According to the LDS Doctrine of Exaltation that is asked about in other questions (such as this one), a human can eventually become a God.

What is the Mormon teaching about the events described in the Bible about the garden of Eden in which the "snake" is described as having told Eve that she will become "like God"?

Some religions state that a spirit being (Satan) was using the snake as a mouthpiece (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses in this article).

With this question I wanted to know what the LDS church stand is on the passage.

  1. Are the events in Eden merely fiction or a description of something that actually happened?
  2. If the events are a description of something that happened, was the snake telling Eve the truth, or was he lying?
  3. Was the statement made by the snake a reference to the same exaltation what Mormons describe in the Doctrine of Exaltation?
  4. Is the "snake" (or the spirit being that used the snake as a mouthpiece) considered a good or a bad character?
  5. If what the snake (or the spirit being that used the snake as a mouthpiece) said provided something beneficial for Adam and Eve then (seeing as it went against what God had told them) why did God tell them not to eat from the tree?
  • +1 great question. We believe that this is literal and symbolic. Adam and Eve are literal. Many other parts of the events in Eden are symbolic, but there is no official statement that I am aware of that lets us know what. I personally believe (hence why this isn't an answer) the snake is symbolic. The casting out is symbolic, but being cut off from God is literal. I could give you personal opinions, but those aren't fitting for this site.
    – staples
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


Let me see if I can answer those questions:

1) As stated by "staples", we believe the story to be both literal and symbolic, though some Mormons tend to a little all over the place as to how much is literal and how much is symbolic.

2) The "snake" was lying by telling a half-truth. Yes, Adam and Eve would become "like God" in the sense that they would know good from evil (something they didn't have), but it wouldn't .

3) Perhaps the "snake" was referring to exaltation, but the fruit never had that capability. It would simply cause them to lose their innocence (thus covering their nakedness) and allow them to know good from evil.

4) We do see the "snake" as a bad character, but don't transfer that to all snakes, just that "snake" character.

5) This is actually a little bit more complicated. You see, the purpose of the creation of the earth was to provide God's children an opportunity to learn and grow. In order for their growth to matter, there had to be a Fall and that Fall had to be at the decision of a mortal. Without the fall, Adam and Eve would have remained in innocence and never would have children (preventing the rest of humanity to come to Earth). The Fall is what makes the Atonement so vital.

While this may seem like God set up humanity to Fall, but at the same time, God cannot infringe upon the agency of mankind. By telling Adam and Eve to not eat the fruit and also to multiply (have kids), they're actually contradictory commandments that can only be resolved by a mortal's decision to break them.

For what it's worth, Mormonism is unique in the idea that we don't consider Adam's Transgression as this horrible moment, but a necessary step for the progression of all of God's children. (In fact, we regard Adam quite highly!)

For more information, I recommend this page from FairMormon.org, just in case my answer is inadequate (which it may be).

  • On the subject of their contradictory commadments, christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/30144/… Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 4:13
  • RE: #5 The command to "be fruitful and fill the earth" came to Adam and Eve before the Fall. How, then, can it be said that they would not have had children without the Fall? Is innocence lacking in the marriage bed? Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 11:36

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