2 Nephi 2:23 states

And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

Often, it is said that Adam and Eve could not of had children, based on this verse. But the verse says would, not could.

Are there any other verses or latter day saint doctrine explaining whether or not they could have children?

3 Answers 3


In Doctrines of Salvation, 1:108, Joseph Fielding Smith stated:

Things were not changing as we find them changing in this mortal existence, for mortality had not come. Today we are living in a world of change because we are living under a very different condition from those which prevailed in the beginning and before the Fall of man.

Sometimes we focus too much on a single word, such as would vs. could. I presume what you're asking is, was there anything physiologically stopping Adam and Eve from conceiving children?

Taking Pres. Smith at his word, the answer is "yes." The time of the Garden of Eden was static. Nothing grew, nothing died, nothing changed. The moment you allow (e.g.) a child to be born you have something changing and that change must somehow stop when they become, what, 20 years old? 30 years old? But, worse than that, you need to start dealing with the concept of (e.g.) dead skin flaking away from a growing child's body. (Not to mention the changes to a woman's body when conception occurs, or the change of conception itself.)

Except nothing changed.

Therefore, no, Adam and Eve could not have physiologically conceived children in the Garden. The physiological change that occured to them as a consequence of the Fall was necessary for conception.

  • 3
    So God was just joking with them when he told them to make babies a fill up the earth?
    – Kris
    Oct 17, 2018 at 20:48
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    Hello @Kris. That's an interesting question. Even if A&E could physiologically conceive children in the garden - they were innocent and had neither the knowledge to do it nor the inclination until after they ate the fruit and gained knowledge. What's the practical difference? From an LDS perspective there isn't an issue. Our Father knew His own plan and and knew A&E had all the time in the world to fulfill His open-ended command. Indeed, we believe that once A&E gained knowledge and realized the hows and whys, they knew they had to complete the Fall to fulfill the commandment.
    – JBH
    Oct 17, 2018 at 20:59
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    Interesting I find the idea that God intended them to fall out of harmony with the Bible and the referenced quotation did not spell that out . Is there a more direct statement from a LDS source?
    – Kris
    Oct 17, 2018 at 21:06
  • @Kris, 1 Cor 15:22, the Atonment would have been unecessary had the Fall be avoidable; 2 Ne 2:25, Adam fell that men might be; Moses 6:48, Because that Adam fell, we are; and from the Church's website: "The Fall is an integral part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation (see 2 Nephi 2:15–16; 9:6)..."
    – JBH
    Oct 17, 2018 at 22:11

For what it's worth, the September 1973 New Era magazine (not canon) suggests that it was a mental not physical obstacle:

The scriptures do not say Adam and Eve could not have children; they say Adam and Eve would not have had children if they had remained in a state of innocence, not knowing good from evil.

This scripture seems to indicate that Adam and Eve were physically capable of having children in the Garden of Eden (thus they could have had children), but so long as they remained in their state of innocence, they never would have had children.

But we're focused on only one consequence of the Fall.

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.

Moses 5:10-11

You ask: Could Adam and Even have seed without the Fall?

But there's other parts there too. Could Adam and Even know good and evil without the Fall?

And is that "mentally" could, or "physically" could, or something else? At the end of the day, it seems a distinction almost too hard to draw.

What we know is that the Fall was necessary for Adam and Even to have progeny. And for them to know good and evil. And for them to receive eternal life. The exact causal mechanism of the non-reproduction is unknown.


Interestingly, Genesis 4: 1 says":

"Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” "

The verse does not say that Cain was the first-born child of Eve. We see in other places in Bible, a special mention of the first-born , as in 2 Samuel 3:2:

"Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess"

So, there is a fair chance that Adam and Eve had already had daughters before they committed sin and were thrown out of Eden.

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