07) WHEN FALL: When did the Fall occur? Why does this matter when considering the theory of evolution? Why is the genealogy from Adam to Christ important to age of the earth discussions?

Commentary

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For a definitive explanation of what has been taught concerning death before the Fall please see this FAQ and for the age of the earth please see this FAQ.

The scriptures and writings of the prophets are very clear that the literal universal Fall occurred in the days of Adam. This poses a serious problem for those who desire to reconcile the prophetic record with long geological ages. The reasons for this are simple. First, we know that the Lord Jesus Christ lived upon the earth approximately 2000 years ago. This is documented in scripture as well as profane sources. Next, the genealogy from Adam to Jesus Christ is recorded in the New Testament in two places, and in modern revelation in the book of Moses.

Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem,

Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah,

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judas, Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naasson,

Salmon, Booz, Obed, Jesse,

David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz,

Ezekias, Manasses, Amon, Josias, Jechonias, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud,

Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus

Jesus, Joseph, Heli, Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Janna, Joseph, Mattathias, Amos, Naum, Esli, Nagge, Maath, Mattathias, Semei, Joseph, Juda, Joanna, Rhesa, Zorobabel, Salathiel, Neri, Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmodam, Er, Jose, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi, Simeon, Juda, Joseph, Jonan, Eliakim, Melea, Menan, Mattatha, Nathan,
David, Jesse, Obed, Booz, Salmon, Naasson, Aminadab, Aram, Esrom, Phares, Juda, Jacob, Isaac,
Abraham, Thara, Nachor, Saruch, Ragau, Phalec, Heber, Sala, Cainan, Arphaxad, Sem, Noe, Lamech, Mathusala, Enoch, Jared, Maleleel, Cainan, Enos, Seth, Adam, God 1

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This genealogy is also supported by the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and all scripture as well as many statements by Latter-day prophets. The prophetic record dispels the speculation that Adam may have lived many millions of years ago. Why does this matter? If we accept the prophetic word, we know that Adam lived approximately 6000 years ago. We also know that there was no death on this earth for man and all forms of animal life prior to Adam and Eve and the Fall of all things. Please see Fall FAQ. We also know that the mortal conditions that we see around us including reproduction, sin, disease, blood and a world of turmoil did not exist prior to the Fall. Please see Mortal Conditions FAQ. Knowing these things it is obvious that the earth cannot be many millions of years old. If one accepts the record of scripture and the writings of the prophets, one cannot accept that the earth is millions of years or even tens of thousands of years old. For additional support for what is termed a “young earth” please see the Age of the Earth FAQ.

Additional support for this doctrine can be found in the statements from scripture and the prophets that all living men and women descend from Adam and Eve. Darwinists find this concept ludicrous. In the evolutionary world-view, the races developed in isolation over many hundreds of thousands of years. Human-like forms came from mammals over many millions of years. In the Gospel view as clearly taught by prophets and throughout scripture all humans on the earth today descend from Adam and Eve about 6,000 years ago. These are two views that can never be harmonized.

Prophetic Statements

Joseph Smith

#1: Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as being the “Ancient of Days,” or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great, grand progenitor of whom it is said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of all. 2

#2: “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah 300 years, and begat sons and daughters, and all the days of Enoch were 365 years; and Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” 3 Now this Enoch God reserved unto Himself, that he should not die at that time, and appointed unto him a ministry unto terrestrial bodies, of whom there has been but little revealed. He is reserved also unto the presidency of a dispensation, and more shall be said of him and terrestrial bodies in another treatise. He is a ministering angel, to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, and appeared unto Jude as Abel did unto Paul; therefore Jude spoke of him (14, 15 verses). And Enoch, the seventh from Adam . . . 4

Brigham Young

#1: The devil says, “I have had power over the earth for six thousand years, and do you think I am going to loose my grasp upon it? No, I will hold it, and before ever the Latter-day Saints obtain one foot of inheritance upon it they will have to contest it inch by inch.” 5

#2: After passing over the ages and generations of the children of men for about six thousand years, we will come to the present congregation . . . . 6

John Taylor

#1: Let us ask what the nations of the earth have accomplished for the last six or seven thousand years. What great work have they achieved? [7]

#2: And when I cast mine eyes over our own land, and see . . . rocks having been rent, and torn asunder, from centre to circumference; I exclaim, Whence all this?

“When I read the Book of Mormon, it informs me, that while Christ was crucified among the Jews, this whole American continent was shaken to its foundation, that many cities were sunk, and waters came up in their places; that the rocks were all rent in twain; that mountains were thrown up to an exceeding height; and other mountain became vallies: the level roads spoiled; and the whole face of the land changed.—I then exclaim, These things are no longer a mystery; I have now learned to account for the many wonders, which I everywhere behold, throughout our whole country; when I am passing a ledge of rocks, and see they have all been rent and torn asunder, while some huge fragments are found deeply imbedded in the earth, some rods from whence they were torn, I exclaim, with astonishment, These were the groans! The convulsive throes of agonizing nature! while the Son of God suffered upon the cross! 7

Wilford Woodruff

#1: My mind reverts to the channels of communication from God to man. Here we have the Bible which gives a history and prophecy of the prophets from Adam down to our own day extending through a period of near 6,000 years. 8

#2: We are nearing the end of the 6th thousand years. We have the history, or a partial history, of the dealings of God with the nations from the day of Father Adam down as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, from which we may learn many valuable lessons. 9

#3: We read that in Adam all died, and that in Christ all were made alive. Jesus has died to redeem all men; but in order that they may be benefitted by His death, and that His blood may cleanse them from all actual sin committed in the flesh, they must abide the law of the Gospel. The sins done through Adam we have been redeemed from by the blood of Christ; and in order to obtain salvation we must be obedient and faithful to the precepts of the Gospel. 10

George Albert Smith

#1: “Adam and Eve were the children of God; they were our first parents, and every human being that has lived upon the earth descended from them. God gave them their agency to decide for themselves in all matters and held them responsible for their conduct. They received their instructions in the Garden of Eden from our Heavenly Father and those teachings were preserved for succeeding generations.

Biblical chronology indicates that nearly six thousand years ago our first parents began their earth life. The Lord instructed them how they should conduct themselves, and his prophets divinely commissioned to speak for him, have taught Adam’s descendants through the ages how to live to be happy in mortality and so qualify that when the time comes for them to die, they may pass into immortality taking with them the riches of their characters and the knowledge they have gained here.” 11

#2: “I wonder if we appreciate what it is to live today with all the advantages gained in the nearly six thousand years since our first parents came into the world.” 12

Joseph Fielding Smith

#1: AGE OF THE EARTH SINCE ADAM. We have evidence beyond dispute that Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden about 6,000 years ago, or perhaps a short time less. It is possible for us, by using the Bible chronology and that given by the Lord in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants to figure this almost accurately.

In the Book of Revelation, chapters five to 10, we have the story of the opening of the seven seals by the Lamb, each seal representing 1,000 years of the temporal existence of this earth. In the Doctrine and Covenants 88:92–116 , we have the confirmation of this with other detail in regard to the opening of the seals. In D&C 77:6–15 , we have more information in relation to the opening of these seals, with the following significant detail:

Verse 6: “Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals?

“A. We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence.” 13

#2: Then what is meant by the “first flesh”? It is simple when you understand it. Adam was the first of all creatures to fall and become flesh, and flesh in this sense means mortality, and all through our scriptures the Lord speaks of this life as flesh, while we are here in the flesh, so Adam became the first flesh. There was no other mortal creature before him, and there was no mortal death until he brought it . . . 14

Harold B. Lee

“Adam and Eve … exercised their agency and of their own volition had partaken of the fruit, of which they were commanded not to eat; thus they had become subject to the law of Satan. In that disobedience, God was now free to visit upon them a judgment. They were to learn that besides God being a merciful Father, he is also a just Father, and when they broke the law they were subject to the receiving of a penalty and so they were cast out of that beautiful garden. They were visited by all the vicissitudes to which mortals from that time since have been heir. They were to learn that by their disobedience they received the penalty of a just judgment. They were forced to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, for now they had become mortals…Pain, misery, death, all now came in their wake, but with that pain, quite like our own experiences from that time to this, there came knowledge and understanding that could never have been gained except by pain…Besides the Fall having had to do with Adam and Eve, causing a change to come over them, that change affected all human nature, all of the natural creations, all of the creation of animals, plants—all kinds of life were changed. The earth itself became subject to death. … How it took place no one can explain, and anyone who would attempt to make an explanation would be going far beyond anything the Lord has told us. But a change was wrought over the whole face of the creation, which up to that time had not been subject to death. From that time henceforth all in nature was in a state of gradual dissolution until mortal death was to come, after which there would be required a restoration in a resurrected state. 15

Spencer W. Kimball

“God has given us a plan. He has sent us all to earth to obtain bodies and to gain experience and growth. He anticipated the fall of Adam and Eve and the consequent change in their mortal condition and provided his Son Jesus Christ to redeem man from the effects of the fall.” 16

Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist

Charles Darwin

Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin 17

Scripture

Bible Dictionary: Flesh– The flesh is often spoken of as being a part of our mortal or fallen nature (as in Matthew 26:41 ; Romans 7:5, 14–23 ; Romans 8:3 ; 1 Corinthians 3:1–2 ; Ephesians 2:3 ); as opposed to the Spirit (Romans 8:5–9 ; Galatians 3:3 ; Galatians 5:17–25 ), and as needing to be overcome (Matthew 4:4 ; Romans 8:7, 12–13 ; Galatians 5:17, 24 ; Galatians 6:8 ; Colossians 2:11 ; Colossians 3:5 ; 1 Peter 4:2 ; 1 John 2:16–17 ).

Since flesh often means mortality, Adam is spoken of as the “first flesh” upon the earth, meaning he was the first mortal on the earth, all things being created in a nonmortal condition, and becoming mortal through the fall of Adam. Jesus is the “Only Begotten of the Father” in the flesh, meaning he is the only one begotten of the Father into mortality. 18

Bible Dictionary: Fall of Adam– The process by which mankind became mortal on this earth. The event is recorded in Genesis 2, 3, 4 ; and Moses 3, 4 . The fall of Adam is one of the most important occurrences in the history of man. Before the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood. There was no sin, no death, and no children among any of the earthly creations. With the eating of the “forbidden fruit,” Adam and Eve became mortal, sin entered, blood formed in their bodies, and death became a part of life. Adam became the “first flesh” upon the earth 19, meaning that he and Eve were the first to become mortal. After Adam fell, the whole creation fell and became mortal. Adam’s fall brought both physical and spiritual death into the world upon all mankind 20.

Latter-day revelation supports the biblical account of the fall, showing that it was a historical event that literally occurred in the history of man. Many points in latter-day revelation are also clarified that are not discernible from the Bible. Among other things it makes clear that the fall is a blessing, and that Adam and Eve should be honored in their station as the first parents of the earth. Significant references are 2 Nephi 2:15–16 ; 2 Nephi 9: 6–21 ; Mosiah 3: 11–16 ; Alma 22: 12–14 ; Alma 42: 2–15 ; D&C 29: 34–44 ; Moses 5: 9–13 .

2 Nephi 9:6
“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.”

Doctrine and Covenants 77:6–7, 10, 12
Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals?

A. We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence.

Q. What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?

A. We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh.

Q. What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished?

A. They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousand years, or the opening of the sixth seal.

Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?

A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.

2 Nephi 2:22–24
. . . 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.

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.

But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

Moses 5:11
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 3:7
And I, the Lord God, formed man . . . the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also . . .

Genesis 5:22–23
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah 300 years, and begat sons and daughters, and all the days of Enoch were 365 years; and Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

Genesis 5:28–29
And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years and begat a son, and he called his name Noah, saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.”

Luke 3:23–38
And Jesus . . . being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli . . . which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

Matthew 1:1–17 , Moses 6:8–22 , Luke 3:23–38
“Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem,

Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah,

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judas, Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naasson,

Salmon, Booz, Obed, Jesse,

David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz,

Ezekias, Manasses, Amon, Josias, Jechonias, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud,

Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus

Jesus, Joseph, Heli, Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Janna, Joseph, Mattathias, Amos, Naum, Esli, Nagge, Maath, Mattathias, Semei, Joseph, Juda, Joanna, Rhesa, Zorobabel, Salathiel, Neri, Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmodam, Er, Jose, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi, Simeon, Juda, Joseph, Jonan, Eliakim, Melea, Menan, Mattatha, Nathan,
David, Jesse, Obed, Booz, Salmon, Naasson, Aminadab, Aram, Esrom, Phares, Juda, Jacob, Isaac,
Abraham, Thara, Nachor, Saruch, Ragau, Phalec, Heber, Sala, Cainan, Arphaxad, Sem, Noe, Lamech, Mathusala, Enoch, Jared, Maleleel, Cainan, Enos, Seth, Adam, God”

Supporting Statements

Russel M. Nelson

Adam and Eve were first created with bodies of flesh and spirit, without blood, and were unable to die or beget children. Thus, we might describe this as a paradisiacal creation 21

Bruce R. McConkie

As to the Fall itself we are told that the Lord planted “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” in the midst of the garden. (Moses 3:9.) To Adam and Eve the command came: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, But of the tree of 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.” (Moses 3:16–17.)Again the account is speaking figuratively. What is meant by partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is that our first parents complied with whatever laws were involved so that their bodies would change from their state of paradisiacal immortality to a state of natural mortality. (“Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, p. 15; emphasis added)


References:

  1. Matthew 1:1–17,Moses 6:8–22,Luke 3:23–38,
  2. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 167
  3. Genesis 5:22–23
  4. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, p. 271, Brigham Young, August 16th, 1868
  5. Journal of Discourses, Vol.6, p.307, Brigham Young, April 8, 1853
  6. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 2, John Taylor, February 19, 1860
  7. John Taylor, The Government of God [Liverpool: S. W. Richards,
  8. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 331
  9. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 331
  10. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 12: 280
  11. President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1945, Third Day—Morning Meeting 135
  12. President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1949, First Day—Morning Meeting 4
  13. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 81.
  14. Joseph Fielding Smith, Seek Ye Earnestly [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1970], 281.
  15. Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 2000, p. 20.
  16. Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 25.
  17. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man p. 405
  18. Moses 3: 7
  19. Moses 3: 7
  20. Helaman 14: 16–17
  21. Russell M. Nelson, “Standards of the Lord’s Standard-Bearers,” Ensign, Aug. 1991, 5

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