Why does the Fall matter?
I have noticed that many people find the story of Adam and Eve, and their fall from the Garden of Eden, to be a puzzling chapter in the story of our shared Judeo-Christian faith. Many find it hard to account for because it doesn’t seem to fit with modern notions of the origin of our species. Others struggle with the difficulties that arise over what seem to be difficult doctrinal issues surrounding the fall. I have even heard Mormons refer to certain aspects of the fall of Adam and Eve as “deep doctrine” as if it is some incomprehensible mystery which cannot fully be understood or explained. Even those who accept the importance of the Fall of Adam and Eve sometimes struggle with the full significance and meaning of the fall, because the fall is so complex in its ramifications, and the full meaning of the events and symbols used in the accounts of the fall can be confusing and may even be perceived as contradictory to our limited understanding.
Due to these and other difficulties, some are tempted to dismiss the fall as a mere fable, and one that is no longer relevant to us today. However, this could not be further from the truth. As modern day prophets have repeatedly pointed out, it is crucial that each of us gain a good understanding of the events and significance of the fall of Adam and Eve, and to do so is actually fundamental to fully celebrating one’s faith.
“Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.
No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, May 1987, 85).
“The simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death—in other words, there is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter—without understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet,” Ensign, May 2015, lds.org).