Divided from God- Doctrine and Covenants 29:40-41, Alma 42:7

Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.
Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death.

And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.

COMMENTARY

Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from my presence, because of his transgression
Our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord

We feel a separation from God and we feel frustrated by it. The first thing to understand is that this is perfectly normal, in fact our instincts are exactly correct, because we do have a very real divide from God. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind has been cut loose from the direct communion that was once our daily pleasure.
There is a direct analogy in this to a newborn having its connection to the mother, the umbilical cord, cut at birth. Of course, there yet remains a form of sustenance available to the baby through suckling, but can any of us blame that infant for mourning its sudden separation? Neither should we be blamed for mourning the very real absence of God’s direct presence. We were made to be in His presence, and now we are not and we feel that absence deep in our souls.
Like a newborn, we do learn to move on, and with the rest of this study we will examine how. But I just wanted to pause here at the start and appreciate that our perplexity is very real, and we need not be ashamed for feeling it.

Our Dual Nature- Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17; 3:6-7, 22

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened.
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.

COMMENTARY

And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow…the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
I personally cannot accept the notion that the Fall of mankind was somehow an accident, or in any way contrary to God’s plan for us. If God did not want Adam and Eve to ever leave the Garden of Eden the solution would be simple: just don’t plant the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the first place!
But God did plant it. And I think that’s an important detail as well. God planted it. It was not a tree created by Satan, its fruit was the creation of the ultimate source of good in the universe.
However God did not stop with planting this tree either, He also planted the idea. By calling it out directly and placing a stipulation that whoever eats of it will become mortal, He is laying the law for Adam and Eve’s eventual fall.

A tree to be desired to make one wise
And the eyes of them both were opened
The man is become as one of us, to know good and evil

Did Adam and Eve bring mortality, sickness, and sorrow upon the human race through their decision? Yes. But there was a blessing mingled with that curse: Adam and Eve and all their posterity gained understanding, the ability to discern between right and wrong. And as we will see in later passages this study, this knowledge was something God always intended for us to obtain.


I’m going to go ahead and give my own opinions right now. This is my personal reasoning, and you are free to disagree with it. But to me this sequence is confusing so long as I view it as God making a commandment, and them breaking it. What makes more sense to me is God giving them a choice, and them deciding which path they wish to follow.
Could it be that God was saying to them: “This tree will give you knowledge of good and evil, a truly wonderful gift. But to be able to comprehend evil would make you susceptible to it as well. As such you would not be able to stay in this pristine and sterile garden. You would have to leave, and you would have to die. You can stay here in perfection but never have knowledge, or you can persevere through anguish to find true joy. The choice is yours.”
Could it be that God was proud of their choice, even as His own rules required banishing them to this world? Personally, I think so.