Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we’ll be answering the question, “Did God want Eve to eat the forbidden fruit?” Do you have a question you’d like to see answered? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it in the comments below.
While it seems presumptuous to claim to know what God wants, we do have some insight into the plan He called Adam and Eve to be a part of.
What We Know
God’s Plan of Redemption has been prepared since before the foundation of the world. In Alma 22:13, Aaron is teaching King Lamoni’s father the gospel and starts with the creation of the earth. “And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name.”
What use would there be in Christ’s rescuing us from sin if sin were never to enter into the world?
If Adam and Eve had not partaken of the fruit, they would have remained in God’s presence. They would have remained sinless—also childless and clueless as to good and evil. Or, in Eve’s words, “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 5:10–11).
Without gaining wisdom through the exercise of their agency, they would not have known “the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” Doesn’t God want for us to have eternal life?
What if the Fruit Had Not Been Forbidden?
Let’s look at the situation another way. If God had not forbidden the fruit, only simply said, “All of these fruits are available for you to eat. By the way, this one will make you mortal and wise. Carry on,” what would the result have been? Adam and Eve would have partaken of the fruit but would have remained in the garden of Eden because they had transgressed no law. They would have become mortal, but they would have remained in God’s presence. There would have been no fall away from His presence.
And there needed to have been a fall.
“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
“Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God” (2 Nephi 2:11-12).
It was part of the plan that Eve (and then Adam) partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If it’s part of His plan, I think it’s safe to assume it was part of His will.
How the Fall Gives Us Hope
Adam wasn’t wrong in trying to obey God’s commandments. Perhaps there was a time and a place for each of the commandments to help them have time to prepare themselves physically and spiritually for life outside of the Garden of Eden. Perhaps, they needed a little time to mature before they were ready to live the higher law.
We can get pretty hard on ourselves or on our kids when we fail to obey the laws of God—when we mess up. While I don’t think God ever wants us to sin, I strongly believe He can make good from our bad choices—if we turn to Him; if we discover the joy of our redemption through Jesus Christ. If what we have gained through knowledge and experience is greater than what we have lost through disobedience to God’s commands, then we have still fulfilled His plan. Take note that His plan is called the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Redemption, not the Plan of Perfection. If we will continually repent, then we, like Adam and Eve, can still qualify for the “eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”
So, take heart. Wandering off the path doesn’t mean we have wandered off His plan. His grace is sufficient for Eve—but also for you and me.
Disclaimer: While all of my answers will use scriptures and/or words of modern prophets, I do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t believe any of my answers are comprehensive. I’m just one person using the gospel I have been blessed with to bring hope, peace, and answers to other seekers of truth.