Saturday, June 14, 2014


Peter, James and John in a statue by Avard Fairbanks on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, UT.
Currently I'm slowly making my way through volume one of Jeff Bradshaw's commentary on the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. One page 181 of that volume he points out a fascinating piece of information found in extra-biblical literature. He is commenting on Moses 3:21-22 which reads:

21 And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof;

22 And the rib which I, the Lord God, had taken from man, made I a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Regarding these verses Bradshaw says the deep sleep which came upon Adam was a sleep of forgetfulness in which he became ignorant of his past. He then goes on to say the following:

"The awakening of Adam represents the beginning of his recovery from his state of ignorance and mortality. In the Hypostasis (of the Archons), it is Eve, 'the spirit-endowed woman.' who says to the sleeping Adam, 'Arise,' however, in the Apocalypse of Adam this same role is played instead by 'three men' of surpassing 'glory.' Although in Adam's new state of ignorance he was at first 'unable to recognize' them, they proceeded to reveal knowledge to him about his Creator."

To summarize, Adam, in his forgetful state is visited by three messengers who are not recognized by Adam at first. They then proceed to teach him. 

It's no secret that in the liturgy (or ordinances) of the LDS temple there is a dramatic portrayal of the creation of the Earth and the fall of mankind. What's most striking about this passage is that the details regarding the three messengers from the Apocalypse of Adam parallel the temple account. A critic might be tempted to believe that somehow Joseph Smith had access to these extra-biblical sources but that seems highly unlikely since both the Hypostasis of the Archons and the Apocalypse of Adam were completely lost until they were found as part of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945, more than 100 years after the death of Joseph Smith! It seems far more reasonable to suppose that the modern temple ceremony was divinely inspired just as Joseph Smith claimed it to be.

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