273.3: The Fall of Humanity (OT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 4, Study Notes)

“Because of My Transgression My Eyes Are Opened”


This portion of the episode discusses the Adam and Eve narrative in historical and literary context, proposes theories of the Fall across the belief spectrum, and brings in insights from psychology to the question of human nature and improvement.


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Class Member Reading:Moses 4; 5:1-15; 6:48-62; 2 Nephi 2:22–23; 9:6-10; Genesis 3:16–23

Additional Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20–22; 2 Nephi 2:5–30; Helaman 14:15–18; D&C 19:15–19; 29:34–44; Articles of Faith 1:2; “Fall of Adam,” Bible Dictionary

Other Reading: Genesis 2; 3


Heidi and Justin continue the discussion.


You can access the Annotated Reading here (or PDF)

You can access the Lesson Notes here (or PDF)



Lesson Part 2

0:00 Overview

1:07 Genesis 2-3 (JPS)

3:53 1st Tim 2

Study Notes

7:06 Adam and Eve Historical and Literary Perspective

12:30 Different Interpretations of the Fall

16:58 Science and Philosophy of Human Nature

Discussion Part 2

31:41 Biblical Narratives

43:57 Flaming Sword and Cherubim

Discussion Part 3

47:35 Adam and Eve Down the Rabbit Hole: Eden in a Bubble

56:31 Adam and Eve Down the Rabbit Hole: Great Leap Forward

1:04:12 Adam and Eve Down the Rabbit Hole: Born Fallen

1:11:58 Adam and Eve Down the Rabbit Hole: Symbolic Fall and Atonement

1:16:03 All Interpretations are (equally) Sacred



The Fall

Human Nature, Morality, and Free Will



Thanks to William Newman for content editing and James Estrada for audio editing, and to to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music.

Latest Comments

  1. Carl Gordon Pyper says:

    “Co-saviors”? Seems presumptuous. “Team” is mundane but a better fit. I prefer “partners.” Team mates and partners have to work together, “in sync” to accomplish a common mission … by direction of a leader.

    Concerning the relationship of husbands and wives, I like to use ballroom dancing as good illustration. Except for basic initial instruction, the gentleman is always the leader … the lady follows … and SHOWS. It is the lady who makes the most dynamic and beautiful moves on promptings from the gentleman. This is a totally mental/spiritual process during which words need not be spoken. Neither of the two is coerced by the other (unless the lady asserts herself to pull her partner away from a couple he is about to back in to). They flow perfectly together. Impossible to have one without the other; and in sync.

    Same thing for musical ensembles … for ensembles to work, all musicians must be capable of playing the music and follow the leader (in small ensembles often unnoticed by the audience).

    Also consider a high-church altar team in which the celebrant (priest or bishop) is the “designated leader.” The deacon, lay Eucharistic minister, acolytes, lectors, and homilists work according to static instruction and dynamic spirit from the celebrant. But such a service cannot work unless all are of one accord. An accomplished young priest of note is so “at home” with himself and deacons that, often, it’s one of the deacons who gives the homily. He maximizes participation of all others, standing by “in reserve” until the part that must be performed by a priest or bishop comes to the fore; at which time he is closely assisted by deacon and lay Eucharistic minister. As the service is executed, as subtly directed, the people in the nave are enjoy the benefit.

    Jesus, let us not discount, set the example of Christian leadership. He knew the service ritual. He knew the scriptures. He knew how to remonstrate, argue, and censor. He exerted himself physically when necessary but did not lay angry hands on his disciples. He demonstrated incisive kindness. He was friendly, available, and ministerial. And he took the hits when it was His time to take the hits. Jesus set the example of how men should be men and treat our wives and children who depend on us for leadership.


  2. Carl Gordon Pyper says:

    You cited 3(?) women of status in the early church; including one apostle. This was too much of a quick skim-over statement on a subject of importance that begs details. Do you provide such details; perhaps in your notes?


  3. Carl Gordon Pyper says:

    Mirron-in-the-room; sense of being accountable to others; I’ll VALIDATE that.

    “God is watching,” however, is a concept I despise; a control tool abundantly/shamelessly utilized among Mormons (which I do not believe is your intention to validate). It sets G-d up with a checklist, a fly swatter, and a bag of candy … judgemental and controlling, whose love for us is conditioned upon our compliance with every big or little “Gospel” “commandment” (as per “The General Authorities”) from obeying the Word of Wisdom, to attendance at meetings, to fornication/adultery. Such control is, of course, the devil’s work.

    In my recovery, I have discovered G-d to, in fact, be my Father Creator who is ALWAYS present (versus “watching”) and ALWAYS pulling for me. As there is nothing that my own children could do or be that would keep me from unconditionally loving, and pulling for, each one of them … so I have come to sense my Father’s unconditional regard for me. As I desire my children’s maturity into responsible, healthy, and productive adulthood, so do I sense my Father’s desire for me. The question of “foul-up” then, is not one of failing a “checklist” but of one’s willingness to own personal responsibility for a given “foul-up,” and ask for help to get back up and continue moving forward.


  4. Tyson Smith says:

    I just want to point out that I believe there doesn’t needs to be a contradction between evolution, including humoniod evolution, and the teachings that there was no death before the fall and that the Adam was the first man of all men.

    To understand the statement that there is no death before the fall one must first define the word death. From a gosepl and plan of salvation viewpoint, the viewpoint God has, death is simply our spirits separating from the body. If you theorize that evolution was the process by which God created humans and at the point when the human body became developed enough God placed the spirits of Adam and Eve into these bodies He’s created, then from the gospel definition of death, there was no death before the fall since there were no bodies that possesed spirits before Adam and Eve.

    What about the statement that Adam was the first man of all men? Well what does the word “man” mean in this context? I think in this context it is logical to assume that man refers to the mortal state of our eternal species. In other words, in this context, “man” refers to the state in which our spirits are combined with a mortal body. So again, since none of the bodies had a spirit in them before Adam, Adam was the first man.

    I remember sitting in a Biology class in highschool and a teacher said that we are nothing more than just a bunch of chemical reactions that work together very nicely. At first I found that idea troubling, but now I find it very explicative. Before Adam and Eve, all “life” on Earth was just a bunch of Chemical reactions that worked together very nicely. Another way to think about it is they were equivalent to robots, but instead of silicon and transistors, they were made of proteins and cells. These preadamites had no consciousness, able to respond to pain, but unable to feel or experience it, since there is nothing to experience it. Creatures able of complex thought and curiosity, but unable to actually experience that complex thought and curiosity. Creatures without free will. Creatures that are simply complex machines that take in input nd produce an output.

    For example, if you were to torture one of these pre-adamites, even though a response of pain would be shown and from our perspective no difference would be discerned between their pain and the pain of someone with a spirit inside, since these preadmite have no consciousness, then there is nothing actually experiencing any pain, rather just a bunch of chemical reactions firing off, simply just input and output. Similar to how I could create a computer program that whenever I click the spacebar, text pops up on the screen that tells me how painful pressing the spacebar is and begs me to stop pressing it, yet nothing is actually experiencing pain.

    However, this theory might cause some dangerous thinking as to whether there are humans or animals today that don’t have spirits in them. Meaning that by torturing or killing them, you really are doing nothing wrong. This is why lds doctrine of the creation and the fall is so necessary.

    Our doctrine teaches that before the fall, there was no sadness neither happiness, no joy neither sorrow, no pleasure neither pain, no good niether bad. This teaching of the fall fits in to this theory very well.

    However after the fall, the potential for sadness, happiness, joy, sorrow, pleasure, pain, good, and bad all entered the world. Thus since the fall and especially now days, all humans can experience those things that are products of the fall, thus all humans have a spirit inside and are conscious beings.

    Now how the story of Adam, Eve, the Garden of Eden and the rest of the doctrine of the fall fits into this theory would be whole another theory of itself.

    So in conclusion, I don’t think the Church should stop teaching the doctrine that there was no dead before the fall unless revelation demands it because I don’t believe it necessarily contradicts with current scientific evidence.

    And Jared I really like your podcasts, keep up the grear work!


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