Friday, January 16, 2009

Judas, Satan, Eve, and "Transgressions"

First, a caveat: This entry is bound to offend somebody. I suppose most things are bound to offend somebody, but this one particularly harbors some potential and probable offense. If you find it, know I'm not out to blaspheme. These are genuine thoughts from a genuine person. This has crossed my mind more than once, and I thought I'd dare post them to see if I'm completely off my rocker or not. My husband assures me the Church has already addressed these issues but he isn't sure how. I'm very interested and ask that you please be respectful in your feedback. Thanks.


From an Ensign article regarding the Fall of Adam:


Truths restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith bring Adam and Eve out of obscurity and into marvelous light, revealing they were noble and great forebears who “fell that men might be” (2 Ne. 2:25)....

Our Father in Heaven knew Adam and Eve would fall. In fact, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that Adam “was made to open the way of the world” (Teachings, 12). Lehi tells us, “Adam fell that man might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25). Modern scripture makes it clear that it was the will of the Father, as part of his plan, that Adam and Eve transgress and thus be moved out of Eden. Satan thus unwittingly furthered the plan, “for he knew not the mind of God” (Moses 4:6).


- Arthur A. Bailey, What Modern Revelation Teaches about Adam, January 1998 Ensign.

Again, perhaps my logic is flawed. If you see it, let me know. These are merely thoughts, not statements of fact.

But here we go: God knew Eve would succumb to the serpent's words and temptation. He knew Adam, obedient, wonderful Adam, would follow his wife as commanded (think temple).

Adam and Eve had to partake of the fruit. They had to disobey God's explicit command to leave the stupid fruit alone, 'else we would have no reason to exist today.

Hell, according to doctrine we would not exist today without Eve.

We love Eve. We love women.

/sarcasm.

But this is doctrine. Agreed? Everyone happy? Okay.

Judas.

We equate Judas with betrayal. He sold our Savior to Caiaphas and Pilate, to those who hated him and demanded His crucifixion, the very crucifixion which led to his death?

Would it be fair to suggest that without Judas we wouldn't have the Atonement?

I understand we believe the actual atoning of sins to have taken place in the Garden of Gethsemane, prior to the betrayal of Judas. Without Christ's death, however, the Atonement would be in vain. It is in the Atonement, we teach, that Christ took on all our sins, all of them. He had to die with those sins on his shoulders and overcome death so that we may, too.

Correct?

Some may contend God could have had a plan for Christ to die without Judas' help. This may be true - God's omnipotence would demand it; however, the same could be said for Adam and Eve.

Correct?

We make the distinction that Eve committed not a sin, but a mere transgression in doing what she had to do, what God wanted her to do.

Could the same be said of Judas?

Satan

If you've been to the temple, think back. While I'm told most things are ok-ay to relate outside the temple, I want to be careful here for various reasons.

But perhaps I can circumvent that through simple explanation.

We're taught, as has been explained before, that God knew of the inevitable "Fall of Adam" (apparently his fall is the only one that matters? ugh, who cares). In order for Adam to fall, a few things had to be available:

1) The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
2) The Tree of (Eternal) Life
3) The very innocent and pure Adam and Eve
4) A Tempter: Satan/Serpent

Each are equally important in what we learn to be God's purpose for us: "To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of Man." (Moses 1:39)

Without the tree, there could be no possibility, according to the Gospel, that God's children would ever know good versus evil. This is vital to free agency.

The Tree of Eternal Life is a bit different in that Adam and Eve were not forbidden to partake of that fruit. Nothing stopped them from going there and remaining in their perfect, innocent state. It would be of interest to discuss this, but for today's purposes let's just remember that God placed Cherubim to guard it after Adam and Eve ate the fruit so they would not partake of this particular tree and remain forever in their sins.

I think the importance of Adam and Eve are fairly well understood for this purpose today.

The tempter.

Now there's something interesting. My husband tells me there are some who believe that, in the end, Satan will basically receive forgiveness and attain his own bit of glory. Remember the temple here and how Satan responds to God's inquiries of what he's doing around Adam and Eve.

Oh hell I'll just write it. My stepFIL is a temple worker and says it's fine to talk about pretty much everything - pretty much. I'm just in no hurry to get called in.

Remember how Satan/Lucifer responds that he's doing only what has been done in other worlds? Interestingly enough everything but this part is mentioned almost word for word in the Book of Moses. Hm.

I never understood why this time was different. It always seemed to me that God needed Satan's part in order to "bring to pass" his purposes for us, so that we could one day become like him. What good is it to know only the good? Where is the choice when you don't know the good for the evil?

Where is the choice indeed.

Was Satan rebuked in like manner during the other times? It's like telling your kid something needs to be done, and when he does it, sending him to his room. "I know it was important and a righteous means to an end, but dammit! You shouldn't have done it!"

Is that it? Did God have a different plan, or was he just waiting for Lucifer to inadvertently help him out?

So if Eve is to be revered for her actions in disobeying God - being the first to do so - why don't we then also revere Judas and even recognize Satan's part in all of this?

Would Eve have partaken of the fruit without Satan telling her all the cool stuff that would happen if she did?

Was there a different way for Christ to be crucified or was Judas an essential part of that plan, too?

Before anyone says "we're not to know all the mysteries of God" let me say I know. But I think this deserves some attention. It's been on my mind for some years, and I hardly think I'm so original as to be the first to think of such things.

Please, discuss.

13 comments:

Chedner said...

I'm going out on a limb here to say that the difference is in the attitude of the offender.

That is, Eve's intentions were to further God's plan. Satan's intentions are ultimately to frustrate God's plan as much as possible. Judas's intentions... money? Do the scriptures say?

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Eve's intentions were to further God's plan."

I disagree with this. I think Eve was only thinking of the fruit and that she wanted it. I think she got lucky that what she did was just a part of God's plan in the first place. So I think that both Eve and Judas were only thinking about themselves. Eve wanted to satisfy her taste buds and Judas wanted to make some dough.

Chedner said...

I was going with the "Eve knew what she was doing" Mormon stance I've heard so often in seminary and institute classes.

Still, along the same concept, one could perhaps say that Eve had a repentant heart and went on serving God and doing good after having transgressed.

Of course, I don't know what Judas's post-betrayal life was like.

Katie said...

1) Satan was Satan (ie, fallen) before he even attempted to thwart God's plans on earth. He had already rebelled against God's plan and led away 1/3 of the host of heaven with him. His heart was clearly one of trying to actively rebel and thwart, rather than to just want the kids to have the fruit. We know from the Doctrine and Covenants, PoGP, and temple that Adam at least was valiant before this life. We can assume, then, that Eve was too.

2) "in other worlds" - We simply don't know enough about how things are done in other worlds. Can't say whether or not a Satan-type figure gives the fruit to the first man and woman. Can't say whether it is God instead who does it, or if they just choose to take it on their own. Not enough info in what Satan says to determine that.

3) My understanding is that part of the reason it was a transgression is that Adam and Eve simply could not physically keep both commandments (not eat of the Tree of Knowledge and multiply and replenish the earth). I don't know that you can say the same for Satan. We don't know for sure that Adam and Eve wouldn't have partaken of the fruit anyway. We do know that there is no way that they could have procreated without falling (partaking of the fruit).

4) Regardless of whether or not Satan repents of his actions on the earth, he did not get a body and therefore really would never be able to join those who do in the 3 kingdoms. I guess its possible that he would get another degree of glory, although I personally have never heard that. I'd be curious to read it if it has been revealed.

5) We don't know enough about Judas to know where he is going, what he is doing, etc. Again, his betraying Jesus was not a question of his obeying two conflicting commandments. It was still murder and not a transgression.

Katie said...

Oh, and

6) I've heard conflicting things from church sources as to the "what Eve knew" question. I would love to see a reference that clearly states one way or the other and is LDS church-sanctioned.

Matt said...

Chedner, Judas' post-betrayal life was pretty much just suicide shortly after the resurrection. (I've heard that Judas' intentions may have actually been to provoke Jesus into providing a sign rather than to betray him. I sure don't know.)

I'm not sure how necessary a Judas figure was in the crucifixion. Having Jesus followed after he left the market could have worked just as well to have him arrested away from the public eye. If Judas hadn't been around, something else would have happened.

Likewise, I've always taken that other worlds business to mean that other stand-ins for Adam and Eve had ended up taking the fruit, maybe by recognizing the contradiction, but that in this case Satan chose to hurry things along to get an outcome more favorable to him, and in so doing got caught. I'm not sure his involvement was necessary.

Lisa said...

It's interesting. Adam just plain didn't want to disobey God no matter what, and Eve gave into the temptations of the devil. She wanted to know good from evil and all that.

I don't think she was all about furthering God's plan. I think the serpent made sense and she went for it.

And I'm not certain Eve had so much of a repentant heart. She might've been sad she got exiled - wouldn't we all be? But if she did what she knew was right, then why be repentant? Would we require a penitent heart from her for this? Now they got to do all the cool stuff and work toward getting back into God's presence with the potential of eventually becoming like God.

Katie: I still don't get why they couldn't have kids before they partook of that tree. Is sex so uncomprehensible to the innocent?

I get that my (young) kids have no clue, but it's not like HF gave Adam and Eve the birds and the bees talk. Perhaps it had something to do with their physical maturity and instinct? I don't know. If so, it's a good thing he married them first. Aww, our first arranged marriage ;)

Satan was fallen beforehand, but his hand was still necessary. God knew he'd come and inadvertently help things out. All of it - good and bad - was part of the plan. That's how I understand it.

(and i hate how i sound like i'm gunning for Satan here. That's not it at all)

Matt: I suppose Christ would've been crucified no matter what, but for some reason God had it so that Judas would do it.

I suppose we then have to delve into the "omnipotent" verses...non "omnipotent" question. That's a hairy one.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.

Katie said...

My understanding isn't that they could not have sex - I personally think Adam and Eve could and did have sex in the graden, since they were married and all, and sex isn't evil in any way - I just think they couldn't procreate. We're told somewhere in D&C that the spiritual body is one of flesh and bone, and the mortal body is one of blood. Adam and Eve in the graden did not have "human bodies" in that sense. Since you need blood to make human bodies (ie, procreate), they couldn't have that until they had fallen (ie, left the graden).

I wish I had the citations for these things, but I have heard it often and enough that I am pretty sure it is the church's teaching on this issue. Not necessarily that they could have sex, but that they couldn't have kids b/c their bodies were physically ill-equiped for it.

Katie said...

Oh, and thanks for following my blog by the way. Your blog has made me think so much that I need another outlet (other than your comments section) for all my thoughts!!!

Lisa said...

Katie: Interesting. I'd never thought about it that way before, thank you.

And it's no problem :) I was checking out my stat page and found some people came from a new place - I'm glad you have an outlet now, too!

Matthew Andreasen said...

I agree that Adam and Eve's bodies in the Garden did not have the ability to procreate. I heard long ago (but have no quotes) that our mortal bodies have the ability to precreate mortal children, and that God's resurrected, exalted, celestial body can procreate spirit children.

Those who do not attain the highest heaven in the celestial kingdom cannot procreate, neither can they of lower kingdoms. As the scripture says, there are bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial. The ability to procreate would be one of the differences between these different type of bodies. (Can you imagine the population explosion in the telestial kingdom with all the adulterers running rampant? :o)

It could even be argued that resurrected, exalted, celestial beings can sire mortal (well at least an only begotten one), or that they can create spiritual bodies (physical, immortal bodies that are not perfected as are resurrected bodies).

In summary, I don't think Adam and Eve's bodies were able to produce offspring while in the Garden.

Lehi seems to say that since there was no death in Eden, there could be no life, and all things would have remained in the state in which they were created forever (2 Nephi 2:22-23). Also Adam fell that men might be (2 Nephi 2:25). I take that to mean that the fall made it possible for men (Adam and Eve's descendents) to exist.

Eve also acknowledges after the fall that they could not have had seed until after their transgression (Moses 5:11).

Matthew Andreasen said...

One of the major differences between Judas, Satan, and Eve, IMO is that Eve was unaccountable at the time of her transgression, while the other two were not. I don't think she would need to repent for partaking of the fruit. Same goes for Adam.

"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression." (Article of Faith 2) I think that this applies to Adam as well. He will be punished for his own sins, but not for his transgression. He was not accountable at the time, therefore, the atonement covers him as it does all others who are without knowledge and, therefore, unaccountable.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Is this an "official" policy, or is it just a temple matron's personal opinion? We haven't heard about this."

I first heard it from some RS sisters, who no doubt had heard it from someone else. One sister (who is married to an Area Authority) was skeptical and she had her husband (who was also skeptical) check it out and he confirmed that President Hinckley had OK'ed it. Apparently he wanted the sisters to be more comfortable and so it was now a "personal decision." It's strange, though, that not everyone is aware. I thought for sure that you Americans would have gotten the news first. :)

The temple matron did give us her personal opinion, though, in that she thought that garments should never touch the floor. She said that lightning wouldn't strike us if we let it happen, but that we should try to avoid it.