Lessons from Eden
Sometime after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, they were commanded to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. An altar was built and an offering given. After many days an angel of the Lord appeared and said:
“Why dost thou offer sacrifices to the Lord?”
“I know not, save the Lord commanded me.”
The angel then explained the purpose behind the offering of a sacrifice. At this point the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam and he understood and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth. He said:
“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.”
The book of Moses tells us Eve’s reaction to all of this.
“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.
“And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.”
There are five lessons to be learned here.
When they were commanded to offer sacrifices, they did it. They didn’t understand why they were doing it, but they did it.
From this example, we learn that we should be obedient when the Lord commands. We should not wait until we understand it, or until we feel like it’s a good idea. We should do what the Lord commands when He commands it.
In order to live that way there are a couple things we need to decide in advance.
- The Lord wants the best for us.
- The Lord will not ask us to do something that will not be for the best in the long run.
Although we should obey immediately, that does not in any way imply that we should not ask questions. On the contrary, this passage in Moses tells us we should be asking questions. Adam and Eve were immediately obedient in offering sacrifices. When an Angel of the Lord asked why they were doing that, Adam admitted that he didn’t know why; he was simply doing what he had been commanded.
Clearly it was important enough to the Lord that Adam and Eve understand the why behind the commandment that he sent an Angel to explain it.
The Lord does not expect us to obey and never ask why. He gives commandments for a reason and He wants us to find that reason.
TRUST THE LORD’S TIMING
We don’t know how long it was that Adam and Eve had been offering sacrifices, but we do know they had been out of the Garden at least long enough to have grandchildren. (Moses 5:2-3)
The Lord’s timing can sometimes be difficult to understand, especially in today’s world of instant access to information. But the Lord sees the big picture. He sees the past, the present and the future. We need to trust that answers will come when we need them. Occasionally, answers will come immediately. Sometimes, we simply figure things out because we collect all the evidence, add it to what life experiences we have had, weigh it against what we already know to be true and the pieces fall into place. But whether the answers come immediately or years later, they will come when we need them if we do our part and ask.
THE NEED FOR OPPOSITES
Eve understood the need for opposition. She understood that in order to fully understand and appreciate joy, we need to know sorrow. We can’t appreciate light if we have never stumbled around in the dark.
The explanation the Angel of the Lord gave Adam and Eve for why they were commanded to offer sacrifices was that the sacrifice of a first-born lamb was a symbol for the sacrifice of Christ that was to come. It was a symbol of hope. It taught them there would be redemption from their fall.
The lesson we can take from this is to look forward. We all make mistakes, but we are not meant to relive those mistakes. We do our best to correct them, make amends, and move on. We should see mistakes as growing and learning opportunities. The Lord did not expect, or want Adam and Eve to live out their lives in the sorrow of their transgressions. He wanted them to use that sorrow as a way of experiencing complete joy.
We cannot write the next chapter of our lives if we keep re-reading old ones.
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Scriture: Pearl of Great Price, Moses, chapter 5 (Source – lds.org)
Video and written text: The Past Way of Facing the Future. The lessons of the past prepare us to face the challenges of the future. (14:15, Source – lds.org)
Video and written text: Face the Future with Faith. Truth, covenants, and ordinances enable us to overcome fear and face the future with faith! (14:30, Source – lds.org)