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Garden of Eden

by Graham W. Doxey

The significance of the Garden of Eden is fundamental among the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is referred to in each of the standard works. As one of the final steps in the Creation, God planted a garden eastward in Eden and placed in it varieties of animals and plants (Gen. 2:8-9). It was an idyllic environment, without enmity among living things and without death. Adam and Eve were given dominion over all things and directed to cultivate and beautify the garden (Gen. 2:15). However, in this pristine condition, Adam and Eve would have had no children (2 Ne. 2:22-25; Moses 5:11).

God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden and gave Adam and Eve their agency whether to partake of its fruit (Moses 7:32). Unless they ate, they would remain forever in the garden, limited in their ability to progress and without posterity. However, while partaking would bring opportunity to bear children and to learn good from evil by experience, including sorrow, pain, and death, they would be exiled temporarily from the presence of God. The decision of Eve and Adam to transgress a commandment of God and partake of the fruit of the tree brought mortality and death to them and to their posterity; for it made possible the human family upon the earth (2 Ne. 2:25). The Fall of Adam also made the Atonement of Jesus Christ necessary.

Neither biblical records nor secular history and archaeological research identify the dimensions or the location of the garden in terms of the present-day surface of the earth. Latter-day revelation specifies that as a mortal, Adam lived at Adam-ondi-Ahman in what is now Daviess County, Missouri (D&C 107:53-56; 116:1; 117:8). Several early LDS leaders, among them Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, stated that the Prophet Joseph Smith taught them that the Garden of Eden was located in what is now Jackson County, Missouri (JD 10:235; cf. 11:336-7; DS 3:74).

(See Basic Beliefs home page; The Gospel of Jesus Christ home page; The Fall of Adam home page)

Bibliography

Cowley, Matthias F. Wilford Woodruff, p. 481. Salt Lake City, 1964.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Garden of Eden

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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