I have just finished reading Alonzo Gaskill’s The Truth About Eden which I can highly recommend.
It provides lots of insights to help in understanding the symbols and figurative representations in the various accounts of the Fall. The elements in the accounts operate at a number of levels and I was struck by Professor Gaskill’s observation that Eve can be seen as a symbol for the Church, or Bride of Christ.
- Eve came from Adam and was different from him on her physical origin. (Genesis 2:21-24). The Church comes from Christ and its members are different in their physical makeup when compared to their Saviour.
- Adam and Eve were married by God for time and all eternity while in Eden – the first temple. The Church becomes Christ’s eternal bride by entering into a covenant relationship with him in the holy temple.
- In the scriptural accounts of the Fall, Eve is not present when the Father gives the commandment to avoid eating of the ‘forbidden’ fruit. Adam receives God’s word and then conveys it to Eve. She then is expected to exercise faith in the divinity of the command and be obedient to it. (Genesis 2:16-17). Similarly, God gives to Christ and his prophets commandments, which they in turn convey to us. We do not receive these directly from the Father, but rather through mediators He has chosen. We are then expected to exercise faith in these revealed dictates and be obedient to them (Hebrews 1:1-2).
- Eve is Adam’s helpmeet or partner in Eden (Genesis 2:18). The members of the Church are Christ’s helpers, serving as saviours on Mt Zion (Obadiah 1:21).
- Adam and Eve are commanded by God to be one (Genesis 2:24). Christ and his Church are to be one (D&C 35:2). Ambrose (4th Century Bishop of Milan) wrote: ‘As Eve was bone of the bones of her husband and flesh of his flesh, we also are members of Christ’s body, bones of his bones and flesh of his flesh’.
- Eve fell, and thus Adam had to enter mortality to rescue her from her choice (2 Nephi 2:25). The Church is made up of fallen souls who need Christ to enter into mortality to rescue them from their choices. Adam’s act clearly mirrors Christ’s choice to redeem us (his bride or Church) from sin and spiritual death.
- Eve partook of sin, and then gave to Adam (Genesis 3:6). The members of the Church commit sins, and then Christ takes upon him all sins through Atonement (Alma 7:13)
- Adam rules over Eve (Genesis 3:16). Christ rules and reigns over the Church (Revelation 11:15)
- Adam is Eve’s companion in this life of trials and tests – serving as her helper, provider and protector (Genesis 3:23). Christ is our companion through the tests and trials of mortality – helping, providing for and protecting us. (John 14:18)