Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Does it Mean that Eve was Beguiled?


"And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." (Genesis 3:13)
 
Beguiled.

What does that word mean? 

For a long time I thought it only meant "tricked" or " deceived" and it bothered me to think that Eve, a woman who was suppose to be one of God's most valiant daughters, could be so easily duped.

I mean Moses wasn't deceived or tricked by Satan when he tried to appear to him as a being of light (Moses 1:12-16) Why then would Eve have been any less skeptical of Satan's claims? 

According to Hebrew scholar  Dr. Nehama Aschenasy the word translated as " beguiled" does not mean what we think it does. As I explained in my essay  " We Are Each Eve":
"Dr. Nehama Aschenasy, a Hebrew scholar, said that in Hebrew the word which is translated as beguiled in the Bible does not mean "tricked" or " deceived" as we commonly think. Rather, the Hebrew word is a rare verb that indicates an intense multilevel experience evoking great emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual trauma. As Aschenasy explained, it is likely that Eve's intense, multilevel experience, this " beguiling" by the serpent was the catalyst that caused Eve to ponder and evaluate what her role in tbe Garden really was." (The Gift of Giving Life: Re-discovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth, pgs. 2-3)
It completely changes our perspective on Eve if, instead of thinking of her being tricked into eating the fruit, we see her undergo an intense multilevel experience before choosing to partake. It is important to remember that Satan had used the symbol of the serpent, a symbol of Christ, to try to deceive her into thinking he had power and authority. He also didn't lie to her outright, he just told her half-truths.

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die (Lie) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Truth)" (Genesis 3:4-5)
Yet even his disguise and half disguised lies were not enough to deceive Eve into blindly eating the fruit. What Satan's efforts did do however was  to beguile her. He made her question, made her doubt, and sent her on a soul searching journey. 

What was her purpose in the garden?

 How were she and Adam to fulfill God's command to multiply and replenish the earth?

What was God's plan for her? 

Was there any other way it could be accomplished? 

These may have been questions she struggled with in the garden and one can only imagine that her choices must have weighed heavily on her heart. 

Eventually Eve chose to eat of the fruit, but not because she was deceived.
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,  and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Genesis 3:6)
Eve ate because she saw.

In her own words she explained,
"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." (Moses 5:11)
Furthermore, Adam also ate because he saw and understood. He said:
"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." (Moses 5:10)
And when the Lord called them forward there wasn't any blaming, just an account of what had happened. 
"And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." (Genesis 3:12-13)
Both Adam and Eve understood what they had done and they were both willing to accept the consequences in order to move God's great plan of happiness forward. Furthermore, God didn't curse them, that was reserved solely for Satan. What He did do was explain to them what the consequences of their choices were and give them direction for navigating the world He was sending them into.

I think that too often Eve gets vilified for eating the fruit, or is tagged as being easily duped, when really the truth is that what she did was an act of sheer bravery and faith. Her choice was a conscious, faith filled leap into the unknown, and her struggle in the Garden should not be overlooked.

Her choice made all other choices possible.

Adam and Eve Statue, Villa Montalvo, CA

"Mother, who willingly made that personal journey into the valley of the
shadow of death to take us by the hand and introduce us to birth—even to mortal life—deserves our undying gratitude."

—Thomas S. Monson

71 comments:

  1. The new film in the temple portrays this really well.

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    1. I agree! That was what actually prompted this post. It was nice to see these truths portrayed more clearly because the world really doesn't make eve out to be so great sometimes. But really she was incredible!

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    2. I don't understand why a trangression would make Eve any less incredible or amazing. It simply makes her human.

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    3. Here's the thing, I think that God gave her a choice with a warning right? But, instead of partaking of her own choice, she only took after being tempted by Satan. Therein lies the transgression. She believed Satan over God. Also, she did it without Adam. They should have made the choice together. So, yes she was brave, but perhaps it could have been done without transgression if she had chosen to do it for God. ??

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    4. Yes. Human. Human has great potential. 2Nephi2:35. "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy". And human has great potential to become like our savior.

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    5. I believe she understood exactly what she was doing. Heavenly Father knew exactly what was going to happen. Agency is a very real thing in this situation. When tempted I don't believe for a second she was trusting Satan over God. Adam and Eve understood a lot more then what we give them credit. Eve understood she needed to break the one commandment, so that man might be and agency could be preserved. With the "fall" they learned more about their purpose for their earthly experiences. They were given more commandments and the ability to repent. The garden, if you think about it, represented living in the presence of God; with that came pure knowledge. The descendants of Adam and Even needed to walk by faith. Adam and Eve needed to understand being out of God presence also, Eve understood all this. I believe it was a real wrestle within her heart. Adam too, I believe he wrestled and then came to her to partake of the fruit also. It was better for them to introduce transgression and repentance (choice & accountability), so that we could understand that everything has its opposite and have our agency. I think Satan hoped that he could force Adam and Eve into following and serving him. He wanted to show that his plan of forcing us to obey was better than Gods plan of happiness. Satan was stripped of certain "powers and priesthoods" and was cursed and now understood that we with the Savior had power to overcome him. It was then Satan's plan to make as many as he could to and loose their inheritance as he had. I'm personally very grateful for Eve having the courage to "transgress," so that I can learn to follow Christ with all the bumps and bruises that come along with it. I now have agency because of her choice and know this was the plan. We are not given any more information of there being another way. Love the plan as it is. Grateful for the Temple for teaching me the way to return back to the Savior and Heavenly Father.

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  2. Lots to think about here. Thank you for bringing attention to the nuanced meaning of the word translated for us as 'beguiled'. We so often miss true meanings in the scriptures because of difficulty with translations. My aha moment in this post came as I read "intense multilevel experience evoking great emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual trauma." It suddenly occurred to me that Eve had perhaps the first faith crisis. She then had to work her way through the confusing, contradictory, challenging ideas and principles that had been placed before her, and make a choice. I imagine that it may have taken her a much longer time than is normally depicted to make that choice. That poignant, heart-rending question, "Is there no other way?" has always brought tears to my eyes. But Elohim knew that He had to let her choose, and experience the consequences. Thank you for posting these ideas, and giving me the opportunity to think through them myself!

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    1. When Eve asks "Is there no other way?" it also affects me deeply. It has given me a spiritual link as a form of a type of Christ, referring to that pivotal time in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked a similar question about the bitter cup. Both were chosen for their role they would play, both launched humanity into the next realm of possibilities.

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    2. I had never noticed that similarity, yet both instances of their question to the Lord touches me greatly! Thank you.

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    3. When Satan says, "No, there is no other way" I always remember that he is the father of all lies. And I wonder...was there another path to mortality??

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    4. Zach- That is profound. Thank you for such poignant and thought provoking comments.

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  3. One more thought...my own heart rending question. Why, if the choice Eve made was so key to the whole plan of salvation, was she 'rewarded' with the consequence of no direct relationship with God the Father. In the eternities, she/we has/have only a tangential, or secondary relationship with Him. I want to be a priestess and queen to Him. Is that wrong of me? I have struggled with this for decades.

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    1. Good quesions, Nancy. My understanding is that Eternal Life will be with God the Father and Jesus in their Celestial Kingdom, not away from them at all. However, the consequence of Eve's choice was that she would get to try things out on her own for a time (this lifetime) without God's presence so undeniably near as it had been before---it was the gift of agency and a chance for greater growth. But as we know, so very challenging, as well.

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    2. And I'm sure it's heartbreaking for our Father at times to watch us mess it up so badly. But I know there are times when he's proud of us, too. As an imperfect, human, but loving parent, I am 100% certain that our Father wants a direct and personal relationship with you forever, Nancy. We have so much to learn from Him, and I don't think he would have made billions of us if he didn't really love his kids and want us around for a long, long time.

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    3. What has helped me a lot with it is looking at the roles of men and women in the whole plan of salvation. Women are responsible for the veil of birth--helping everyone into the earthy existence. And Men are responsible for the veil of death---helping everyone to come back into God's presence. In earth life, we look to our husbands to help us go back into God's presence, not that we are secondary.

      In this light, it had to be Eve to make the decision, because her decision brought children and others into their earthy existence. She had to partake of the fruit and Adam had to follow.

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    4. Nancy, I don't have an answer but just wanted you to know that I also feel grieved over that promise. You're not alone in feeling confused and concerned by that.

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    5. Nancy, I don't know if you will ever read this, but that question makes my heart ache too.

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    6. Nancy, I am confused! I don't understand what you infer when you say"secondary relationship"?
      I think that we are so much more important to the whole plan than anything, after Jesus Christ's atonement of course. I believe that men need to have that kind of relationship with the Father because they are so much more heart harder that they need to experience Him in a diferente way as for us, we are always willing to do what is right without questions and hesitations for most of the part. So please excuse my ignorance. Can you explain?

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    7. I don't view women's relationship with God as "secondary" at all! I don't have a husband to turn to so I have a direct relationship with the Lord and I'm striving everyday to get even close to Him! Yes, the only way for me to get as close to Him in the next life as I can is through marriage to a man, but the same is true for the men, so that doesn't necessarily make me secondary!

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    8. I think God knows how important the relationship between a husband and wife is and put us in charge of reambering and taking care of that relationship. Women tend to remember the Lord more readily then men so I think we have that calling to remember and to remind our husbands of the importance of marriage and cleaving to each othe. In the end, that relationship it what truly makes us like our God so its really is a huge responsibility. This isn't doctrine though, just a thought I had

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    9. I think that it's Gods way of protecting a marriage. Because we as women tend to be more spiritual and remember our relationship with our God more readily, I feel that he had put us incharge of remembering out relationship with our husband and reminding him of the sanctity as well. In the end, this relationship is the cap stone experience that will give is the tools nessisary to become like our God. I think that covenant he has us make really reminds us to cleave to each other. It's really a great responsibility. Idk though. That's just my thought

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    10. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days, we are assured that we too will be Queens and Priestesses to the Most High God.

      President Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth President of the Church taught:
      “It is within the privilege of the sisters of this Church to receive exaltation in the kingdom of God and receive authority and power as queens and priestesses.”

      Elder Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine stated:
      "Those women who go on to their exaltation, ruling and reigning with husbands who are kings and priests, will themselves be queens and priestesses. They will hold positions of power, authority, and preferment in eternity.”

      Elder James E. Talmage says:
      “Woman shall yet come to her own, exercising her rights and her privileges as a sanctified investiture which none shall dare profane. Then shall woman reign by Divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the Most High God. Mortal eye cannot see nor mind comprehend the beauty, glory, and majesty of a righteous woman made perfect in the celestial kingdom of God.”

      I am confident that Heavenly Father values His daughters just as much as he values His sons.

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    11. Consider this:
      I have never believed that Eve and Adam were set up to disobey. There isn't another instance I can think of where Heavenly Father tried to do something by making people disobey him.
      Look at the exchange between Heavenly Father and Satan where Satan is asked what he's been doing here, and Satan answers that he has been doing that which has been done in other worlds, giving the fruit to Adam and Eve. To me, this says that eventually, Heavenly Father would have permitted Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit after additional learning, but Satan tried to thwart the plan by making them jump the gun to the end without getting that additional insight.
      How would things have been different if they'd waited? Well, we already know we had agency from the very beginning, or Eve wouldn't have been able to disobey. I don't think that the world would have carried on in its ideal state, since much of what is wrong with the world can be tracked bad to our negligent actions. So we still would have existed in a world with trials and the need to exercise our agency. What did Satan's causing Eve to jump the gun change then?
      My thought is that we would have had additional gospel insights about the "conditions" for living in the world and what our ultimate goals are, which would have saved us from a lot of struggle and frustration. Maybe the way the eternal plan works has always been that wives would covenant to serve as priestesses to their husbands, and not directly to Heavenly Father. In this interpretation, Heavenly Father didn't declare this form of covenant as a negative consequence (because you did x, which was very bad, you will now covenant with your husband and be a priestess to him instead of me) but was skipping ahead to the end game without the full doctrinal explanation to Eve (because you did x ahead of schedule, you will now have enter a covenant relationship with your husband that you would have made eventually anyway, but now you aren't getting the full context for it, because you have to enter the lone and dreary world immediately instead of after 4 years of seminary and 4 years of institute). I mean, think of how much grief and suffering Satan was able to cause by kicking Adam and Eve into the fast track of leaving the garden. All the men whose souls were blacked because they exercised unrighteous dominion and all the women who suffered from it, physically and spiritually. All the confusion and faith crises that came of it, all the feminine potential lost because of the women who believed they were lesser or cursed. When the reality is that eventually, if we are righteous and Christlike, we will become gods, and the way that looks is with the husband as a Heavenly Father and the wife as a Heavenly Mother, serving as a queen and priestess, and our sealing to our current Heavenly Father as a women occurs through our husband's sealing to Him, just like a child born in the covenant never actually has to be sealed to his or her parents, because that sealing is already covered by the covenant made by the parents. And, yes, there will be some who don't marry and some who marry men who are unrighteous or who are not members. That is why we have temples, though, and we've been promised that the ability to marry will not be withheld from those who are righteous. I think the reason for that is because that is how women are bound to Heavenly Father, period, and not as a result of Eve’s choice.
      I don't think it had to be Eve who was beguiled in order to bump them on the fast track out of the garden. I think that Satan knew that going after Eve would cause confusion about the power of woman's divine role from the start and be a powerful tool of suffering and confusion.

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    12. I believe I have a very close relationship to my Father in Heaven and that he wants that for all of his children. I have never felt that my husband gets a closer relationship to him than I do. Maybe I do not understand your question, but I know women are in no way secondary in the ability to obtain a very close and direct relationship to our Father in Heaven. God has never, never wanted me to feel less than anyone. I realize now if I ever felt less it was because I was listening to my own insecurities and doubts and not going directly to him to feel my worth. You are so special to him Nancy, as was Eve. I have always believed her to be so very wise and that the world had it so wrong when they depicted her in any negative light.

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    13. A F---I really appreciate your insight I have felt that same confusion in the translation of this interaction between God and Adam and Eve. I always wondered what was really said and intended and what happened "in other worlds". And I like the idea you suggested that they may have received more light and knowledge and Eve may have jumped the gun. I can see instances in my life as a wife when I've done a seemingly good or right thing but ended up being not as good because i went ahead without consulting my husband and communicating. Isn't this common strife in marriage!? Eve was a real person---more real and similar to me than i realized. She made mistakes, she was brave, she was smart, but she made mistakes. What a relief. So do I. I think i finally identify with eve more than i ever have. For that I am grateful. I don't know what we may have lost or what might have changed in mortal life or if it did at all. But I trust it was what we needed. I trust God knew how Eve would choose and that the plan would not be thwarted. That God knew great things could come of those choices. Just like I hope and trust good will still come to my children despite my weaknesses. Thanks for your thoughts.

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    14. When Adam and Eve left the garden the Lord cursed the ground for their SAKE. The curse wasn't a punishment, the hardship was meant to teach Adam and Eve valuable principles that would shape them into the future king and queen they would be. Likewise, I think Eve was not being punished or distanced from the Lord, but being taught to be humble and submissive. She disobeyed father in the garden, it makes sense that Heavenly Father would want her to learn to be obedient and submissive to his will. It is for our BENEFIT to learn these things. It is hard to do! Especially in a world that would have us believe we are somehow secondary or unequal to our husbands in the Gospel. More lies from Satan to shake our understanding and faith. More beguiling. If we can willingly submit to the Lord's plan, be teachable, and show Him that we will do it in confident FAITH, trusting that He LOVES us, what a joyous exchange that will be!!

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  4. I so totally love this!! Thank you for making such important points. The idea that she was tricked never sat too well with me either, since I have long believed that she saw the bigger picture before Adam did and so was wise.

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  5. I hate it when people bash on Eve. I think she knew exactly what and why she did what she did.

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    1. I know right? I can't wait to meet her and hear her tell the truth of how it went down. I can't wait to thank her. I love earth life.

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  6. Without offering the opportunity for temptation (the tree of good and evil) Adam and Eve would not have had opportunity to exercise agency, which was essential to God's plan. They were given two contradictory commandments: one to multiply and replenish the Earth; the second not to partake of the fruit of that tree. They could not satisfy the first without breaking the second, as they could not become fruitful until they became mortal. I've always thought of the word "beguiled" to mean something similar to seduction. She was seduced into trusting Satan. I suspect it was more in hindsight that she and Adam (Moses 5:12, 11) gained clearer understanding. They could not......would not.......have rejoiced in transgression against God, but did rejoice when they gained knowledge that they would not be eternally lost, but would be saved with their posterity by the atoning sacrifice of the Savior. The knowledge and rejoicing expressed in Moses 5 came as they gained fuller understanding of that loving redemption and God's eternal purposes.

    Loved your post and contemplations, Heather.

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    1. I agree with the hindsight. Reading scripture it shows all the reasoning and understanding as having taken place AFTER their eyes were opened.

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    2. Exactly. Notice that her first attempt to get Adam to partake of the fruit was exactly the same as Satan's: "it is delicious to the taste and very desirable." Adam initially refuses, so then Eve points out that Adam will have to choose between being alone in the Garden of Eden or being with Eve outside it. He then agrees. And only after both have eaten do they realize (A) WHO Satan really was, and (B) that they will ultimately be better off knowing good from evil, despite passing through much sorrow.

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    3. I also remember that prior to partaking of the fruit she didn't recognize him. She had no basis to determine good from evil. She had no reason not to trust him.

      The role of Satan is this little drama is also fascinating to me. He can't know the mind of God (Moses 4:6) and see God's endgame (atonement, exaltation) and his single-minded goal is to destroy man. So, does God know this and uses Satan to His own purposes?

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  7. Thank you for your enlightning article. I have always loved Eve. She was very much in tune with the Father. She saw the bigger picture, and knew the consequences of her choice would affect all mankind for the greater good. I, for one, am grateful for what she did.

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  8. I have been thinking about these very things since I saw the new temple film as well. It changed my entire perspective on Eve. My love for her and understanding of the choices she made grew immensely as I sat through the session. Thanks for a wonderful post.
    One more thing to think about: God did not curse Adam and Eve, it's true. Satan was cursed, but so was the earth. The ground was cursed for THEIR SAKE so they would have to learn to work for their livelihood. Re-read the passages carefully. It's an eye opener.
    Thanks again!

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  9. Interesting perspective. I would also recommend reading Chapter 5 of The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister. That has an interesting perspective too.

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  10. Nancy, Our Heavenly Father already has "a Priestess and a Queen". She is His Eternal Companion, our Heavenly Mother. The Father's eternal plan is that husbands and wives should be united to His Eternal Family by the power of the Holy Priesthood, a responsibility in which we share. In his book, "The House of the Lord", James E. Talmage said, "It is a precept of the church that women of the church share the authority of the priesthood with their husbands...." Eve made an "executive decision" that seriously affected Adam before counseling with him. As a result, God reminded Eve to seek counsel with her faithful husband and with the Lord. We walk beside our husbands, having united and personal relationship with God. Our relationship with God is not secondary.

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    1. It's exactly what I think. That is why I thought that maybe I misunderstood her point. I love your comment and totally agree with it!

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  11. Great thoughts. I think we have a lot to learn about the greatness of Eve. Slowly we are learning this and as we do we feel more empowered as women in our own lives.

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  12. I am going to follow your blog. This post expresses exactly what I have thought for a long while now; Eve's act was an act of courage and faith. She's one of the people I most want to meet in the next life. So glad I stumbled onto your blog - looks like fantastic material!

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  13. It appears that the comment on the Hebrew word translated as "beguiled" originates with Beverly Campbell's address given address April 2, 1993, at the 11th annual conference of Collegium Aesculapium in Salt Lake City, Utah. It can be found online at several locations, including http://www.kenningtons.com/kennington/campbell.htm. It is well worth a careful reading.
    Regarding the term "beguiled", if one looks at other instances of KJV translations of the same Hebrew term, the word choice seems to me to be a better choice than other possibilities - the translators might have used terms such as "tricked" or "deceived" to convey the idea that Eve was simply defrauded, which she apparently was not.
    I wonder what better word or phrase could be used to convey Eve's "intense multilevel experience."
    I also wonder if Dr. Aschkenasy ever published on this point, perhaps in one of the books she has listed on Amazon. Does anyone know?

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    1. There is no question that Satin's intent was to trick or dupe or deceive Eve. A futile attempt to destroy eternity. But it is indeed conceivable that what was satanic trickery was for Eve an intense epiphany that opened the door to mortality.

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    2. There is no question the Satin's intent was to deceive or trick Eve. All in an effort to destroy God's eternal plan. But what goes around comes around...so instead of being tricked Eve experiences an epiphany and thus opens the door to mortality consequently perpetuating eternity.

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  14. I love this post! I never liked the story of Adam and Eve while I was growing up exactly because of the reasons you said above: Eve being tricked or duped by the serpent. After a while I started to understand that she made a conscious decision which allows for us all to be here. Your post further solidifies my testimony of her. The story of Adam and Eve is now quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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  15. I love your explanation of the word "beguiled" and the reasoning behind Eve's decision. I think it provides great insight into her character and the strength of her righteous desires. I tend to hold a less-popular opinion though, in that I don't choose to ignore the "deceived" aspect of the story. Heavenly Father is God; He is perfect. Thus His plan was perfect. I don't think He gave contradictory commandments. I think He had a plan. Certainly, as long as Adam and Eve had immortal bodies, they could not conceive. But just as we as parents hope that our own children will grow up to become fully responsible and functioning adults, we would never allow a young child to drive a car. It's not a "No, you can NEVER drive" kind of thing, it's a "No, you aren't prepared to drive" kind of thing. If Eve had chosen to obey God's command to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Heavenly Father would have done as he likely did in other worlds he created and given Adam and Eve the fruit in His own due time.

    Another way to look at this is to take the commandment that we have been given to "go forth and preach the gospel to all the earth." This would seem to contradict the fact that we have also been commanded to "obey the laws of the land". There are countries that have forbidden proselyting of the gospel. Does the Church then choose to break one commandment "obey the laws" in order to keep another? No, we have been repeatedly assured that the Lord will bring about his full purposes in his OWN due time. We are told to wait patiently for the Lord to bring to pass his designs.

    I sincerely appreciate this post you’ve written. I think it’s high time people seek to better understand Eve’s part of the creation story, and your post provokes careful thought and conversation. Thanks for writing it.

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    1. Yes. I just wrote a comment along these lines. This has been how I've come to see the experience, too, especially in light of the line in the temple that satan had been doing that which has been done in other worlds. I think that he caused them to have to leave the garden and their instructionary period early.

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  16. Yes, I agree, Eve knew exactly what she was doing. She was DISOBEYING God. It was NOT an act of "courage" and "faith"; anymore than somebody killing their husband and saying it was an act of "courage" and "faith". What Eve did was a simple act of "disobedience"! Man's hearts haven't changed over thousands of years and God never changes. " Disobedience" to God is ALWAYS wrong and is never misconstrued in scripture as an "act of courage or faith"!

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    1. In contrast to most readers of the Bible, we believe that Adam and Eve both should be commended for what they did to bring about the Fall. We understand that without the Fall none of us could have come to the earth and the whole plan of salvation would have been frustrated (see 2 Ne. 2:25). Adam said: “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” (Moses 5:10). Eve likewise rejoiced: “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” (Moses 5:11).

      The Lord gave Adam and Eve four commandments in the Garden of Eden. They were to multiply and replenish the earth (see Gen. 1:28; Moses 2:28; Abr. 4:28). They were to govern the earth wisely (have dominion over it) (see Moses 2:28; Abr. 4:26). They were not to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and if they did they would experience serious consequences (see Gen. 2:17; Moses 3:17; Abr. 5:13). And they were to remain with each other (see Gen. 2:24; Moses 3:24; Abr. 5:18). In the case of two of these commandments—to multiply and replenish the earth and to refrain from partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil—Adam and Eve had to choose which they were to obey. Procreation was not possible for them in their immortal state (see 2 Ne. 2:22–25), yet Heavenly Father would not rob them of their agency by making the choice for them. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “The Lord said to Adam that if he wished to remain as he was in the garden, then he was not to eat the fruit, but if he desired to eat it and partake of death he was at liberty to do so.” 19 In essence the Lord told Adam that there were two directions to go, each with its unique consequences—and that Adam was to choose which one.

      From President Brigham Young we learn: “Some may regret that our first parents sinned. This is nonsense. If we had been there, and they had not sinned, we should have sinned. I will not blame Adam or Eve. Why? Because it was necessary that sin should enter into the world; no man could ever understand the principle of exaltation without its opposite; no one could ever receive an exaltation without being acquainted with its opposite. How did Adam and Eve sin? Did they come out in direct opposition to God and to his government? No. But they transgressed a command of the Lord, and through that transgression sin came into the world. The Lord knew they would do this, and he had designed that they should. Then came the curse upon the fruit, upon the vegetables, and upon our mother earth; and it came upon the creeping things, upon the grain in the field, the fish in the sea, and upon all things pertaining to this earth, through man’s transgression.” 20 This comes directly from LDS.org and a talk by Robert Woodward. It sheds great light on Adam and Eve and their choice.

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  17. I tried to carefully review the Temple film for evidence that Eve knew of a Savior or the Atonement BEFORE she partook of the forbidden fruit. From everything I could see, Eve finds out AFTER she partakes. I considered this quite disturbing. People can talk favorably about the "nature of Eve", her "desire for children" etc., but without a knowledge of a Savior or the Atonement, it seemed to me that the world she gave Adam and their children without a Savior was frightening. That world included spiritual death (God's word), Satanic domination--as horrible as that is (twisted abuse by a perverted megalomaniacal despot)--and physical death. We would all have been cut off from God, and been beaten from pillar to post by the Prince of Darkness without a Savior. Eve did not know that God would eventually "place enmity between thee and the seed of the woman..." thus protecting them from evil domination in the clutches of Satan forever. She found out about that AFTER partaking. When I really thought through Eve's decision to follow Lucifer--without a knowledge of a Savior or Atonement--it wasn't a pretty picture. In the midst of these critical thoughts, I was going to write a critical comment about Eve in this forum. I had it all typed out, and was ready to "publish" when the computer had a software glitch. I was not able to send, and decided to wait till later to re-type it.. Well, 2 days went by and I was on my way to church when I had a personal spiritual experience that was totally unexpected. I thought I felt the veil thin, and I had the distinct impression that heaven--especially my mother Eve--was very displeased with my critical comments. These spiritual impressions came as it were, out of no where. I was humbled exceedingly. I was made to "understand" through these spiritual impressions that my "logic" was somehow completely missing the mark. I was wrong. How, I still do not understand, but after I received those feelings I felt ashamed of my ignorance and criticism, and repented immediately of my thoughts and intention to publish anything critical of Eve. I wish to say publicly how much I love and appreciate our holy, glorious, wonderful mother Eve. I am grateful I have been "favored" with this experience, because it has helped me be more humble and have deeper love for our great mother, Eve. I encourage anyone who has struggled with things you do not understand about the history of God's dealings with mankind to wait patiently for the Lord to reveal the truth of what is troubling you. Sometimes we are the ones that need to change our own thoughts. Even if it is not given to us to understand why.. Nuff said.

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    1. Seems like you've had a pretty strong experience about this and are still looking for answers. I think it would be more beneficial if you sought out the truth instead of waiting patiently for it to be reveled. For example, after Lehi had a vision, Nephi desired to understand the depth of the vision his father had, and requested to be shown the interpretation of the dream. "For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord..." 1 Nephi 11:1. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" Matthew 7:7-8. With the experience as strong as you had regarding this topic, I am pretty sure that you will be granted the opportunity to have great insight into Eve's intentions and actions if you seek the guidance in prayer and fasting.

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    2. It has been my impression that we all knew the plan that was presented in the council of Heaven, meaning Lucifers plan and Christs plan to have a Savior, and as a result of that, Adam and Eve were sent to the Garden. We know that they were like children, not knowing good from evil, so perhaps they had been taught, but like us, they needed faith building experiences? Where they may not have completely understood what it all meant until that moment, whereas before it was just a "Sunday School lesson"? Eve may have had a moment of crushing reality of what earth life meant and hence the beguiling.

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  18. May I add another quote that supports all of this?

    Consider Eve, the mother of all living. Elder Russell M. Nelson said this of Eve: “We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve’s great courage and wisdom. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise.”4 (Daughters in the Covenant)

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  19. Loved these comments. I am serving an mission in West Africa with my husband a the moment. It has opened my eyes to so many things. I have been reading about Adam and Eve and pondering some of these very things. I came across this post while attempting to find a quote I heard once and can no longer remember accurately. Perhaps someone out there can help.

    I am not certain who said it but basically it said, "Eve knew exactly what she was doing....and so did Adam as soon as she explained it to him"
    I would appreciate any leads on this.

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  20. Thank you for your insight. I have recently begun studying about Eve and the Fall. 1Timothy 2:14 clearly states that Eve was deceived. But by taking 5 minutes to look up the definitions of beguile and deceive I found that they have a common, historical, unexpected meaning. the dated meaning is : to help pass ( time) pleasantly. The archaic meaning of deceive is : to while away time. So Eve was beguiled and deceived, but that doesn't mean she didn't make a well thought out choice, or that she shouldn't be honored.

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  21. So your saying she was enchanted like hypnosis?

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    1. No, not enchanted. In the Bible it says that Eve "saw" that the fruit was good. I think she had a pretty good understanding of what she was doing. It was just that Satan did what he does to all of us, tempts us and tries to get us to do he wants us to do. Satan though that by getting Eve to eat of the fruit god's work would be ruined, but what he didn't understand was what Eve did, that eating the fruit could help God's plan move forward.

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  22. I'm late to this discussion, but I have enjoyed and appreciated the insights here. Many of the comments reflect what I have come to believe and feel about Eve; some do not. But the intersection of the two has given me additional understanding.

    What did Eve understand? That's the fundamental question. Did she understand the full meaning of the choice she was making, and was it made as the result of careful thought, emotional and spiritual trauma? Or did she understand it only as a choice to obey or disobey God, with horrific consequences?

    I agree she didn't know about the Savior. That knowledge came later. So why did she make that choice?

    I think the answer is in the commandments God gave to Adam and Eve, and in Eve's stated role. God told them to accept dominion over all, and to multiply and replenish the earth. (And interestingly, in both the Genesis and Abrahamic accounts, those commands precede Eve's appearance, suggesting she got them secondhand from Adam).

    Eve, being the mother of all living, must have felt that command to multiply very deeply. It was her mission. It was her life's work. But as long as she and Adam remained in innocence in the Garden, she couldn't accomplish it.

    Meanwhile, she and Adam could tend and dress the garden. Adam could perform the essence of his mission as he cared about and for her and the animals and plants. He had Priesthood responsibilities, whimsical as they may seem. He named the animals. He named Eve and pronounced her mission as the mother of all living. He could replenish the garden, tidy things up. It wasn't much, but it was something that may have made him feel he was fulfilling his purpose to the best of his ability.

    I believe both Adam and Eve felt some anxiousness, a longing to move forward. They waited for more light and knowledge. They knew this garden existence wasn't all, and they looked forward to learning and progressing.

    But Eve must have felt it keenly. She was the mother of all living, she was to bring children into the world (to multiply...)--and she could not. There was nothing to give her a sense that she was fulfilling her purpose, nothing at all.

    She knew that children were part of the plan, because God had commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth. She did not know about the Savior.

    I think what she saw in the choice before her was an opportunity to fulfill her mission as the mother of all living. She knew that was part of the plan. She knew she would be cast out of God's presence and that her children would therefore be born separated from Him. I wonder if part of her decision process was a developing hope in God--that if this choice was necessary for her to fulfill her mission as the mother of all living, and if this choice would also thrust her and her children out of God's presence, that God had a solution and he would reveal it to her and Adam.

    It has given me a lot to think about this morning.

    (And FTR--I also wonder at being at arm's length from God, but I have developed a hope and a trust that God has a solution to that, too, something about those symbolic ordinances that I don't yet understand.)

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    1. I appreciate your insights.

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    2. Eve may not yet have know about the Savior and his mission to save us all, but she DID know her Heavenly Father. She knew Him, talked with Him. She trusted HIM. She knew that trusting her Creator would not lead her wrong.

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    3. That is something that seems to bother many of us as women. When I consider that my husband is at my right, and that we want to be found at the right hand of God, doesn't that place Him to our left? So it is really the man who is an arm length away. A thought, anyway.

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  23. New here, and loving it! I know this was written several years ago, but thought I’d add anyway. Hopefully I can articulate well enough what I’m meaning. Always seem to struggle with that!

    I’ve heard S. Michael Wilcox (CES teacher & author) teach about Adam/Eve many times. He points out how in the Genesis account, it says when Eve looked at the tree, she saw that it was good. But in the Moses 4 account, it says: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it BECAME pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” Brother Wilcox stressed the word “became,” and how initially the tree wasn’t all that enticing or interesting to her, but the more she looked it at (much like the more we look at sin), the more enticing it BECAME. This concept would ring true with what you’ve shared, Heather. If, by being “beguiled,” Eve went through “an intense multilevel experience evoking great emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual trauma,” the more she looked at the tree, the more it would have BECOME enticing to her as she pondered upon her & Adam’s role in bringing forth children in our Heavenly Father’s plan... In other words, the more her ponderings would have caused her to make the correct choice, because she would have understood more fully what her choice would lead to.

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  24. May I also add a point, I firmly believe that A Man, not a snake, talked Eve into partaking of the tree. A euphemisms,a dirty rotten scoundrel, "a snake", a trickster, "a snake". I firmly believe neither Eve nor Satan was a "parsel-tongue". As there are other euphemisms in the Old Testament, this is a better way for me to follow this story. Great insight and contribution to an old argument.

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  25. This post is such heresy and wishful thinking. It is exactly the philosophies of people (culture) mingled w scripture.

    So sad that culture and myth has hijacked scripture . Sad because the gospel is so wonderful without these vein interpretations and twisting to make some women feel better about themselves .

    Our current culture loves to quote the scripture " ...were it not for our transgression we never would have had seed ..." to show that Eve figured it out and then partook. But this was AFTER she fell that she realized this, AFTER her eyes were opened . Eve (and Adam) knew NOTHING before eve partook.
    Nowhere, nothing , not even a hint in the scriptural record conveys that Eve figured it out .

    Moreover , as a result , Eve turns to and covenants with Adam , whereas Adam covenants Directly to God. The record is clear : Eve was deceived and beguiled by Satan . "It is delicious to the taste and very desirable." Satan is a liar , a pseudo truth teller.
    Can God use Satan to accomplish his purposes ? Ofcourse . But to add our own desirable and delicious myth turned doctrine is truely an example if apostasy

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  26. I appreciate many of the comments here too and was happy to see some that I have thought but never hard elsewhere--mainly grannieannies comments about Eve's making an executive decision before consulting Adam and her then beng given the instructions to counsel with him. As well as the thought that if they had waited and resisted satans temptations that a way to become parents would have been provided. Also, I think it is important to remember that neither Adam nor Eve were playing with an entirely full deck when it comes to reasoning and sin. It is clearly stated that they were like little children. These weren't two fully responsible adults puzzling things out. They were more limited than that. I don't know exactly how accountable they will be held but I imagine Heavenly Father will take into consideration this factor which certainly changes the idea of this being a sin into more of a transgression because their level of knowledge and ability to predict the consequences would necessarily be affected by their being like little children.

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  27. Nancy, I know it has been nearly three years since you posted your question. I hope you have the chance to read all of these continued comments.

    I also have pondered this same question and used to feel uncomfortable about what the sisters are asked to covenant to. I have pondered this and prayed about it for quite some time.

    As I have continued to carefully listen to the wording, I realize that the sisters covenant to listen to the counsel of their husbands as long as their husbands are listening to the counsel they (husbands) are receiving from Heavenly Father. The sisters are actually asked to continue (with Eve as their model) to act righteously and use their spiritual gift of discernment.

    In addition, my understanding is that each sister will become the priestess and queen to her husband in the sense that potentially they will serve together in those roles. Meaning, that they will be matched together in the eternities. This is due to further covenants made in the temple and kept throughout our lifetimes as we endure to the end. The promise made being that the sisters will be able to serve with their husbands, in those roles, if he continues to be obedient and endure to the end. To me, this aligns well with the doctrine that women will not be withheld from eternal life by an unrighteousness husband.

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  28. God would never command you to do anything without telling you how or showing you. The whole idea of women not having equal access to God without a man is the same spirit of memory that Lucifer has for Eve. Remember its thru Eve he will be crushed not Adam and he was thru Mary who didn't need a husband to make it happen

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  29. 1 Timothy 2:14 speaks of Eve being deceived. Moses 4:6 also states that Satan "sought also to beguile Eve" - it's something he aimed to accomplish.

    It should be remembered - as other people have pointed out - that Eve (and Adam's) later perspective is retrospective. They are many things in hindsight (esp. due to revelations via an Angel and the reception of the spirit) that they did not see at the time and especially prior to partaking of the fruit.

    For that matter Satan also didn't fully understand what was going on, for immediately after stating that he sought to "beguile" Eve, the book of Moses explains "for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world" (Moses 4:6).

    I'm also not sure of the comparative exercise that's motivating this reading: sure, Moses resisted Satan in Moses 1, but by definition as a human being there's going to be points at which he succumbed to temptation. Only one person ever born on Earth never did. Adam and Eve are not just people, they're also types of each of us, and each of us on occasion is "beguiled" - it's why all of us, male and female, need the atonement of Christ.

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  30. When you attend the temple often, you gain great insight or a "knowing" and understanding of this topic. Nothing in this article has enlightened me. To me, this is a very, very sacred subject. Adam and Eve were like children and had forgotten all. Lucifer was allowed to tempt them, and Father provided a Savior for us all if they yielded to temptation, like they counseled in the beginning. Attend the temple often, and you will be blessed, and gain wisdom and understanding.

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  31. We need to be careful not to mix material that supports us in our devotions with that which is required to understand the actual meaning of Biblical passages. When I research Gen 3:13 it is translated "beguiled" in the KJV and RSV, and "tricked" in the NABRE. The Contemporary Torah (David Stein) which is a gender sensitive translation of the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) Bible translates the Hebrew word as "duped". Strongs Hebrew dictionary also concludes that Eve was deceived. The Stone edition of the Torah translates it as deceived.

    So while I am interested in what Dr. Aschenasay says about this being an "an intense multi-level experience", I think it is incorrect to suggest as this article does that she was not beguiled but made a choice. In our attempt to "protect" Eve, or to bolster our LDS understanding of what happened in the Garden, we sacrifice accuracy. We read into the scriptures, rather than extracting from them. We quote one source and use it as absolute truth or head into an extended discussion around it that gets us no nearer understanding the truth of what was written.

    Eve was beguiled, tricked, or deceived. I respect her no less for that. She was human, so am I, so are you all. Just as interesting a topic is regarding Adam. Where was he? He was asked to tend / look after / protect his wife. He allowed the serpent to enter. There is much research to suggest that Adam was frightened, scared, a coward. I do not blame him for this. He was confronted by "nachash" the serpent, the devil. Who would not be frightened?

    So I would thank you for the article, but if read without more thought, it will assist us in understanding what the Bible is saying to us.

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