Old Testament Lesson 03 (Genesis 3–4; Moses 4–5)
January 10–16

THE SERPENT

Satan Worked Through the Serpent

● Satan tempted an actual serpent and recruited him (Genesis 3:1).
— The Serpent Spoke [v.1]. Note “he said . . . ”
— Josephus said that in the Garden of Eden . . . “All living creatures had one language . . . “1

● The serpent beguiled Eve on behalf of Satan (Moses 4:5–7; D&C 29:40; 2 Cor. 11:3).
— In the Genesis account the serpent speaks to Eve and tempts her.
— The more complete account in the book of Moses points out that Satan is the one speaking, although he does so through the serpent.

● Consider the symbolism of a “serpent”:
— The serpent is an ancient symbol of Christ (Nephites, etc).
— Moses placed a serpent on a pole, symbolizing Christ.
— Quetzecoatl: The “feathered serpent” is the Mayan and Aztec symbol for Christ’s visit

— What better disguise could Satan use than to appear as a serpent? (As if he were Christ) (Numbers 21:8–9).

Satan Is a Liar

● The Lord’s instruction to Eve was: “Neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Genesis 3:3).

● Satan uses subtle methods to get us to “just try” things or to do them “just a little bit.” God warned Eve about making such compromises.

The opening question: “Surely you can eat of every tree, can’t you?” (Genesis 1:2–5).
The lie: “You shall not surely die.” (v. 4). Suggests there will be no consequence.
The insinuation: “God doth know . . . ye shall be as gods.” Suggests that God is selfish and doesn’t want them to be God-like (v. 5).
The half-truth:“Ye shall be as the gods, knowing good and evil” (v. 6).

● Satan was a sinner from the beginning (1 John 3:8; Moses 4:1–4).

● Satan was also a liar from the beginning; he is the “father of lies (John 8:44; D&C 93:25, 37).” Elder Marion G. Romney said, “We Latter-day Saints need not be, and we must not be, deceived by the sophistries of men concerning the reality of Satan. There is a personal devil, and we had better believe it. He and a countless host of followers, seen and unseen, are exercising a controlling influence upon men and their affairs in our world today.”2

Satan Seeks to Thwart the Plan of Salvation

● Temptation is necessary to test men’s agency (D&C 29:39).

● Because he had fallen from heaven, Satan became miserable forever (2 Nephi 2:18). Therefore, he seeks also the misery of all mankind.

● Satan opposed God’s plan from the very beginning, and sought to overthrow it (Moses 4:3–4). He also sought to destroy the agency of men.

● After being cast out, Satan swore in his wrath that he and his angels would . . .
— Possess the bodies God creates for his righteous spirits.
— Reign with blood and horror on this earth.
— Bring all of God’s children under subjection to his power.

● In the Garden, Satan sought to “destroy the world” (Moses 4:5–6).

● His two-part strategy was:
Get Adam to fall. This would bring death to our bodies and separation of our spirits from God’s presence.
Get Christ to fail. This would make our redemption from the Fall impossible.

THE FALL

Eating the Fruit Was Not a “Sin”

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruits, for God had decreed that he should eat and fall. But in compliance with the decree, he should die . . . [That] he should die was the saying of the Lord; therefore, the Lord appointed us to fall and also redeemed us.”3

● Adam and Eve’s transgression was the very thing the Lord wanted them to do.
— In giving Adam and Eve the two commandments, the Lord placed them in a position to choose between a higher law and a lesser law.
— Adam and Eve were responsible for the consequences of their choices. They could not blame the Lord for the outcome. He had not, in any way, violated their agency. He let them choose.

Then Why Was God Displeased?

● God was definitely not pleased (Moses 4:15–19).

God was displeased with the way they made their choice. Eve was tempted by the serpent, and after hearing the benefits of the Fall, she chose to eat of the fruit (Genesis 3:1–6; Moses 4:5-12). Thus, she hearkened to Satan.

Eve made a choice—and actually, the right choice. But she made her choice in the wrong way. Elder James E. Talmage said, “I take this occasion to raise my voice against the false interpretation of scripture, which has been adopted by certain people, and is current in their minds, and is referred to in a hushed and half-secret way, that the Fall of man consisted in some offense against the laws of chastity and of virtue. Such a doctrine is an abomination . . . the human race is not born of fornication. These bodies that are given unto us are given in the way that God has provided . . . Our first parents were pure and noble, and when we pass behind the veil we shall perhaps learn something of their high estate.”4

Why Eve partook of the fruit (Genesis 3:6). The accounts in both Moses and Genesis state only that Satan approached Eve, but latter-day revelation records that he first approached Adam and was refused. Eve, however, was deceived by Satan and partook. Knowing that she would be driven out and separated from him, Adam then partook.

President Brigham Young said, “We should never blame Mother Eve,” because through her transgression, and Adam’s joining her in it, mankind was enabled to come to know good from evil.”5

● The problem with their method was this:
— She did not discuss the matter with Adam. She made her own choice.
— In doing so, she restricted Adam’s agency.
— He would now be separated from Eve, making posterity impossible.
— He chose to eat the fruit “that man may be.”

● And what about Adam?
— He did not discuss the matter with Eve. He made his own choice.
— He said simply: “I will not eat of it.” Was this what God wanted?
— Had his choice remained, none of us would be here.

● The Marriage Partnership
— God intended them to stay together.
— God intended them to be equal partners (meets).
— God intended them to counsel together.
— God intended them to care for each other.

● Adam and Eve were also accountable to God, but they did not counsel with Him concerning the matter. They simply made their choice.

The Consequences of Their Choices

● Attempts to excuse themselves (Genesis 3:7–15). It is interesting to note how each of the persons in the garden excused their behavior. These three excuses are the three most common among God’s children to this day:

— Adam: Eve made me do it. (It is somebody else’s fault.)
— Eve: The devil made me do it. (I couldn’t help it.)
— Satan: Everybody else does it. (collective rationalization.)

Consequences for the serpent (Genesis 3:14–15). “Upon thy belly shalt thou go.” The question arises from this: “Did the serpent have legs in the garden?” As Josiah Quincy and Charles Francis Adams visited Nauvoo in May of 1844, they were shown the mummies and scrolls which Oliver Cowdery described in the above letter. When Quincy questioned that the reptiles originally had legs, the Prophet rejoined: “Before the Fall snakes always went about on legs, just like chickens. They were deprived of them, in punishment for their agency in the ruin of man.”6

The statement concerning the bruising of the heel and crushing of the head means that while Satan (as the serpent) will bruise the heel of the Savior by leading men to crucify him and seemingly destroy him, in actuality that very act of atonement will give Christ the power to overcome Satan and undo the effects of the Fall. Thus, the seed of the woman (Christ) shall crush the head of the serpent (Satan and his kingdom) with the very heel that was bruised (the atoning sacrifice).

Consequences for Eve (Genesis 3:16).
— God would multiply her sorrow and
— God would multiply her conception.
— Her husband will rule [preside] over her.
— Why was this appropriate under the circumstances?

Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Lybbert Renlund explained that a righteous husband “will seek to minister; he will acknowledge error and seek forgiveness; he will be quick to offer praise; he will be considerate of family members’ preferences; he will feel the great weight of responsibility to provide ‘the necessities of life and protection’ for his family; he will treat his wife with the utmost respect and deference. . . . He will bless his family.”7

Consequences for Adam (Genesis 3:17–19).
— The ground would be cursed “for thy sake.”
— Opposition would arise in everything.
— He would now be subject to physical death.

Physical and Spiritual Death

“In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Abraham 5:13).
— Time in the Garden of Eden was according to the time of Kolob (Moses 4:25).
— After Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, they did not die physically within a 24 hours.
— Adam did, however, die within the period of one Kolob day (1,000 earth years).
— Adam died 930 years after the Fall (Moses 6:12).

● Because that Adam fell, we exist; and by his fall came death (Moses 6:48).

● The Fall brought spiritual death as well as temporal death (Alma 42:9).

● The “coats of skins” made from the hides of animals suggest that death was now upon the earth (Genesis 3:21).

Adam and Eve Are Driven from the Garden

Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22–24). Cherubim and the Flaming Sword barred them from eating the fruit of the tree of life.

Eventually, Adam and Eve dwelt in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Heber C. Kimball said, “While (at Adam-Ondi-Ahman) we laid out a city on a high elevated piece of land, and set the stakes for the four corners of a temple block, which was dedicated . . . The Prophet Joseph called upon Brother Brigham, myself and others, saying, “Brethren, come, go along with me, and I will show you something.” He led us a short distance to a place where were the ruins of three altars built of stone, one above the other, and one standing a little back of the other, like unto the pulpits in the Kirtland Temple, representing the order of three grades of priesthood; “There,” said Joseph, “is the place where Adam offered up sacrifice after he was cast out of the garden.” The altar stood at the highest point of the bluff.”8

Their lives on earth became a time of probation and testing (2 Nephi 2:19–21).

THE BLESSINGS OF THE FALL AND THE ATONEMENT

● The Atonement was explained to Adam (Moses 5:6–9).
● Adam rejoiced in the blessings following his transgression (Moses 5:10–11).
● Eve also rejoiced (Moses 5:11).
● Adam and Eve taught these things to their children, but Satan also began to influence their children and sought to persuade them to reject the gospel (Moses 5:12–15).

THE TEACHINGS OF ENOCH CONCERNING THE FALL

● Enoch’s teachings concerning the Fall of Adam & Eve (Moses 6:48).

● The influence of Satan (Moses 6:49).

● The first principles and ordinances of the gospel (Moses 6:52).

The names of God and Christ—Ahman, and Son of Ahman (Moses 6:57). Orson Pratt said, “There is one revelation that this people are not generally acquainted with [D&C 95:17]. I think it has never been published, but probably it will be in the Church History. It is given in questions and answers. The first question is, ‘What is the name of God in the pure language?’ The answer says, ‘Ahman.’ ‘What is the name of the Son of God?’ Answer, ‘son Ahman—the greatest of all the parts of God excepting Ahman.'”9

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Therefore his name is connected with the name of [Adam-ondi-Ahman] the place where Adam dwelt . . . Elder Orson Pratt gives it the interpretation of ‘The Valley of God.'”10

● We are commanded to teach our children (Moses 6:58).

● We live in a world full of symbols concerning the Lord’s plan (Moses 6:63).

● Enoch described what Adam learned about: (Moses 6:59–62)
— The Atonement.
— The Gift of the Holy Ghost.
— The Plan of Salvation.

● Enoch also described how Adam was baptized (Moses 6:64–66).

Notes:

1.  Antiquities, Book I, 1:4.
2.  In Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 25.
3.  Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, 63; spelling, capitalization, and punctuation standardized.
4.  Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 30.
5. Discourses of President Brigham Young, sel. Elder John A. Widtsoe [1941], 103.
6.  Hyrum L. Andrus, God, Man, and the Universe, 372.
7.  The Melchizedek Priesthood: Understanding the Doctrine, Living the Principles (2018), 23.
8.  In Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [1945], 209.
9.  In Journal of Discourses, 2:342.
10. Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [1946–1949], 1:310.

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