One significant difference between Mormonism and traditional Christianity is the meaning of humanity’s original sin. What was the nature and result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. And why does that matter?
[Related Topic: Why Is There Evil?]
- The Mormon idea of Eden. In LDS teaching, Eden was a beautiful paradise. But humanity’s experience was not complete there. In their original condition they could not progress to their full potential.
- The Mormon view of Eve’s disobedience. God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree (Genesis 2:16-17). Yet he also set up conditions that required Adam and Eve to eat the fruit. Previously, God had commanded them to have children (Genesis 1:28). The fruit represented the ability to produce offspring – which is necessary for eternal exaltation. So, according to Mormonism, Adam and Eve could not fulfill Genesis 1 without taking the fruit in Genesis 2. In other words, Eve had to disobey one command in order to obey another.
- How the Bible views Eve’s act. Simply put, God told Eve not to eat the fruit, so it was not part of God’s plan. He wanted relationship with Adam and Eve. Instead, they introduced sin into God’s perfect world (Romans 5:12). Adam and Eve were banished from God’s presence (Genesis 3;23-24).
[Related Topic: Ten Sinful Responses to Sin]
- Adam and Eve’s transgression was a catastrophe for humanity. Adam’s action affects us all. We are all born into a defiled world (Genesis 3:17). It severed our relationship with God (Romans 5:18). It caused the brokenness we experience everywhere in the world: violence, hostility, addiction, even death (Rom 5:12).
- God responded with grace. God did not abandon humanity. He still loved us. So he set into motion a redemptive plan. He announced to Adam and Eve that a Savior would come through Eve’s lineage (Genesis 3:15). Our broken relationship with God can be mended because Jesus Christ went to the cross and bore our sin. Ever since Adam and Eve’s fall, God has been inviting human beings to be reconciled to him.
[Related Topic: Are Humans Born Evil or Good?]
As you reorient how you think about the Bible and doctrine, remember that the fall of humanity was catastrophic. Until we understand the seriousness of humanity’s sin and the desperateness of our condition, it’s hard to grasp the magnitude and scope of what God has done for us.
[Related Topic: Don’t Misunderstand God’s Grace]