The internet is full of feel-good phrases that, on the surface, sound warm and fuzzy, but which fall apart when you give them more than two seconds of thought. Such is the fallacy “you’re enough.” No, you’re not enough! If you were enough, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to have suffered and died for you. The very fact that the sinless Son of God had to suffer so exquisitely for you to become clean is evidence enough that you are simply not enough without Him.
The Fall of Adam is one of the least understood doctrines in Christendom. Yet, it’s a core tenet of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we don’t understand the Fall, we can’t possibly comprehend the need for a Savior. And without comprehending the need for a Redeemer, we won’t ever muster the faith necessary to come to Him, repent, and be sealed eternally as one of His children.
The Apostle Paul taught of the Fall:
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Because of the Fall, then, it became necessary for Christ to come. Because we “died” through the Fall, both spiritually and physically, Christ had to abolish death through His resurrection and make us spiritually alive in Him through His Atonement.
The great Christian scholar Elder Bruce R. McConkie called the Fall one of the “three pillars of eternity.” Said he:
“The atonement is part of the eternal plan of the Father. It came at the appointed time, according to the will of the Father, to do for man that which could not have been done in any other way. The atonement is the child of the fall, and the fall is the father of the atonement. Neither of them, without the other, could have brought to pass the eternal purposes of the Father.
“The fall of Adam and the atonement of Christ are linked together—inseparably, everlastingly, never to be parted. They are as much a part of the same body as are the head and the heart, and each plays its part in the eternal scheme of things.
“The fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world, and the atonement of Christ ransomed men from these two deaths by bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. This makes the fall as essential a part of the plan of salvation as the very atonement itself. . . .
“Truly, salvation comes because of the fall, and it is just as important to believe in the fall as it is to believe in the atonement, and, indeed, it is not possible to believe in the atonement without believing in the fall.”
The Fall necessitated the coming Christ, and by Christ comes salvation. The salvation of mankind “could not have been done in any other way.” We had to fall in order to rise! It was the only way. Adam and Eve, therefore, blazed the path which was necessary for us to follow. Christendom has condemned Adam and Eve, yet they were blessed souls who actually fulfilled the Father’s Plan of Happiness by using their agency to choose a hard life in mortality.
Think of the blessings and privileges this turbulent mortality offers: Pain, but progress; sexual intimacy and procreation; children and the joys of family life; learning lessons that could have been gained in no other way; a complete knowledge of good and evil, with the ability to fully choose our own destiny; a chance to prove our faithfulness to God in a world of opposition and temptation; and, finally, an opportunity to come to Christ, partake of His salvation, and, through Him and the ordinances of His Gospel, rise to become “heirs of God ” (Romans 8:16-17; Psalm 82:6).
Adam and Eve chose a harder life to fulfill a higher Plan; a greater struggle to earn greater rewards. A text that Christendom doesn’t yet accept as authentic, but which is a true account, contains statements from both Adam and Eve given after the Fall, which were recorded by the Hebrew prophet Moses in what was once a passage found in Genesis:
“And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.
“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
“And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: 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.
“And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (Moses 5:9-12).
We should honor Adam and Eve. They were the parents of the human race. They are role models of each of us. And they were righteous Christians who were redeemed through the blood of Christ the same as anyone can be.
The Fall, as you can see, was not the horrible tragedy most people assume it was. It was a necessary part of the Father’s Plan of Salvation. Had Adam and Eve remained in their infantile and innocent state in the Garden of Eden, they would’ve never had children, would’ve never fully known good from evil and thus would’ve never truly been free agents to choose their own destiny, and there would’ve been no progression because there would’ve been precious little opposition and opportunity to prove their faithfulness to God’s commands.
Life is a test in which we are to prove to our Father in Heaven that we willingly acknowledge His laws and choose to follow them in spite of opposition. This could’ve never happened had there been no Fall. The salvation of mankind was impossible in the Garden of Eden. It was only possible to attain in the Garden of Gethsemane. Again, I say, we ought to honor Adam and Eve!
Mortal life isn’t all sunshine and roses, of course. The Fall brought negative consequences, too. Instead of growing spontaneously, food now had to be cultivated. This requires a lot of physical labor. The Fall had a corrupting influence on our physical bodies, our internal composition, and on nature in general. Instead of possessing the luster of Heaven, all things now have the taint of death and corruption. This includes us. Human death became a reality because of the Fall. Death often brings sorrow and heartache. But the reverse is also true. The Fall brought life, love, intimacy, and joy into the world. These exquisite and extreme emotions were impossible in Eden.
The Fall not only brought physical, but spiritual death into the world. Because of our fallen state, our natures gravitate more easily towards sin and darkness. It is, in a measure, unavoidable. We all sin. We all run away from the light on occasion. We are all fallen and would remain so if Jesus Christ had not interceded on our behalf.
Ancient Hebrew prophets taught how fallen we truly are without Christ. One explained that the Fall:
“was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.
“Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state.
“But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God.
“And now if Christ had not come into the world . . . there could have been no redemption.
“And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
“But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ” (Mosiah 16:3-8).
Another ancient man of God taught:
“For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. . . .
“And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
“And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
“And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. (Alma 34:9,14-16).
And a third prophet explained:
“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
“Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
“O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. . . .
“O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit” (2 Nephi 9:6-8,10).
Another prophet expounded:
“[I]t behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.
“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. . . .
“And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.
“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
“And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
“But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:5-6,21-27).
Finally, a fifth Hebrew prophet elucidated the interconnection between the Fall and the Atonement thus:
“[H]is blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.
“But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. . . .
“. . . men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
“And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
“And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:11-12,18-21).
This doctrine is rich, pure, and fulfilling. It empowers us to know that the Fall was not some cosmic mistake, but that God knew all about it advance, needed for it to happen, and prepared a means by which we could overcome the Fall and rise to Heaven. We truly can “put off the natural man” and overcome our corrupt, fallen, and lost natures. We can use this fallen testing ground as a showcase for our obedience and faith. We can “choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men,” Jesus Christ, and avoid eternal death.
Our bodies will automatically be renewed through Christ’s resurrection. Spirit will join together again with an immortal body, just as Christ received when He rose from the tomb. This is a gift He gives us freely regardless of our faith or goodness. But the spirit is more important. The state of our soul in the eternities depends very much upon our acts and faith.
We may, if we repent, renew our spirits and avoid a second spiritual death. Whereas mankind was cut off from God because of the Fall, we may come back into His presence by virtue of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And that’s the key to it all – that the Messiah came to earth to fulfill the Atonement for fallen humanity so that His “mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety.”
Justice demanded that we fall, and we did. We put ourselves in a pit that we could not extricate ourselves from. We couldn’t earn our way out of it. We couldn’t wish ourselves to safety. We couldn’t get out by any effort of our own. We needed outside help. Jesus is that help. Because of Christ’s perfection, grace, virtue, honor, and goodness, we may, through faith in Him and obedience to His commands, access His mercy which overpowers justice and brings us back to our Father. But please understand – it’s not your good works, which God required, that save you, but Jesus Christ.
Why could Jesus save us? What made Him so different? Wasn’t He a man like us? Wasn’t He created as we are and born of a mortal mother? Yes and no. It’s true that God is the literal Father of our spirits and, as such, we have an amazing potential that can be realized through Jesus Christ. I wrote an entire book on that topic and I hope you keep that verity in mind as you go throughout life and as you face hard times. But Christ’s relationship with the Father was different and unique in at least one major way.
The Savior Jesus Christ was fully human, through his literal mother Mary, but He was also fully God through His literal Father. Though we are spirit children of God, we have fully mortal parents. Jesus, however, was the “only begotten” Son of God in the flesh. Because He was fully God, the Lord had the ability to be fully perfect and to conquer death, thus giving Him the tools to rescue us from the Fall.
For clarification, the literal Father of Jesus’ earthly body was our Heavenly Father. The Father endowed Jesus with the matchless power of God – a power you and I lack in our fallen state and can only access conditionally in accordance with His will. He was therefore the only One who had the possibility of redeeming us and reconciling us with God. Jesus was the Creator of Heaven and earth, the Jehovah of old, the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God, and the Redeemer of Israel. He was the only one empowered and authorized to save humanity.
Thankfully, the Lord kept His ancient promises, worked out His excruciating Atonement, and put Himself in a position to extend mercy and grace to you and me on certain conditions. These conditions are plainly listed in the holy scriptures. They include having faith, forsaking sin, confessing to correctly-constituted Priesthood authority, being baptized in the proper way, receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands of the Lord’s authorized servants, paying tithes and offerings, standing up for the Liberty wherein Christ makes us free, doing good to others, loving one another, being humble and meek and submissive, enduring to the end of our lives in righteousness and repenting again when we slip up, etc. It’s a tall order, but it’s the only path that leads to eternal joy, salvation, and exaltation with our families in God’s Kingdom. What could be better?
In conclusion, I want you to remember something. You are fallen. You are broken. You are imperfect. You are in a lost state. You are not enough. But the silver lining is that you don’t have to be! The Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, is enough. He doesn’t merely make up what you lack – He gives you everything you need. He extends His nail-pierced hand and offers you eternal life, peace, and eventual perfection. More accurately, then, we can say that you are not enough without Christ. But through Him and by His incomparable power, you may do all things.
I love my Savior. I don’t live up to His laws as perfectly as I ought to, but He knew I wouldn’t. He knew you wouldn’t. He knew that none of us could do it by ourselves no matter how much we desperately want to and try to. Because He loves us so strongly, He chose to suffer so terribly for us to provide a means of deliverance and salvation. He bled from every pore and gave His life to wash away our sins and imperfections so that we could enjoy peace, happiness, Light, Love, and Liberty with Him for eternity.
Again, I say, you’re not enough and you don’t have to be – Jesus Christ is enough. Turn to Him. Trust Him. Follow Him. Honor Him. And let Him encircle you in the arms of safety forevermore.
October 28, 2021