This Wikipedia entry states:

In Mormonism, the concept of divinity centers around an idea of "exaltation" and "eternal progression": mortals themselves may become gods and goddesses in the afterlife, be rulers of their own heavenly kingdoms, have spirit children, and increase in power and glory forever.

The book of Genesis describes a temptation that came to Adam from the Serpent, by way of Eve. A forbidden fruit was eaten but the fruit was merely the vehicle for the temptation to "be like God". The temptation was to believe God was holding out on them and to make themselves like God by doing that which God had forbidden.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. - Genesis 3:4-7

If the Wikipedia entry accurately represents Mormon belief, how does LDS theology reconcile this hope of progression to Godhood with the temptation that Adam succumbed to (to be like God) as recorded in the book of Genesis?

  • related: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/49034/…
    – user19845
    Jul 11, 2021 at 1:57
  • @coderworks The previous question to which you link was in respect of Eve (only) and the fact of an offer being made to become 'as God', knowing good and evil. This question centres on the aspect of Adam committing a trangression whereby all his progeny were brought into a state of sin under his headship (and , thus, there being no 'exaltation' at all, but rather a finality of degradation).
    – Nigel J
    Jul 11, 2021 at 6:16
  • the LDS don't view eating the fruit as ruining humanity, so there isn't reconciliation. Without eating the fruit the rest of mankind wouldn't have come to earth, and death wouldn't have occurred so progression (for Adam/Eve and us) was in a sense paused at this point.
    – depperm
    Jul 11, 2021 at 11:32
  • 1
    I agree with Romans 5:12. No 'eating the fruit' is not a euphemism for sexual relations (the LDS don't teach this, nor do I believe the scriptures teach this)
    – depperm
    Jul 11, 2021 at 11:42
  • 1
    Just because eating the fruit did not bring upon immortality and deification, does not mean that the latter two will not come by other means; after all, all Christians believe in immortality following the final resurrection.
    – user46876
    Jul 11, 2021 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


God confirmed that man (Genesis 3:22) "is become as one of us, to know good and evil", so this part of Satan's speech was actually not a lie.

  1. Satan claimed that Adam would not surely die. This was the overt lie.
  2. As the OP suggests, he maliciously insinuated that the reason for forbidding the fruit was that God was holding out and did not want Adam to become as the gods, knowing good and evil.
  3. Instead, he claimed that one could become like God by disobedience. This was the temptation.
  4. This was a lie by omission. The knowledge of good and evil alone was not sufficient to become fully like God. By disobeying, Adam became subject to the will of the devil. (D&C 29:40)
  5. Satan's intent was to trap mankind whether immortal or mortal in a state of misery, (Alma 12:26, 2 Ne 9:9), with a possible additional effect of nullifying God's decree and making him a liar (Alma 12:23)

The LDS view is that God does want his children to be become like Him, but that it must be done in His way and on His terms. Those terms include faithful obedience to his Only Begotten. They also include not claiming godlike knowledge, authority, or power before those have been granted, or in ways based on compulsion or deceit.

  • The LDS view is that God does want his children to be become like Him. Adam and Eve were created in the image of God and lost ground from there. Does LDS teach that they could have progressed toward Godhood from that initial creation had they not sinned? Jul 23, 2021 at 13:14
  • @Mike Borden This really should be another question but as far as we understand it, no, they could not have progressed.
    – Confutus
    Jul 23, 2021 at 14:10
  • God wanted them to become like Him and they couldn't unless they sinned? Jul 24, 2021 at 16:23
  • Mike Borden: Paradoxical, isn't it? Yes, they (and the rest of us) had to have a real choice and real experience of good and evil; to err and be forgiven, which was not possible while still in God's presence.
    – Confutus
    Jul 25, 2021 at 5:04
  • God never sinned. How could Adam become like God by sinning? Jul 25, 2021 at 17:33

No reconciliation is needed.

Before partaking of the fruit Adam and Eve

  1. were innocent (didn't know good from evil, wouldn't* have children)
  2. immortal (wouldn't die, wouldn't progress)1, 2, 3

[God] then gave [the commandment not to partake of the fruit] (the opportunity of choice) to Adam and Eve, and he also gave them their free agency (the freedom of choice). Then, and this is a very important point, he did not hold Adam and Eve responsible for any transgression they committed in their state of innocence.

God knew before the earth was ever created that it would be necessary for Adam and Eve to fall so they “would have seed.” Thus, even before the earth was created, Jesus Christ had agreed that he would pay the penalty required by the law of justice for the transgression of the law that resulted in the fall of Adam and Eve.2

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

Let’s thank the Lord, when we pray, for Adam. If it hadn’t been for Adam, I wouldn’t be here; you wouldn’t be here; we would be waiting in the heavens as spirits. …

We are in the mortal life to get an experience, a training, that we couldn’t get any other way. And in order to become gods, it is necessary for us to know something about pain, about sickness, and about the other things that we partake of in this school of mortality.

So don’t let us, brethren and sisters, complain about Adam and wish he hadn’t done something that he did. I want to thank him. I am glad to have the privilege of being here and going through mortality, and if I will be true and faithful to the covenants and obligations that are upon me as a member of the Church and in the kingdom of God, I may have the privilege of coming back into the presence of the Eternal Father; and that will come to you as it will to me, sons and daughters of God, entitled to the fullness of celestial glory.3

The Fall was necessary for progression to begin/be possible.

1 Genesis 2:17, 25, 2 Nephi 2:22-23

2 Why did the Lord command Adam and Eve to multiply in the Garden of Eden when they could not have children before the fall?

3 Genesis 3 The Fall

* not couldn't, they had the ability

  • Is the answer, then, that LDS doesn't believe the actual temptation was to "be like God" as recorded in Genesis? Jul 13, 2021 at 12:17
  • Regarding footnote link #2 But if there is no possibility for sin and for the punishment and misery that accompany it, then there is no possibility for good and for the blessings and joy that follow - When God finished creation He declared it to be very good thus demonstrating that good does not need sin, punishment, and misery to exist. The ground was cursed for Adam's sake: Having grasped at Godhood, a life of ease wouldn't have taught him his error. Jul 13, 2021 at 12:25
  • @MikeBorden No we do, eating of the fruit did let them be like God by knowing between good and evil. A few explanations on your second question. I believe the use of good is different (I can make 2 cakes and one be very good without the other being sinful/evil) 1) God created all things and the earth creation was very good. retracted last statement, I believe the use of the word is different
    – depperm
    Jul 13, 2021 at 12:57
  • @MikeBorden Essentially, Men is supposed to become righteous, meaning choosing good over evil. This is impossible if Men does not know Good from Evil. It's not enough to just not do evil.
    – kutschkem
    Jul 13, 2021 at 13:48
  • 1
    @kutschkem Before Adam and Eve internalized the desire to be like God in discerning good from evil (usurping God's prerogative) they were not neutral. They took their direction from God and, therefore, they did good. They were righteous. When they decided to discern and decide for themselves they ceased doing good because they stopped relying upon God's discernment. Being merely created beings they aspired to Godhood...and died. Jul 14, 2021 at 13:08

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