How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

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Lucidity
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by Lucidity » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:08 am

Reuben wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:02 pm
....however much establishing it is like nailing Jell-o to a wall, isn't the same as what Mormons believe. Officially, Adam and Eve exist, and we even have Jeffrey Arrrrr Holland recently saying that they must or the atonement is nonsense. A lot of believing Mormons don't accept that, but they generally can't say so.
One of the reasons I don't think the church would unravel like a house of cards is because I think many members, particularly the younger more educated ones, would like to be free of the forced literalness of some of these doctrines. Even my 65 year old TBM dad has gone from scoffing at carbon dating to instead quietly rolling his eyes at the 6000 yrld earth stuff. I'm pretty confident he would welcome the church saying the the Tower of Babal and Noahs Ark don't have to be accepted literally. But I think Adam and Eve would be a bit much for him though.

The next wave of leadership is going to have some serious questions they're going to have to ask. Do they take a short-term hit with the older members in order to make the Church more palatable for the next 100 yrs? How much would some of these changes undermine their authority and the commitment of the members? They are sort of damned is the do and damned if the don't.

The church really has needlessly painted itself into corner with many of these doctrines, but they also have the magic "undo" button of revelation to a modern prophet that is nearly worshiped by an eager membership. Something most other fundamentalists faiths just don't have access to.

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2bizE
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by 2bizE » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:33 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:40 am
2bizE wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:18 pm
How about this theory:
Thousands of years ago, humans wondered where they came from; how the originated. They began telling stories in their regional culture. Over time, these cultural stories evolved into what today we know as Adan and Eve.
Essentially, A&E are just made up to tell a story.
Works for me. Now how are you going to get Mr. Holland to say it over the pulpit?
I hold no hope for Mr. Holland to change his mind before his death...perhaps a replacement in 2050.
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John Hamer
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by John Hamer » Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:13 pm

Lucidity wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:11 am
It often looks like the LDS church is being slowly yanked, kicking and screaming, to become more in line with the Community of Christ. I'm curious how members of the CofC see Adam and Eve, and what fallout may of happened from doctrinal changes. In interviews I've watched of Stephen Mark Veazey he seems pretty flexible and secure in allowing members to interpret many things in less literal ways.

Is there a generally accepted view on the literalness of Adam and Eve?
I should think people generally understand that the story is a myth.

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John Hamer
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by John Hamer » Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:21 pm

The word "Adam" just means "man." The story includes a talking snake. It's not really even a myth, it's a fable. It's impossible to imagine this fable as history. There is zero chance that there are historical figures involved in this obvious fable.

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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:52 pm

John Hamer wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:21 pm
The word "Adam" just means "man." The story includes a talking snake. It's not really even a myth, it's a fable. It's impossible to imagine this fable as history. There is zero chance that there are historical figures involved in this obvious fable.
Yup.

Man beguiled woman with his “snake” and thus the circle of life is born. It’s a great fable when simplified down to sex. :lol:
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:14 pm

Fervent and literal believer though I was as a TBM, I never really believed in a literal Adam and Eve. And I was beyond baffled when friends would assure me that they could trace their family history aaaaaaall the way back . . . :shock:
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deacon blues
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by deacon blues » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:17 pm

Elder Holland: (April 2015) "In our increasingly secular society, it is as uncommon as it is unfashionable to speak of Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden or of a “fortunate fall” into mortality. Nevertheless, the simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death—in other words, there is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter—without understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it.

I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death.3 To add further sorrow and complexity to their circumstance, their transgression had spiritual consequences as well, cutting them off from the presence of God forever. Because we were then born into that fallen world and because we too would transgress the laws of God, we also were sentenced to the same penalties that Adam and Eve faced." :shock:
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:23 pm

Interesting to read through this topic today. Last night I was up on the hill with the youngest daughter talking about how the cosmos allowed sapiens to evolve to this point where we literally have thousands of red buttons we can push to completely nuke the planet. It really is some kind of joke, that evolution would make these large ape brains fueled with genetic tribalism and then make them smart enough to create buttons and rockets capable of the next mass extinction event. It's the same dilemma we see in the garden story, where the first two accountable humans have conflicting commandments to follow, pushed in the direction of kicking off The Plan by the 4th member of the Godhead. Is it God's plan or the Cosmic plan to let sapiens destroy life on the planet again? It's happened several times in the past by natural events. Will we pass through that great filter and somehow go on to populate the solar system and galaxy? Or will we just be another cosmic reboot by our own hands? It seems such a great irony to me. "Hey, let the monkey boys split the atom then give them lots of red buttons they can push anytime to annihilate themselves." Sit back and watch the shit show. I imagine a toddler in a white room with nothing else but a big red button on the wall that says "Don't Push".

While COVID is the big news, where are all those nukes all the crazy apes have stock piled that have very nearly been launched several times in the past? Even if we don't push the button, there are many other great filters coming our way. I think I'll go back and re-read the Genesis story, might be more meaning in there about humanity in general, removing all the religious interpretations.
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by wtfluff » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:06 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:23 pm
the 4th member of the Godhead.
Haha. I absolutely love this! :mrgreen:

Are you a "Quadritarian" if you believe in a godhead with 4 members?
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by Thoughtful » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:19 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:52 pm
John Hamer wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:21 pm
The word "Adam" just means "man." The story includes a talking snake. It's not really even a myth, it's a fable. It's impossible to imagine this fable as history. There is zero chance that there are historical figures involved in this obvious fable.
Yup.

Man beguiled woman with his “snake” and thus the circle of life is born. It’s a great fable when simplified down to sex. :lol:
I've seen it analyzed as an illustration of how agricultural societies emerged.

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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by moksha » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:56 pm

John Hamer wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:21 pm
It's not really even a myth, it's a fable.
Myth has a Greek root and fable a Latin root, but can't these words can be used interchangeably?
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John Hamer
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by John Hamer » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:36 am

moksha wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:56 pm
John Hamer wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:21 pm
It's not really even a myth, it's a fable.
Myth has a Greek root and fable a Latin root, but can't these words can be used interchangeably?
Although there are overlaps in usage, fables are narratives that contain talking animals (or other things that normally don't talk). The fact that the serpent talks in the Eden story pulls it into the realm of fable — and should frankly alert everyone to its non-historicity. Myths, fables, and parables have similar purposes: teaching lessons, forming shared identity. Whereas people tend to understand that parables (e.g., the good Samaritan) did not happen in real life, they should likewise understand that the fables (e.g., the tortoise and the hare, the garden of Eden) did not happen in real life. Although people in Antiquity generally did believe that myths (e.g., the labors of Hercules, Moses and the Exodus), and although modern people generally like to think there's a significant "kernel of historical truth" behind myths, this is mostly not the case.

The fact that there was a Trojan War doesn't change the fact that almost everything in the Iliad as we have it is not related to actual history at the time of the actual Trojan War. Rather, it is a source for the history of Greece at the time of its composition, that is, it tells us about the time of Homer (to the extent that there was a Homer) and not about the earlier bronze age. Likewise, the Eden story tells us about the time it was composed, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 bc, and not about an era thousands of years before that date.

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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by moksha » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:03 am

John Hamer wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:36 am
Likewise, the Eden story tells us about the time it was composed, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 bc, and not about an era thousands of years before that date.
So when Adam and Eve were booted out of Eden into Daviess County, Missouri, we should regard that as a myth rather than a fable because it did not involve a talking mule - that would come later on in Balaam fable.
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by Reuben » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:12 am

moksha wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:03 am
John Hamer wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:36 am
Likewise, the Eden story tells us about the time it was composed, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 bc, and not about an era thousands of years before that date.
So when Adam and Eve were booted out of Eden into Daviess County, Missouri, we should regard that as a myth rather than a fable because it did not involve a talking mule - that would come later on in Balaam fable.
Maybe Joseph Smith played the part of the talking mule in this case.
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:41 am

John Hamer wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:36 am
The fact that the serpent talks in the Eden story pulls it into the realm of fable — and should frankly alert everyone to its non-historicity.
Of course, the convenient workaround for this is to say that the word serpent is really just a personality descriptor, like the way "skin of blackness" is really a description of moral intent rather than a physical characteristic.

Then recast the Book of Revelation's rebellious angel that fell from heaven as the Bible's serpent and make people watch a play or film about it over and over and over for the rest of their lives.
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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by jfro18 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:58 am

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:41 am
John Hamer wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:36 am
The fact that the serpent talks in the Eden story pulls it into the realm of fable — and should frankly alert everyone to its non-historicity.
Of course, the convenient workaround for this is to say that the word serpent is really just a personality descriptor, like the way "skin of blackness" is really a description of moral intent rather than a physical characteristic.

Then recast the Book of Revelation's rebellious angel that fell from heaven as the Bible's serpent and make people watch a play or film about it over and over and over for the rest of their lives.
Come on Hagoth,

The curse of dark skin wasn't skin or even moral intent- it was changing the "skins of clothes" that they were wearing so the Nephites would know their white clothes were better.

Because you know how unattractive black clothes are... and how difficult it would be to change those clothes to intermingle.

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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by John Hamer » Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:03 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:41 am
Of course, the convenient workaround for this is to say that the word serpent is really just a personality descriptor, like the way "skin of blackness" is really a description of moral intent rather than a physical characteristic.

Then recast the Book of Revelation's rebellious angel that fell from heaven as the Bible's serpent and make people watch a play or film about it over and over and over for the rest of their lives.
The Book of Revelation isn't relevant to the discussion. The Eden story was written six or seven centuries prior to Revelation; Revelation is dependent on Genesis, not vice versa. All Revelation can tell us is how some early Christians interpreted Genesis. There is no sense in Genesis itself that the serpent is anything other than a serpent. It is explicitly described as such: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made" (Gen 3:1).

When God punishes the serpent, he's not punishing a rebellious angel. He explains why this animal has no legs:
Genesis 3:14b wrote:Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life...
There's no ambiguity here.

Likewise, the character does not recur. In the next chapter when Cain kills Abel, it's not because a rebellious angel takes the form of some other creature and tempts him. The character of the Devil does not exist in Genesis. It is a later development in the Second Temple Period of Judaism.

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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by jfro18 » Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:20 pm

John Hamer wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:03 pm
The Book of Revelation isn't relevant to the discussion. The Eden story was written six or seven centuries prior to Revelation; Revelation is dependent on Genesis, not vice versa. All Revelation can tell us is how some early Christians interpreted Genesis. There is no sense in Genesis itself that the serpent is anything other than a serpent. It is explicitly described as such: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made" (Gen 3:1).
John,

Do you know if the earliest Jewish communities believed that Genesis was mythological or if they believed it was literal?

I am guessing that's not a yes/no type answer, but looking at these stories in hindsight you'd have to think they knew they were not writing literal history at least at that time?

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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by John Hamer » Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:08 pm

The idea of "history" hadn't been invented yet, so no one thought it was "historical." The person composing the text was most likely creating entertaining identity-stories for the royal court of Judah. The text is part of a courtly narrative, i.e., one that is of interest to nobles in a royal court. People did not ask themselves whether this was history, because that idea didn't exist. Over time as people read the myth, they likely imagined that it happened. But that was not an important question. They weren't asking whether it happened, since that didn't matter. They asked what it meant.

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Re: How essential is a literal Adam and Eve story to Mormonism?

Post by moksha » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:53 am

John Hamer wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:08 pm
The person composing the text was most likely creating entertaining identity-stories for the royal court of Judah.
Oh yeah? Well, then how did a so-called "fictional" character get his own book written on some Book of the Dead Breathing Permits?

That is as preposterous as believing the old coot pictured on my driving license is actually the dashing young guy I see in my mirror.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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