February 1, 2014
Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5-7
To begin this lesson I am going to plagiarize my friend’s, Jim Faulconer’s, question written in his blog post regarding Moses 5:1-2 because I believe the word ‘know’ to be a very important word in the archetypal creation story, of which this is still a part. (If this story is ‘archetypal,’ what does it mean to you in YOUR life? It’s obviously of utmost importance for reasons on which I need not elaborate.) Adam and Eve knew good and evil once they had partaken of the forbidden fruit. This chapter of Moses informs us that God taught them and then they taught their children, passing knowledge from God to Adam & Eve and then to their children as it continues even today. We are taught that we cannot be saved in ignorance (D&C 131:6). Our salvation is hinged upon our education or KNOWLEDGE. So, question: What does it mean to KNOW something?
v. 2: Jim’s thoughts: “Does verse 2 suggest anything about how the Old Testament prophets understand knowledge? They aren’t squeamish about discussing things that we often would rather not talk about, so it is difficult to think that the use of the word “knew” is just a euphemism. But if it isn’t a euphemism, then how did Moses and other writers of the Old Testament understand what it means to know something? Does that have any implication for what we mean when we say things like “I know the Church is true?”
v. 12: What does it mean when Adam and Eve “made all things known unto their sons and their daughters?” In what ways do we follow this example of our first parents? Do you see that pattern anywhere else in the scriptures? Do you know of the antithesis of this example and how did that play out?
v. 13: At what crucial point does Satan enter the picture? What has been the condition of Adam and Eve up until this point? Consider verses 5-12.
v. 16: Why does Cain ask, “Who is the Lord that I should know him?” Did Cain miss that lesson from his parents? How do we come to know the Lord? See Alma 22:17-18. How might we refuse to know him? Is Cain being called to visit with the Lord as was Adam in Gen. 3:9 and Moses 4:15? How do the two respond to the Lord’s inquiry?
v. 18: In what way does Cain KNOW Satan?
v. 19-21: How does the ‘knowing’ influence Cain’s relationship with both God and Satan and how does this play into his offering? Does Cain know why he’s making an offering? Does Abel? How are the two offerings different? How does Cain know that his offering was rejected? How do we know when our offerings are accepted of the Lord?
Why was it important to make sacrifices in the way the Lord had commanded?
Our Prophet Joseph Smith shed light on this whole exchange when he taught: “Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith. … Shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man … was the plan of redemption; … and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised … ; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 58).
v. 23-26: What does it mean to ‘be accepted’ of the Lord? Why does the Lord elaborate the negative consequences to Cain instead of the positive ones if he obeys? If Cain chooses evil, what will his relationship be to Satan? What will his legacy be? Reading between the lines, who was interacting and in what way with Cain? What role was his family playing in his decision making?
v. 27-29: What do you think the character and disposition of Cain’s wife was? How do you know? Why did Satan wait until Cain was married to make their evil pact?
v. 32: Where in the scriptures/history does this enmity between brothers also occur? Is Satan trying to re-enact/rewrite his own history here?
v. 33: Why does Cain consider himself free?
v. 34: Why does the Lord immediately ask where Abel is when he already knows? Why does Cain answer the way he does?
v. 37: How is Cain’s curse different from that of his parent’s consequence when they were driven out of Eden?
v. 38-39: How has Cain’s disposition changed from verse 33? Why? Hadn’t the Lord warned him of the options? Where is Cain being driven out of?– He’s not in Eden as were his parents. Why does Cain repeat the Lord’s words? What is the meaning of the last line in v. 39?
v. 40: Why does the Lord put a mark on Cain and threaten anyone who kills him? What is this ‘mark?’ x Moses 7:22 Do you hear this verbiage, ‘sevenfold’ anywhere else in the scriptures? What does it mean?
v. 50-51: What is Cain’s legacy?
v. 52: What is the curse Lamech’s family suffers? Is this curse still being dealt out today?
v. 53-57: What do Lamech’s wives do? What does the phrase ‘sons of men’ mean in the scriptures? What are some contrasting phrases describing God’s righteous posterity? X Moses 8:13-15
v. 58: What is the ‘take home message here?’ “And thus…”
v. 1-4: How is this chapter juxtaposed against the last one? What does this teach us about families, parenthood, God, children?
v. 5-6: What is one of the first things reported that these righteous children do and how is this a lesson for us? Who has/had access to this work or will? X Abr. 1:28, 31. How does the understanding of Moses 6:4 differ from that of Genesis 4:26 and is it important?