God knows us just as He knew His first two children on earth, Adam and Eve. And just as He perceived they would eat the forbidden fruit, He also understands that we will sin during our time on earth—and He has made a way for us to overcome our sins.
Our mortal life is designed to help us gain divine attributes we didn’t already have in our premortal existence, and the Creation of the earth, as well as the Fall of Adam, were part of God’s plan.
First: the Creation. With the help of Jesus Christ, God the Father created a glorious world in which we could gain a body, exercise agency, prove ourselves, and progress toward becoming like our Heavenly parents. The Old Testament points to the care God took to ensure our mortal home was a perfectly calibrated thing of beauty. The earth and the cosmos that surround it are two brilliantly conceived systems of interdependence—even as we, ourselves, are. The bodies God gave us are created in His image; they are marvelous, complex mortal organisms, capable of housing our eternal spirits that learn, choose, thrive, and connect with each other. Our premortal spirit, now united with a physical body is referred to as our ‘soul.
The first two such souls came to the earth in the form of Adam and Eve. They lived in the Garden of Eden, a paradise where they experienced no opposition and therefore had no understanding of joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain. God gave them two seemingly conflicting commandments that they would eventually come to learn were an important part of God’s plan.
Like us, Adam and Eve were not required to be perfect, but they did face consequences, both positive and negative, for their actions. God told them if they ate the fruit they would have to leave the garden and His Presence, and He also cautioned that they would become mortal and would eventually die. This choice brought about a condition known as “the Fall” because it compelled Adam and Eve to leave God’s presence. We too became affected by the Fall when we left our heavenly home to be born into this world. We would never have been born if they had not made their decision to eat the fruit. After doing so, Adam and Eve became parents and understood the joy that came from belonging to their children and to each other. But they also suffered the consequences of sin and eventually death because of their choice—consequences which could only be corrected by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Like the Creation and the Fall, Jesus Christ’s Atonement is another crucial component of God’s plan of salvation. In our premortal heavenly home, Jesus Christ volunteered and was chosen to be the Savior of humankind, and His sinless life and atoning sacrifice balanced the scales of justice for our sins. This allows us to experience opposition. While we often consider opposition to be a negative aspect of our lives, understanding it through the context of the Fall helps us to better harness the opportunity inherent in it. Knowing good from evil allows us to prove ourselves; it encourages us to study the scriptures, pray, keep God’s commandments, and build our relationship with our Father—all of which better enable us to rise to life’s challenges. When we sin against God he has provided us with the opportunity to repent and engage in a refining process that draws us closer to Him.
Like Adam and Eve, we left paradise to seek progression, and we can return the same way they did—by obeying God’s commandments, by overcoming opposition, and by seeking out God and becoming more like Him.