The second Article of Faith goes like this:
2) We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, but not for Adam’s transgression.
Now, for any who do not know, Adam’s transgression was the sin that got him and Eve cast out of the Garden of Eden. There was a commandment given for him not to partake of the tree of knowledge, as is shown in this verse, Genesis 2: 16-17
16) And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17) 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.
That was the only law that God gave them to follow, and as such, Adam and Eve did pretty well keeping it until they were tempted by Satan.
The next chapter, the serpent (Lucifer, Satan) beguiled Eve into taking the fruit, and giving it also to Adam. They partook and immediately they understood that they were naked and that they should cover themselves. At that time is when mortality set in.
Adam and Eve, from the time of their creation to the time when they partook of the fruit were in a state where they knew no happiness or sadness. They could not be happy because they had no sadness to compare it to, and even though they led perfect lives up till that point, they could not be happy or do any good because they had not felt sadness or done any wrong. It is a similar concept to playing a game that is impossible to lose, but has no progression. You just exist to play the game. When Adam and Eve were cast out, they experienced pain, turmoil, sadness, sin, and later death. But these helped them appreciate love, life, joy, and productivity.
The death that they experienced was directly linked to the ‘original sin’ that was committed, but so was their happiness and joy.
The death that was spoken of in verse 17 wasn’t an instant death as one might think from what God told them, but the death was actually Adam and Eve becoming mortal. So yes, Adam transgressed the laws of God. That decision still effects us today. In fact, that decision is the reason we have this life to be able to learn, grow, and find our way back to God.
However, there are several beliefs out there that because of this concept of original sin, that we are all tainted and therefore if we die before baptism we are relegated to fire and brimstone. This, according to my beliefs, is not the case.
For example, we believe that a child under the age of 8 is not accountable for the sins they commit because they do not understand what they do, and they are immediately forgiven. That is similar to the a plea from Christ when he was on the cross at the end of his mortal ministry. In Luke 23:34, it reads-
34) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
If Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, can ask for forgiveness for these men who tortured him and hung him on the cross, then how not could he forgive a child who dies before baptism? Or a child who breaks something without any understanding? And why would a man such as this hold a sin perpetrated by our first parents millennia ago against us?
That is why the verse says that we are punished for our own sins, but not Adam’s transgression. We have a loving savior who gave all for us because of how much he cares for each of us, he is willing to forgive us and be our advocate. This allows us to become better without a sin from ages past, or even one committed in ignorance when we were five, from hanging over our heads our entire existence.
I myself have made a lot of mistakes in my life, and God will always have some way for me to make it right, through either repentance or some trial, but the only thing that I have left from Adam and Eve, our first parents, is the death that comes to us all that will one day take us back to the arms of our loving father in heaven. I live a mortal life, and every day is a gift because of them. If it weren’t for the decision they made to take the fruit and leave the garden, they would have lived forever in the Garden, never progressing, never dying, never living to the fullest.
I am thankful for Adam and Eve. The serpent beguiling them was not an accident. God, in his infinite wisdom knew that their transgression was possible and built in a way for us to still win: our savior Jesus Christ. Through his life, we learned much, and through his suffering and death, we gained so much more. He is our brother and our God and he lives.
The next post will be about the 3rd Article of Faith, and you can find that link here when it is completed.