The Fall of Adam is the event by which mankind became mortal. It resulted in a spiritual and physical separation from God. The Atonement of Jesus Christ overcomes both physical and spiritual death. Go to the Wiki article called Fall.
Mormon Doctrine holds a different view of the role of Adam and of his fall than other Christian faiths.
- 1. Mormons believe in a pre-mortal life. The Bible talks of a war in heaven, wherein Satan was cast out, but other Christian faiths have no doctrine regarding a spiritual, pre-mortal creation. In the pre-mortal life, the noblest spirit children of God took an active role in preparing for our earthly existence. Adam was known as the archangel Michael, and was foreordained to be the first man on earth. As with all of us, a veil was drawn over his mind, and he forgot the "pre-existence" at his earthly creation.
- 2. The earth was in a different sphere of space during the time that Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, an area close to Heavenly Father's dwelling place. At this time, the earth was sanctified and was in a similar paradisiacal state to what it will be during the Millennium. There was no disease or death. But there was also no birth. Adam and Eve could have continued on for eons of time in their enjoyable but static condition.
- 3. There was a purpose for the giving of two opposing commandments by Heavenly Father. Opposition in all things is necessary for the free agency of man. (See 2 Nephi 2.) Though it seems almost unfair, Adam and Eve were commanded not to partake of the forbidden fruit, but they were also commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. The only way they could conceive was to fall. After the fall, when Adam and Eve understood the Plan of Salvation, they rejoiced:
- And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient (Moses 5:10, 11).
- 4. When Adam fell, the entire earth fell from the presence of God. LDS scientists explain that millions of years of life and death had occurred on the earth (think dinosaurs) to prepare the earth for modern animal and human life. These ancient life forms were destroyed and the earth was sanctified, then populated with modern animal life and the first man and woman. With no death occurring during its period of sanctification, when the earth fell, death was introduced. This happened for a purpose. In 2 Nephi 2:25 it says, "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
- 5. Latter-day Saints do not believe that men and women will be punished for the sin of Adam. The Fall was necessary as part of the Plan of Salvation, but its effects (the "first death" -- physical death; and the "second death" -- separation from God, or spiritual death) have been rectified by the atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ has overcome physical death. We all will be resurrected and live forever with perfect, incorruptible bodies. Christ has overcome spiritual death, providing a way for us through repentance and faith on His name, to be reconciled and reunited with God forever. This is called Eternal Life.