In response to a question asked in the “Ask a Mormon Anything” section.
Q: Mormons think the fall was necessary to bring about God’s plan, so why would Satan encourage the fall? Wouldn’t that be helping to bring about God’s plan? Wouldn’t he have tried to get Adam and Eve NOT to eat of the fruit, so no spirit children would get bodies?
Also, if God had a plan for all spirit children to come and get a body, but then sent Adam and Eve to earth telling them not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge which would bring about procreating…doesn’t that make Him a God of trickery? He essentially was saying “Don’t eat the fruit! (please please please disobey me and DO eat the fruit so all the other spirit children can get bodies!) Sounds deceptive. Could you please give the Mormon theology behind this belief and how it makes any sense? Thanks.
A: Disclaimer: My answer here is my own speculation, and should not be interpreted as anything approaching LDS Church doctrine.
In LDS temples Mormons watch a video that tells the story of the creation of the earth and the Garden of Eden. In that story, most of which would be familiar to any Christian, God puts Adam and Eve in the Garden, and tells them they can eat any fruit of any of the trees except the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which we will hereafter refer to as the TKGE. Lucifer/Satan tempts Eve into partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Eve gets Adam to eat it, and Adam and Eve are kicked out of the Garden (the Fall) into the world we live in today and they have kids, etc.
Where Mormons differ from some of Christendom is that we believe that the Fall was a necessary and planned event, hence the question above of why Satan would participate and encourage an event that was necessary and planned, as though he were helping God. If Satan wanted to frustrate God and tick Him off, why not get Adam and Eve not to take the fruit? Great questions! Here’s my theory…
It’s all about timing. That is, it was God’s plan all along for Adam and Eve to eat the fruit, but for it to be done in God’s own time, when things were prepared. What Satan was doing by getting Adam and Eve to eat the fruit was to try and take control of the process himself and mess things up, not to do something that otherwise would have been done, but to do it at a different time than it would have been done. When God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit, he wasn’t saying “Don’t eat it now or ever” he was saying “Don’t eat it until I tell you to.” But of course he didn’t need to add “until I tell you to” he just said “Don’t eat it.” He’d come back later and say “Ok, now you can eat it.” But Satan did it before God did.
Why do I think this is the case? Because in that movie Mormon watch in the temple there is a part where God confronts Lucifer after he has given Adam and Eve the fruit and God asks “What are you doing here?” and Lucifer responds “I am doing that which has been done in other worlds.” God asks “What is that?” and Lucifer again responds “Giving of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to them.” referring to Adam and Eve.
This seems to suggest that this is not the first time this process of introducing humans to a planet has occurred. It also appears to suggest that whenever a planet is populated, there is a “Garden of Eden”, although perhaps with a different name, and there is an Adam and an Eve, although also with different names and certainly different and unique individuals.
Lucifer appears to be attempting some humor with God, saying “Hey, what’s the big deal with me giving them the fruit? I’m just doing what is normally done.” But of course this is like the 4-year old child who feeds his 2-year old brother a huge bowl of ice cream and when he gets caught by his parents plays innocent and says “Hey, I’m just feeding him like you guys do!” Yeah, right. And “yeah, right” to Lucifer. Of course we know neither the 4-year-old nor Lucifer is innocent. Lucifer is trying to take the place of God, just as he did in the pre-mortal existence. “Fine, you’re going to kick me out of heaven? You won’t give me your glory? Well, I’m still going to go ahead and play God and let’s see how you like it.” seems to be the attitude Lucifer has.
So is there trickery on God’s part? No, I think He was going to give Adam and Eve the fruit himself, in his own due time. Of course he knows the future and knew what would happen, but it all ends up playing into His hands anyway, which must be incredibly frustrating for Satan. As for why Lucifer didn’t try to keep Adam and Eve from eating the fruit, that would have been a fruitless endeavor (pun intended), because Lucifer knew God was going to give them the fruit anyway. Lucifer couldn’t prevent them from eating the fruit, he could only get them to eat the fruit at the wrong time, so he committed as much mischief as he could within the bounds by which he was constrained.