Chapter 10: The Words of Adam and Eve
In premortal life, Adam was known as Michael and the phrase “Michael the archangel” (Jude 1:9) defines Adam as the chief angel or angel of highest rank. Michael led the cause of Jehovah in the war in heaven. “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7–9).
God chose Adam to be the first man on this earth and honored him with His presence: “Adam . . . was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed” (Moses 6:22). Have you ever wondered why Adam received the calling to be Adam? There are probably many reasons, but his superior intellect and absolute obedience are two of his premier qualities.
An example of Adam’s intellect is shown by the fact that God assigned him to name the animals: “And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field” (Moses 3:19–20).
One example of Adam’s obedience is shown as the drama in the garden unfolds. Adam and Eve had received two conflicting commandments and could not obey both. Adam chose to obey God’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Moses 2:28 and Abraham 4:28), which meant eating the fruit he had been commanded not to eat. He did this because he knew and understood Eve’s nature and calling: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26). She could not be the mother of all living if he stayed alone in the garden. Adam also comprehended his and Eve’s purpose and oneness: “This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man” (Moses 3:23). Adam made the reasoned choice to initiate the Fall: “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Nephi 2:25).
Another example of his obedience is found in Moses 5:5–6: “And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord. And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.”
The book of Moses teaches the fact that the name Adam means many and that there have been many earths whereon the first man was named Adam. In Daniel 7:13 and Doctrine and Covenants 116:1, Adam is referenced as the Ancient of Days.
As Adam is the father of the human family, we honor him. His role cannot be minimized, and significantly, his duties and responsibilities for the children of God on this earth are not over. He is much more than an ancient person in the distant past. He will come in the future to oversee a great gathering at a place seventy miles from Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America. He already presided over a great gathering at this same location.
Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel. And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever. And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. (D&C 107:53–56)
This place has additional historic significance. The Garden of Eden and the place where Adam and Eve lived after being cast out was in Jackson County, Missouri. The beautiful valley is a natural amphitheater called Adam-ondi-Ahman, which signifies “the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken by Daniel the Prophet” (History of the Church 3:35; see also D&C 116).
An exceptional opportunity comes in the book of Moses to read Adam’s first-person testimony. Adam’s attitude about the Fall is optimistic because his “eyes [were] opened” (Moses 5:10). His eyes were opened to the fact that he would be redeemed, because a Savior would be provided: “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will” (Moses 5:9). His testimony is one of thankfulness—“Blessed be the name of God”—and he expressed his faith in the plan of salvation and joyful reunion with God—“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: 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” (Moses 5:10).
The search for Adam’s unique words yielded two phrases: “I heard thy voice” (Moses 4:16) and “I know not, save the Lord commanded” (Moses 5:6).
Words of Eve
A truth revealed in Moses’s account of the Creation is that Eve is the name of the first woman on many earths: “Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many” (Moses 4:26). President Joseph F. Smith saw Eve in vision and described her as “our glorious Mother Eve” (D&C 138:39). This could have been written “our glorious mother, Eve,” glorious and mother being adjectives, but it was written “our glorious Mother Eve,” providing a title for her—Mother Eve—and the description that she, the mother of the human family, is glorious. And would not God choose the very best to people a new earth? Latter-day Saint doctrine holds Eve in highest esteem. The Guide to the Scriptures clearly states that the Fall of Adam and Eve, enabling them to become the parents of the human race on this earth, allowed the plan of God to unfold as intended. Adam and Eve are honored, and the Fall was an essential step to the fulfillment of God’s work and glory. (See Moses 1:30–39.)
No doubt there are many reasons Eve received the calling to be Eve, but as with Adam, her superior intellect and faithfulness would be two of her premier qualities. “The Gods said: Let us make an help meet for the man, for it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we will form an help meet for him” (Abraham 5:14). God would not prepare an eternal companion for Adam who was not his equal, which is implied in the meaning of help meet. Hebrew scholar David Freedman explained that help meet is from the Hebrew words ezer and 'k’enegdo. Ezer means to rescue, to save, and to be strong (see Beverly Campbell, Eve Made Her Choice in Eden, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010).
God would likely unite a man and a woman who would work well together, who would compensate for each other’s shortcomings, and who would enjoy working side by side. Adam and Eve would have brought individual talents and diverse spiritual gifts into the marriage. Adam would have come with his maleness and Eve with her femaleness to give perspective and depth to their interactions and decision-making.
Eve experienced many adversities—being cast out of the Garden of Eden; losing direct contact with God and Jesus Christ; the trial and error of surviving in a “sweat of thy brow” world; experiencing the first birthing with no mortal coaching but from Adam, who was equally inexperienced; learning that one son had killed another of her sons; realizing the finality of death and the parental frustration of children who squander their agency. Yet she faithfully and valiantly continued her mission: “And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: 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 5:11).
Several additional details from the book of Moses help us see Eve as an educated woman who, alongside Adam, taught their children. “And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled” (Moses 6:6; italics added). They also kept a book of remembrance and wrote by inspiration (see Moses 6:5). Eve also understood and no doubt helped teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to her posterity as Adam was commanded: “Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children” (Moses 6:58). Specifically, they were to teach the Creation, the Fall, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Atonement, the plan of salvation, and broadly, to “enjoy the words of eternal life” (Moses 6:59; see also Moses 6:59–63).
We can assume that after Adam was baptized, received the Holy Ghost, and was ordained to the priesthood, he would have invited Eve to be baptized along with their children. He would have confirmed them and ordained his sons to the priesthood. Adam would have taught them how he
was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man. And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. (Moses 6:64–67)
As to words that are unique to Eve in the book of Moses, she uses three: beguiled, beholdest, reject, and one phrase: “I did eat.”
In addition to celebrating the life of Adam, Michael the Archangel, lyricist Elias L. T. Harrison uses the word glorious to describe Eve, the same word President Joseph F. Smith used. Since Harrison died in 1900 and the vision was received in 1918, Harrison and President Smith independently chose or had revealed to them the same descriptor.
While most of the world denigrates or disregards the preeminence and righteousness of Adam and Eve, the Pearl of Great Price memorializes them as our first parents. A rarely sung hymn, “Sons of Michael, He Approaches” celebrates the lives of Adam and Eve and makes them current to our generation.
1. Sons of Michael, he approaches!
Rise, the ancient father greet.
Bow, ye thousands, low before him;
Minister before his feet.
Hail the patriarch's glad reign,
Spreading over sea and main.
2. Sons of Michael, 'tis his chariot
Rolls its burning wheels along!
Raise aloft your voices million
In a torrent pow'r of song.
Hail our head with music soft!
Raise sweet melodies aloft!
3. Mother of our generations,
Glorious by great Michael's side,
Take thy children's adoration;
Endless with thy seed abide.
Lo! to greet thee now advance
Thousands in the glorious dance!
4. Raise a chorus, sons of Michael,
Like old ocean's roaring swell,
Till the mighty acclamation
Thru rebounding space doth tell
That the ancient one doth reign
In his Father's house again! (Hymns, no. 51)
(c) Marilynne Todd Linford, 2017
(c) Marilynne Todd Linford, 2017