It was pointed out in this answer and this answer that in the book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:22-23 it states

  1. And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

  2. 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.

Is there any biblical basis for the book of Mormon to state that everything in the Garden of Eden was to remain unchanged and therefore Adam and Eve would not have had children without falling from God's grace?

This seems to contradict God's first instruction to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 when He said

Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. (NIV)


3 Answers 3


The Bible doesn't have a direct reference to this, but this is part of the reason the Church of Jesus Christ believes in the need for multiple scriptures. One can see that in Genesis Adam and Eve were only kicked out of the Garden of Eden and only started having children after partaking of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil.

Chapter 3

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

22 ¶ And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

Chapter 4

1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

The reason the first two commandments contradicted was that God was setting the stage to show all of us that mankind has Agency, which is integral to the Plan of Salvation.

Moses 3:17 clarifies the commandment to not eat of the tree of knowledge.

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.


In answer to 'biblical basis' and God's first instruction to Adam :

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [Genesis 2:9 KJV]

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [Genesis 2:16 KJV]

In the Garden of Eden, God warned Adam of something that existed - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. [Genesis 2:17 KJV]

That tree is not stated to be in the Garden. The other trees are stated to be in the garden. They were part of God's provision for humanity. Branching subjects of knowledge. Areas of knowledge that can be pursued with regard to humanity's needs and necessities. Agriculture, food production, food preparation, medication, provision of clothing, parenting, general welfare and so on.

Branches of knowledge, essential to humanity and to human society within the environment of creation. All of it - God given and God blessed.

But the other tree, God warned of. He had not created it. But in creating intelligent life, as such, that thing sprang into existence. And God faithfully warned of its existence and warned of its consequence, if partaken as a means of life.

Know of it, yes. Be aware of it, certainly. But do not partake of it as a means of life - it will kill you.

He did not create it. But it is a consequence of the creation of intelligent life.

And the Serpent made himself known. And the serpent tempted the woman and confused her and mesmerised her. And the woman tempted the man.

And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [Genesis 3:1 KJV]

And Adam transgressed.

The creature is weak. Flesh is weak.

But God is a Saviour. And before it all, as the scriptures make clear in many places, God's foreknowledge and God's determination (unanimously, within the counsels of deity) prepared for the inevitable.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. [I Peter 1:2 KJV]

Redemption and restoration were never in doubt.

For even the very activities of Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders were in accord, unwittingly, with ...

... whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. [Acts 4:28]

Therefore, there is no contradiction.

It is the will of God that humanity should propagate. But God's ultimate purpose has always been - and is now fully revealed to be - a new creation. New heavens and a new earth.

And the dwellers of the new earth, under new heavens, are those who are born again. Born - at first - in Adam, the man of sin and death, but born again of water and of spirit, as John records.

This ever was God's purpose, before the foundation of the (present) world. That the first humanity fell at the first opportunity and proved itself to be not fit for purpose, was ever seen, ever known and ever provided for in the wisdom and understanding of the Almighty.

No contradiction exists.

And no material outside of the genuine holy scripture is required.

  • 1
    While I find this answer fascinating and with an interesting perspective I don't know if I've seen/heard any LDS teachings that corroborate this. Do you have any references? (I did give you +1, I want to look into any references though)
    – depperm
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 12:26
  • @depperm You will notice that I have quoted from holy scripture throughout my answer - from Genesis, I Peter and from Acts.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 13:00
  • yes but I was wondering if you have any references from LDS manuals, general conference talks, or similar that support your answer
    – depperm
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 13:03
  • You don't need to include them in the answer, this is just for my own curiousity
    – depperm
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 13:09
  • @depperm I do not possess any such literature.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 13:15

This seems to contradict God's first instruction to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28

Correct. Note that there are two types of human, the general found in Gen 1:27 and the specific in Gen 2:7. This is implied in Cain's fear of being killed by other humans and his wife Gen 4:14,17. So Gen 1:28 applies to the general humans, and indirectly to Adam.

Regarding the Mormon passage, there is a shift in thought from verse 22 to 23, which creates the problem. The state used in 22 is correct when it refers to the state of innocence, but not in 23 when referring to the state of physical condition. It confuses the spiritual state with the physical. Humans were expected to develop and progress intellectually while remaining in the state of righteousness before God. Trees, plants, and animals were to grow and flourish throughout the Earth.

The assumption that somehow children are the product of evil is stated as a blessing in Gen 1:28. Thus, God clearly expected lots of humans who could not think anything good or bad. Furthermore, Eve was created before the fall with the intent that 'therefore shall a man leave his father and mother' (Gen 2:24) which clearly anticipates children prior to the fall.

So we (you and I) can agree with verse 22, but not verse 23, even though 23 throws in the word innocence.

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