The Immediate Result of the Fall was the substitution of mortality, with all its attendant frailties, for the vigor of the primeval deathless state. Adam felt directly the effects of transgression in finding a barren and dreary earth, with a relatively sterile soil, instead of the beauty and fruitfulness of Eden. In place of pleasing and useful plants, thorns and thistles sprang up; and the man had to labor arduously, under the conditions of physical fatigue and suffering, to cultivate the soil that he might obtain necessary food. Upon Eve fell the penalty of bodily infirmity; pains and sorrows, which since have been regarded as the natural lot of womankind, came upon her, and she was made subject to her husband’s authority. Having lost their sense of former innocence they became ashamed of their nakedness, and the Lord made for them garments of skins. Upon both the man and the woman was visited the penalty of spiritual death; for in that very day they were banished from Eden and cast out from the presence of the Lord. The serpent, having served the purposes of Satan, was made a subject of divine displeasure, being doomed to crawl forever in the dust, and to suffer from the enmity which it was decreed should be placed in the hearts of Eve’s children.
Atonement Provided for-God did not leave His now mortal children without hope. He gave other commandments to Adam, requiring him to offer sacrifices in the name of the Only Begotten Son, and promising redemption unto him and all his descendants who would comply with the conditions prescribed. The opportunity of winning the victor’s reward by overcoming evil was explained to our parents, and they rejoiced. Adam said: “Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.” Eve was glad and declared: “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”
The Fall came not by Chance-It would be unreasonable to suppose that the transgression of Eve and Adam came as a surprise to the Creator. By His infinite foreknowledge, God knew what would be the result of Satan’s temptation to Eve, and what Adam would do under the resulting conditions. Further, it is evident that the fall was foreseen to be a means whereby man could be brought into direct experience with both good and evil, so that of his own agency he might elect the one or the other, and thus be prepared by the experiences of a mortal probation for the exaltation provided in the beneficent plan of his creation: “For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” spake the Lord unto Moses. It was the purpose of God to place within the reach of the spirits begotten by Him in the heavens the means of individual effort, and the opportunity of winning not merely redemption from death but also salvation and even exaltation, with the powers of eternal progression and increase. Hence it was necessary that the spiritual offspring of God should leave the scenes of their primeval childhood and enter the school of mortal experience, meeting, contending with, and overcoming evil, according to their several degrees of faith and strength. Adam and Eve could never have been the parents of a mortal posterity had they not themselves become mortal; mortality was an essential element in the divine plan respecting the earth and its appointed inhabitants; and, as a means of introducing mortality, the Lord placed before the progenitors of the race a law, knowing what would follow.
Eve was fulfilling the foreseen purposes of God by the part she took in the great drama of the fall; yet she did not partake of the forbidden fruit with that object in view, but with intent to act contrary to the divine command, being deceived by the sophistries of Satan, who also, for that matter, furthered the purposes of the Creator by tempting Eve; yet his design was to thwart the Lord’s plan. We are definitely told that “he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world.” Yet his diabolical effort, far from being the initiatory step toward destruction, contributed to the plan of man’s eternal progression. Adam’s part in the great event was essentially different from that of his wife; he was not deceived; on the contrary he deliberately decided to do as Eve desired, that he might carry out the purposes of his Maker with respect to the race of men, whose first patriarch he was ordained to be.
Even the transgressions of men may be turned to the accomplishment of high purposes. The sacrificial death of Christ was ordained from before the foundation of the world, yet Judas who betrayed, and the Jews who brought about the crucifixion of the Son of God, are none the less guilty of the awful crime.
It has become a common practise with mankind to heap reproaches upon the progenitors of the family, and to picture the supposedly blessed state in which we would be living but for the fall; whereas our first parents are entitled to our deepest gratitude for their legacy to posterity-the means of winning title to glory, exaltation, and eternal lives. But for the opportunity thus given, the spirits of God’s offspring would have remained forever in a state of innocent childhood, sinless through no effort of their own; negatively saved, not from sin, but from the opportunity of meeting sin; incapable of winning the honors of victory because prevented from taking part in the conflict. As it is, they are heirs to the birthright of Adam’s descendants-mortality, with its immeasurable possibilities and its God-given freedom of action. From Father Adam we have inherited all the ills to which flesh is heir; but such are necessarily incident to a knowledge of good and evil, by the proper use of which knowledge man may become even as the Gods.