “This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke . . . bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her . . . and one shall burn the heifer . . . her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung . . . And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.” (Numbers 19:2-9) “. . . Red heifer – the animal whose ashes were used in the ritual purification ceremony . . . In biblical times, the heifer was first slaughtered outside the Israelite camp and then burned.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) “The Bible is very specific about the kind of cow to be used. It had to be in perfect physical condition — “a red heifer, faultless, containing no blemish and which has never been yoked.” The rabbis interpreted “faultless” to mean perfect in color also, ruling that even two non-red hairs in its hide were enough to disqualify it. Obviously, such an animal was very rare and apparently the ceremony was performed only a very few times in all of ancient Jewish history.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The most significant offering in eternity started with the “red” offering of the Sinless One on the Mount of Olives in spring of that year, just preceding the Passover. Astonished at the suffering He was experiencing as He was taking all the sins upon Himself, He cried out, “Not my will, but thine, be done.” (Matthew 26:39) He bled from every pore in his body. His clothing must have been stained red. “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.” (Isaiah 63:2-3) “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit–and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink– Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18-19) “. . . I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me; And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment . . .” (Doctrine and Covenants 133:50-51)
How do I rid myself of sins?
Water and sins do have a connection and a place in Jewish traditions: “On the afternoon of the first day (of Rosh Hashana), it is customary to walk to the nearest body of running water and there symbolically “cast” one’s sins into the water. The ceremony may be based on a verse in the biblical book of Micah: “And Thou (referring to God) shall cast all their sins into the depths of the seas” (Micah 7:19). This practice, to which there is no reference in the Talmud, is generally called Tashlikh, probably after the Hebrew word meaning “cast” (va-tashlikh) in the verse from Micah.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) During the renovation of the temple, the book of Deuteronomy, a distinctive part of the “Torah” was discovered in one of the storage chambers. “The biblical Books had previously been destroyed by Amon so that the find caused a sensation. When the Book was read to Josiah he was deeply shocked by its prophesies of doom. He immediately sent a delegation to the prophetess Hulda to ask her advice. The answer was forth right and not reassuring — Jerusalem and the Temple were doomed, but Josiah himself would not live to see their destruction. Josiah led the people to the Temple in repentance.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Before the temple was built, the entire encampment of Israel was a “city temple” (apparently it will be that way again when the Lord returns to Jerusalem): “In pre-Temple times, in the desert, the whole encampment was considered to be in a state of sanctity, and hence anyone who was tameh (unclean) was forced to go outside the marked boundaries and was forbidden to return until he had completed the purification ritual. With the destruction of the Temple, such sanctions ceased to apply. Nevertheless, the maintenance of ritual impurity has remained an essential aspect of Jewish life. Thus, because all Jews are now assumed to be ritually impure, they are even today forbidden to enter the Temple area in Jerusalem.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)