25 February 2010

Was Eve Beguiled?

Whether earnestly promoted as Christian theology or merely mentioned in tasteless jest, Eve is too often painted in the colors of Pandora, a mythological figure whose unbridled curiosity unleashed a long train of potent ills against mankind. This is not the view of the Latter-day Saints.

In light of the LDS understanding that the Fall was a necessary prerequisite for mankind’s further progression and our rejection of the generally negative portrayals of Eve in historical Christianity, Mormon authors typically emphasize her perceptiveness and interpret her role as ultimately constructive. A few have, however, taken this view to what I take to be an untenable extreme, not only rightfully exonerating her from full accountability for her transgression and honoring her lifelong faithfulness, but in addition arguing that, for various reasons, she was not actually “beguiled” by Satan in her decision to take of the forbidden fruit.

Such a view goes well beyond the settled LDS doctrines that the Fall was an essential part of the divine plan from the beginning and that Adam and Eve did not commit a sinful or otherwise blameworthy act. Though it is easy to see how such views might arise from honest misunderstanding, a careful analysis will show that they should be no more a part of the beliefs of well-informed Latter-day Saints than the notion that Eve was a prototype of Pandora...

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