We know that Adam held a very important part in the creation of the world, so of course, our Heavenly Parents would put an equally important and valuable person by his side.
Eve was chosen before the foundation of the world to be an equal partner in all things with her husband. Elder Bruce R. McConkie commented, “We can do no other than to suppose that Eve was by Adam’s side, rejoicing in her foreordination to be the first woman, the mother of men, the consort, companion, and friend of mighty Michael” (Eve and the Fall, p.59).
As I have been studying about Eve, I have realized how much more we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know about her because of The Pearl of Great Price, The Book of Mormon, and modern-day revelation. We are so blessed to live in the fullness of times!
As President Russell M. Nelson put it in his talk A Plea to my Sisters, “We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve” (October 2015 General Conference). Here are four lessons that can help us follow her example:
1. Progression comes when we exercise faith in God’s plan for us.
As Eve was given the choice to partake of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, she understood there was no other way — that this path was the way and was always part of the plan.
Eve saw the bigger picture, which is something we can sometimes struggle with. She understood that her sacrifice in that moment would be for the greater good of all mankind. She had the faith and the courage to trust that God had a plan and a work for her outside her current comfort zone.
Heavenly Father didn’t send His first two children on Earth to fail; He sent them with the skills they needed to succeed. He knew that as they partook of the fruit that they would enter mortality and need a Savior to redeem them from their Fall. The Savior wasn’t a back-up plan, He was the plan!
Think of the power we as women could have if we had the courage of Eve — the courage to trust in our Father’s plan, and the determination to make bold decisions out of faith. When we act on faith like Eve, we don’t have to know the outcome, but we can trust in a God who does.
2. There is joy in becoming celestial.
In 2 Nephi 2:25 we learn that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
This is a common scripture that many of us have memorized and we often look at it as “We are here to be happy!”— which of course, is important — but the footnote for joy take things a level deeper. It reads, “Potential to become like Heavenly Father.” Adam and Eve did what they did for us to become like our Father, which couldn’t have happened if they had stayed in the Garden of Eden.
The times on Earth when we experience pure joy are the times when we are becoming little by little like our Father in Heaven: our baptism, temple marriage, feeling the witness of the Holy Spirit rush through us, having children, or even overcoming very hard trials – these are all moments when we are becoming like our Heavenly Father.
Perhaps a different way to look at that scripture might be, “Adam and Eve fell for us to become like our Heavenly Parents.”
Eve understood and taught his principle as she testified: “Were it not for our transgression we never should have…[known] the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11).
There is no greater joy — nor greater gift (D&C 14:7) — than receiving the eternal life that accompanies celestial “becoming.”
3. The sorrow of womanhood is Christ-like.
The scriptures teach us that Adam called his wife Eve because she was the “mother of all living” (Moses 4:26). Think of the power held in that title!
As the mother of all living, she was the first mortal to experience everything that goes along with being a woman for the first time (without a mother of her own to guide and mentor her.) I often wonder what those years after the Fall held for Eve as she experienced all of this. What courage she must have had! I would assume that she had divine assistance as she moved forward in faith.
God told Eve that “in sorrow [she would] bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). Similarly, Eve and all mothers after her would be a type of Christ, who Himself was “a man of sorrows” (Isa.53:3).
Through my own hard pregnancies, I have connected more to the Savior than any other time in my life. What greater honor is there than to better comprehend the Atonement through our own suffering?
But what of women who never have children in this life? How can the “mother of all living” compare now? Sheri Dew teaches us “Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us. Eve set the pattern. In addition to bearing children, she mothered all of mankind when she made the most courageous decision any woman has ever made and with Adam opened the way for us to progress. “ (“Are We Not All Mothers?”, November 2001)
All women can learn from the example of Eve. We all have the responsibility to nurture, love, and teach those around us—using any moments of sorrow we feel in the process to draw closer to our Savior.
4. Men and Women Should Stand Side by Side
When asked why he took the fruit, Adam said that the woman he was commanded to stay with took it first and gave it to him. Often we view this as sort of “finger pointing” at his female partner, but if you read it closely it’s more about Adam standing by her side. He clearly took the fruit because he understood the importance of his marital relationship with Eve and would not stay behind in the Garden without her.
In our SALT devotional with Sharon Eubank she said, “Men and women should walk side by side, shoulder by shoulder, to show the world how to work together to solve important problems.”
Sister Eubank went on to teach us that this is not just limited to husband and wife – men and women in all our capacities can work side by side in our callings, in ward councils, and as neighbors and friends. We have the opportunity to work as equal partners and show the world how to collaborate using our God-given complementary gifts!
Adam and Eve were inspiring examples as the first husband and wife on the Earth because regardless of the difficulties they faced — whether in paradise or the lone and dreary world — they bravely faced them together.
In conclusion, let’s re-word a paragraph from above and apply it to us women in modern day:
On this earth, we understand that there is no other way but God’s plan. We see the bigger picture, something we can faith in. We know our sacrifice now will be for the greater good. We know that God has a plan and a work for us! Heavenly Father didn’t send us on Earth to fail; He sent us with the skills we need to succeed. He knew that as we made mistakes that we would need a Savior to redeem us from the Fall. The Savior still isn’t a back-up plan — He is the plan!
I am so grateful for our Mother Eve and her faithful example!