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      Mormon Hub Rules - Please be familiar with these rules before posting   04/17/08

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changed

transgression or sin?

61 posts in this topic

I was reading a book that had been sitting on the shelf for awhile - "The Broken Heart" by Bruce C. Haven, and ran across something that started me thinking - 

" .. Adam and Eve's original sin was not a classic sin in the sense of an evil, knowing rebellion against God." - pg 16

Seems to me that they both knew what they were doing was wrong - I mean they walked and talked with God Himself, they were told directly not to eat the fruit... it's not like they were some third-world starving children who had never met missionaries and had never been taught anything about who God was.  Adam and Eve knew better than any of us who God was - they knew him better than any prophet ever did... so how is it that anyone can call what they did a mere "transgression" rather than a sin?  They absolutely knew what they were doing.

I mean, if it was not a sin, why did Jesus have to atone for it?  

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What Adam and Eve did had the same effect as a sin, it was contrary to God's commandments, and it spiritually separated them from God.  In addition to being separated from God spiritually, the fruit also had the physical characteristics that would cause Adam and Eve's immortal bodies to become mortal.  Both of these things automatically require the atonement to correct.

Theoretically, even if God did not command Adam and Eve to not partake of the fruit, they still would have needed Christ's atonement to save them from physical death and enable the resurrection, however, their physical death would have been unjust if God did not forewarn them.  If God had commanded not to eat the fruit, but the fruit would not cause death, then Adam and Eve would have been separated from God with no way to return (the same as if they partook of the fruit of the tree of life after their transgression), and this would have been an unloving act of God.  In my mind, God was perfectly prudent in having the fruit cause both physical and spiritual death, and in forewarning Adam and Eve of the consequences.  God is a genius.

When Adam partook of the fruit, he did so intentionally, not in open rebellion against God, but deciding to break one law to seek to fulfill another and make possible the joy of mankind.  It is not inherently wrong for my daughter to eat a piece of cake, but if I tell her not to eat it then all of a sudden it is wrong.  There was nothing inherently wrong in eating the fruit, except that God forbade it.  To me personally this is a key identifier in calling it a transgression (although this may not hold in every similar case).

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6 minutes ago, person0 said:

When Adam partook of the fruit, he did so intentionally, not in open rebellion against God, but deciding to break one law to seek to fulfill another ...

Almost an excuse for Adam, but what about for Eve?

A few scriptures to ponder...

11 For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who .. have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned. 12 But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! - Mosiah 3  

3 Nephi  6:18 Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God.

Breaking one law to fulfill another?  Is it ever justifiable to break any laws?  

 

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1 minute ago, changed said:

Breaking one law to fulfill another?  Is it ever justifiable to break any laws?

Technically, no (although most of us make similar justifications from time to time).  That's why a transgression and a sin have the exact same result: spiritual separation from God.  The word used to describe Adam and Eve's choice is mostly irrelevant.  The main point to me is understanding that in order for the plan of salvation to be accomplished, it was necessary, and therefore not 'blaming' them for their decision as most other Christian denominations do.

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33 minutes ago, person0 said:

When Adam partook of the fruit, he did so intentionally, not in open rebellion against God, but deciding to break one law to seek to fulfill another and make possible the joy of mankind.  It is not inherently wrong for my daughter to eat a piece of cake, but if I tell her not to eat it then all of a sudden it is wrong.  There was nothing inherently wrong in eating the fruit, except that God forbade it.  To me personally this is a key identifier in calling it a transgression (although this may not hold in every similar case).

In addition, perhaps the difference was because before they ate of the fruit, Adam and Eve knew that God had told them not to do so, but they didn't understand - they were innocent, like little children, without an understanding of good and evil.  Thus, while they knew they were doing something God told them not to do, and knew what God said the consequences were, they didn't (I'm assuming) have an inherent understanding of the concept of sin, thus, it is a transgression - not unlike the difference between a little child breaking a commandment vs a teenager doing it.

Just my thoughts, could be wrong, but it seems to fit with what we've been taught.

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7 minutes ago, person0 said:

Technically, no (although most of us make similar justifications from time to time).  That's why a transgression and a sin have the exact same result: spiritual separation from God.  The word used to describe Adam and Eve's choice is mostly irrelevant.  The main point to me is understanding that in order for the plan of salvation to be accomplished, it was necessary, and therefore not 'blaming' them for their decision as most other Christian denominations do.

It is relevant to me ... I will not get into the personal details, but I need to understand the difference between a sin and a transgression.  Adam and Eve have complicated the definition of what "transgression" is.  

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3 minutes ago, zil said:

In addition, perhaps the difference was because before they ate of the fruit, Adam and Eve knew that God had told them not to do so, but they didn't understand - they were innocent, like little children, without an understanding of good and evil.  Thus, while they knew they were doing something God told them not to do, and knew what God said the consequences were, they didn't (I'm assuming) have an inherent understanding of the concept of sin, thus, it is a transgression - not unlike the difference between a little child breaking a commandment vs a teenager doing it.

Just my thoughts, could be wrong, but it seems to fit with what we've been taught.

 

What constitutes understanding?  None of us have a perfect understanding of anything in this life, does that mean none of us sin?

Adam and Eve were perfect... I think they had knowledge, just not wisdom - no experience.  It seems like they had a perfect mind though...

If you break a commandment because you do not understand it... because you had never broken it before and had no experience with it before?  Then the first time breaking a commandment is just a "transgression"?  

Edited by changed

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The difference is the manner of repentance.  My Pearl of Great Price instructor said that while there were consequences Adam and Eve "did not need to repent" because it was automatically forgiven them through the Atonement.  

While they still went through the "five steps" (simply because it was natural for them) the very nature of the Atonement was such that it automatically and specifically countered the effects of their "transgression."            --- Every other sin that we know of isn't so automatic.

He did have some quotes to back that up.  But I honestly don't remember them.

I wonder if it has to do with covenants.  Adam and Eve came to this mortal world somewhat differently than we did.  Maybe they were not under any covenants prior to the fruit.  They were placed under covenant after their transgression.  Then they were sent into the world.

All we know of is after we were born.  I wonder if we were placed under some covenant prior to being sent into this world (or possibly reaching accountability).  This would change our perceptions of things.

Edited by Carborendum
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I always had a similar confusion. Someone explained it to me this way:

Sin is doing something that is inherently wrong, like murder or sexual sin. Transgression is acting against command, though isn't inherently wrong, like eating a fruit, or letting Martin Harris take the 116 pages of manuscript. Both will cause a need for repentance and a loss of blessings.

Im still not confident on the matter though.

And I am under the belief that the more you understand something the easier it is for you to explain and the quicker you can do it... so for those that do understand, answer the question.

What is sin, what is transgression, and what is the difference)

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2 hours ago, changed said:

It is relevant to me ... I will not get into the personal details, but I need to understand the difference between a sin and a transgression.  Adam and Eve have complicated the definition of what "transgression" is.  

Sin is doing what is morally corrupt. Sin entails that one is both accountable mentally, and of age, and is going against the light of Christ (their conscious) inside of them telling them it is wrong.

Transgression is also sin but entails something more. That something more is knowing and having a verbal or written commandment given to you by one in authority (in this case its God himself)and then choosing to disobey/and, or reject that written or verbal command. The reference scripture I always use is from section 138-

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

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9 hours ago, Fether said:

I always had a similar confusion. Someone explained it to me this way:

Sin is doing something that is inherently wrong, like murder or sexual sin. Transgression is acting against command, though isn't inherently wrong, like eating a fruit, or letting Martin Harris take the 116 pages of manuscript. Both will cause a need for repentance and a loss of blessings.

Im still not confident on the matter though.

And I am under the belief that the more you understand something the easier it is for you to explain and the quicker you can do it... so for those that do understand, answer the question.

What is sin, what is transgression, and what is the difference)

It's like trying to define the difference between being good and being righteous. You could, theoretically. But in the end, it amounts to the same.

For what it's worth: to transgress is to step or move beyond a boundary or standard. To sin is to transgress the law of God. Kind of like to do good is to do something positive. To do righteousness is to do good according to the law of God.

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10 hours ago, changed said:

What constitutes understanding?  None of us have a perfect understanding of anything in this life, does that mean none of us sin?

Adam and Eve were perfect... I think they had knowledge, just not wisdom - no experience.  It seems like they had a perfect mind though...

If you break a commandment because you do not understand it... because you had never broken it before and had no experience with it before?  Then the first time breaking a commandment is just a "transgression"?  

Remember that Adam and Eve were as children in the beginning.  Remember that partaking of this fruit gave them knowledge of good and evil.  It couldn't give them this knowledge if they already had it.  Thus, while they had received instruction, command, and warning, apparently they didn't have knowledge.  Don't ask me how that works, I have no clue beyond what I just wrote.  I recommend the links @person0 posted, personal study, prayer, and repentance - because whether one transgressed or sinned, repentance seems like a really good idea, and the process would be the same - turn to Christ and accept His changing influence. :)

25 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Do any of us really?

I know we like to think we're all...you know...smart and stuff.

I suspect we understand (to some degree) after experiencing sin and repentance.  Our understanding will certainly vary in different areas of life, based on experience.  (For example, there was a time when I didn't know what "hate" really meant (though I thought I knew).  Then I learned what it was though experience (feeling it) and realized it was repulsive and I never wanted anything to do with anything like it ever again.)

Of course while in mortality our understanding will always be limited, but I think we do gain some understanding, mostly from experience.

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2 minutes ago, zil said:

Remember that Adam and Eve were as children in the beginning.  Remember that partaking of this fruit gave them knowledge of good and evil.  It couldn't give them this knowledge if they already had it.  Thus, while they had received instruction, command, and warning, apparently they didn't have knowledge.  Don't ask me how that works, I have no clue beyond what I just wrote.  I recommend the links @person0 posted, personal study, prayer, and repentance - because whether one transgressed or sinned, repentance seems like a really good idea, and the process would be the same - turn to Christ and accept His changing influence. :)

I suspect we understand (to some degree) after experiencing sin and repentance.  Our understanding will certainly vary in different areas of life, based on experience.  (For example, there was a time when I didn't know what "hate" really meant (though I thought I knew).  Then I learned what it was though experience (feeling it) and realized it was repulsive and I never wanted anything to do with anything like it ever again.)

Of course while in mortality our understanding will always be limited, but I think we do gain some understanding, mostly from experience.

Adam and Eve were innocent like children, but not ignorant like children.  

"In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were married by God." - They were old and mature enough to be married.  https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrinal-mastery-book-of-mormon-teacher-material/the-plan-of-salvation?lang=eng

 

 

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10 hours ago, Carborendum said:

I wonder if it has to do with covenants.  Adam and Eve came to this mortal world somewhat differently than we did.  Maybe they were not under any covenants prior to the fruit.  They were placed under covenant after their transgression.  Then they were sent into the world.

All we know of is after we were born.  I wonder if we were placed under some covenant prior to being sent into this world (or possibly reaching accountability).  This would change our perceptions of things.

We call people accountable with or without covenants  - the age of accountability etc.  when someone is baptized, their "sin" is washed away - we sin before making covenants, we don't just transgress.  No one would want to be baptized if covenants were what caused someone to sin?

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43 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

It's like trying to define the difference between being good and being righteous. You could, theoretically. But in the end, it amounts to the same.

For what it's worth: to transgress is to step or move beyond a boundary or standard. To sin is to transgress the law of God. Kind of like to do good is to do something positive. To do righteousness is to do good according to the law of God.

Transgression and sin are not the same - there are definitely different levels of sin, all the way up to the unpardonable sin.  

11 ...his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.

12 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.

 

Were Adam and Eve required to have faith in the Savior?  did the need the Savior to redeem their life?  A life for a life - I think the atonement was needed for Adam and Eve... Why would the atonement be needed for them if they did not sin?

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9 minutes ago, changed said:

Adam and Eve were innocent like children, but not ignorant like children.  

"In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were married by God." - They were old and mature enough to be married.  https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrinal-mastery-book-of-mormon-teacher-material/the-plan-of-salvation?lang=eng

First, I'm not convinced we really know what they were and were not like as far as ignorance goes (ignorance only means lack of knowledge - and I don't think they were omniscient).  The tree could not "give" them knowledge of good and evil if they already had such knowledge.

As for them being married - we have no idea what that marriage looked like before the fall and therefore should not assume that it looked like marriage after the fall, let alone that it looked like marriage as experienced by modern mortals.  Regardless, I don't see how this relates.

Edited by zil

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8 hours ago, Rob Osborn said:

Sin is doing what is morally corrupt. Sin entails that one is both accountable mentally, and of age, and is going against the light of Christ (their conscious) inside of them telling them it is wrong.

Transgression is also sin but entails something more. That something more is knowing and having a verbal or written commandment given to you by one in authority (in this case its God himself)and then choosing to disobey/and, or reject that written or verbal command. The reference scripture I always use is from section 138-

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

People say that Eve did not sin either - 

“Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall. … Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: ‘I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … ’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation,comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:114–15)” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73).

 

Some people excuse Adam (but not Eve) by saying Adam had to so that he could be with his wife - well, Eve did not "sin" either, there was more to it than just having to be together. The bait was not children - Eve did not eat the fruit because she wanted children, she ate the fruit because she wanted wisdom... we pretend they sacrificed themselves after thinking through the command to multiply, but that is not what actually happened - Eve wanted wisdom - that is what started it all.

She was well aware of the commandment... She knew she was going against the commandment... so let's talk about Eve - how can that be classified as a transgression?

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16 minutes ago, zil said:

First, I'm not convinced we really know what they were and were not like as far as ignorance goes (ignorance only means lack of knowledge - and I don't think they were omniscient).  The tree could not "give" them knowledge of good and evil if they already had such knowledge.

As for them being married - we have no idea what that marriage looked like before the fall and therefore should not assume that it looked like marriage after the fall, let alone that it looked like marriage as experienced by modern mortals.  Regardless, I don't see how this relates.

I agree that their marriage did not look like ours - before the curse, before "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." I suppose Adam was being ruled over by Eve... at least She was the one calling the shots before the fall... 

26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Adam and Eve were created as Gods - they were given "dominion" over the earth.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Do you give a little child "dominion" over the earth, and ask them to "subdue" it?

19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

He gave every living creature its name...  does not sound like a little child to me.

Edited by changed

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26 minutes ago, changed said:

We call people accountable with or without covenants  - the age of accountability etc.  when someone is baptized, their "sin" is washed away - we sin before making covenants, we don't just transgress.  No one would want to be baptized if covenants were what caused someone to sin?

While I agree with what you say here, I don't think it's so cut and dry, especially when talking about a unique even such as the fall.

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6 minutes ago, changed said:

I agree that their marriage did not look like ours - before the curse, before "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." I suppose Adam was being ruled over by Eve... at least She was the one calling the shots before the fall... 

26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Adam and Eve were created as Gods - they were given "dominion" over the earth.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Do you give a little child "dominion" over the earth, and ask them to "subdue" it?

19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

He gave every living creature its name...  does not sound like a little child to me.

Mortal man has been given dominion over the earth too.

I don't know why it's so hard for you to separate "knowledge of good and evil" from other types of knowledge, but apparently it is.  I give up.  My previous posts are sufficient.

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19 minutes ago, changed said:

People say that Eve did not sin either - 

“Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall. … Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: ‘I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … ’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation,comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:114–15)” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73).

 

Some people excuse Adam (but not Eve) by saying Adam had to so that he could be with his wife - well, Eve did not "sin" either, there was more to it than just having to be together. The bait was not children - Eve did not eat the fruit because she wanted children, she ate the fruit because she wanted wisdom... we pretend they sacrificed themselves after thinking through the command to multiply, but that is not what actually happened - Eve wanted wisdom - that is what started it all.

She was well aware of the commandment... She knew she was going against the commandment... so let's talk about Eve - how can that be classified as a transgression?

Adam and Eve broke the commandments of God. That was not only sin but also transgression. Here-

18 And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them;
19 And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship.
20 But by the transgression of these holy laws man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man. (D&C 20:18-20)

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Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

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Trying to find the difference between Transgression or Sin is needless hair splitting.

And the only reason we engage in it is because we can not see how God's plan would have moved forward without their sin in the Garden.  But that is a problem with understanding the mind of God and how things might have been.

It's kind of like trying to say that Joseph Smith losing the 116 pages was not a sin because God had already planned for it.  (Which plan we now see and know but Joseph Smith did not at the time)

Christ's example showed that God's plan of coming to earth and getting a body and all that can move forward without needing an individual to sin.

Still while God's plan does not "require" us to sin...  It wouldn't be much of a plan (and God wouldn't be much of a God) if it could not handle that fact that we do sin and we sin often.

 

 

 

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