Evidence #366 | August 30, 2022

Angels Ministered to Adam and Eve

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Non-biblical Jewish, Christian, Mandaean, and Muslim traditions suggest that angels visited Adam and Eve and taught them about redemption and repentance, just as recounted in the Book of Mormon.

The prophet Alma taught that because of the fall of Adam and Eve, “all mankind became a lost and fallen people” (Alma 12:22). After dwelling on this theme for several verses, Alma declared that God “sent angels to converse” with man and that “they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and made known unto them the plan of redemption… and this he made known unto them according to their faith” (vv. 28–30).

Interestingly, a similar set of concepts turns up again in Mormon’s writings:

And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come … otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them. Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; … And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name … it shall be done unto you. (Moroni 7:23–26)

The way each text invokes the same cluster ideas suggests that they may be drawing from the same textual tradition, one in which angelic beings were sent to minister to Adam and Eve and teach them key gospel truths after the Fall. One additional important detail from Mormon is that, concerning angels, “the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance” (Moroni 7:31).  

The Angel with Adam and Eve, by Walter Rane. 

Although the biblical account of Adam and his family says nothing about angels visiting Adam (Genesis 4:1–26; 5:1–5), Jewish, Christian, Mandaean, and Islamic texts all support this idea. In some cases—such as the possibility of Adam and Eve’s repentance—the specific angelic messages are even the same.

Angels Comfort Adam and Eve

Some texts discuss how Adam and Eve were confused or distressed as they found themselves in a new environment. An early Jewish text known as the Life of Adam and Eve says, “The Lord God sent various seeds by the angel Michael and gave them to Adam and showed him how to work and till the ground so as to have produce by which they and their generations may live.”1

The Armenian Christian History of the Repentance of Adam and Eve states that five days after they had been cast out of the garden, “the angel Gabriel came to them at the command of God. And seeing Adam and Eve lamenting and weeping, he comforted them and told them to eat from the fruit of the earth, which was near to them.”2 The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan tells how an angel first taught them how to make garments from animal skins.

Then God sent his angel to show them how to work it out. And the angel said to Adam, “Go forth and bring some palm thorns.” Then Adam went out, and brought some, as the angel had commanded him. Then the angel began before them to work out the skins, after the manner of one who prepares a shirt. And he took the thorns and stuck them into the skins before their eyes. Then the angel stood up and prayed to God that the thorns of those skins should be hidden, so as to be, as it were, sewn with one thread. And so it was by God’s order, they became garment for Adam and Eve, and He clothed them withal.3

In the Georgian version of the Life of Adam and Eve, when Eve was about to give birth for the first time, Adam was troubled when he saw the pains of her labor and was afraid that she might die. “Adam prayed and spoke a plea to God on her behalf and the Lord hearkened to him. And behold twelve angels and two powers came from heaven.” One of the angels laid his hand on Eve to bless her, saying, “Blessed are you Eve because of Adam the elect one and servant of God, for his prayers are great before God, and because of him, God will deliver you.”4 Another text states that after Cain murdered Abel, the Lord comforted Adam and Eve by sending an angel who foretold the future birth of their son Seth.5

Angels Teach about Redemption and Repentance

Non-biblical Jewish and Christian traditions describe the repentance of Adam and Eve. In the Life of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman are sorrowful over their transgression and pray for God’s forgiveness while standing in the water of the Jordan river for many days.6 In the Conflict of Adam and Eve, the first couple frequently repent and ask God’s forgiveness and God reveals to them his plan of redemption through the future suffering, death, and resurrection of his Son.7 The text tells how on one occasion the Lord sent three angels—Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael—to bring Adam and Eve gifts of gold, sweet smelling incense, and myrrh which were symbols of the Lord’s future redemption.8

In a Muslim tradition recounted by Al Kisai, God told the angel Gabriel to go to Adam and tell him,

I have decreed that my mercy shall reach all who call upon me truly repentant of their sins and making humble entreaty. These are the words I have designated for Adam so that he may have repentance to lead him from darkness into light. Descend therefore to him, Gabriel, and give him my greetings. Wipe away his tears and teach him these words.9

This text then says, “Gabriel took the words from his Lord and, surrounded by his great light, descended with them to Adam.”10 After receiving the message from Gabriel, Adam repents and is told, “Peace be with you Adam. Your repentance has been accepted, and your transgression is forgiven.”11 God then states, “Adam, thou art truly my friend, for I have forgiven thee thy transgression. Ask and it shall be given thee.’”12

Adam and Eve, by Dougles Fryer. 

After this he is told, “‘Lift up thy head.’ When he lifted up his face, the veil of light was raised, the gates of heaven were opened to him, and a voice cried out announcing repentance and absolution. ‘Adam,’ he was told, ‘God has accepted your repentance!’”13 The same text relates that God sent the angel Michael to Eve to declare the same message of repentance, which caused Eve to praise God.14

The Mandaeans, a gnostic sect with historical roots in ancient Judaism, held that Adam was visited by heavenly messengers who revealed his divine origins in the heavenly world of light.15 In the Ginza, an important Mandaean text, a being identified as the “messenger of light” or the “true messenger” was sent by God to deliver Adam from evil forces, give him commandments, and teach him the way back home. “Whoever repents” he states, “his soul shall not be cut off (from the light), and the lord will not cut him off (or: damn him). But the wicked ones, the liars, cut themselves off (from the light), for it was manifest to them, and they would not see, and they were called, and they would not listen or believe.”16

Similitude, by Walter Rane.

In another text, the Mandaean Book of John, a divine messenger awakens Adam and tells him, “I have come and I shall instruct you, Adam, and I shall save you from this world. If you take heed, listen, and learn, then you will successfully rise up to the light’s place.” The reader is then informed that “Adam listened and became faithful; blessed is he who listens and believes after you. Adam made a pact; blessed is he who makes a pact after you. Adam anticipated and rose up; blessed is he who rises up after you. Take heed, listen, and learn, perfect ones, and rise up to the light’s place in triumph.”17


Book of Mormon prophets taught that angels ministered to Adam and Eve after the Fall and taught them about repentance and redemption. The Nephite prophets most likely gleaned these details from accounts on the plates of brass, a pre-exilic record from ancient Israel. Traditions found in obscure Jewish, Christian, Mandaean and Muslim texts all provide evidence for this claim. While these traditions date long after the time of Lehi’s departure from Jerusalem and would not have been known to him or his family in their current form, they point to a common source of knowledge in the ancient Middle East which supports the Book of Mormon.

Jeff Lindsay and Noel B. Reynolds, “‘Strong Like Unto Moses’: The Case for Ancient Roots in the Book of Moses Based on Book of Mormon Usage of Related Content Apparently from the Brass Plates,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 44 (2021): 1–92.

Noel Reynolds, “The Brass Plates Version of Genesis,” in By Study and Also By Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh Nibley, 2 vols (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1990), 2:136–173.

BibleGenesis 4:1–26Genesis 5:1–5Book of MormonAlma 12:28–29Alma 12:30Moroni 7:22–25Moroni 7:31


Genesis 4:1–26

Genesis 5:1–5

Book of Mormon

Alma 12:28–29

Alma 12:30

Moroni 7:22–25

Moroni 7:31

  • 1 James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2013), 2:266.
  • 2 W. Lowndes Lipscomb, The Armenian Apocryphal Adam Literature (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania: 1990), 226.
  • 3 S. C. Malan, The Book of Adam and Eve, also called, The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan (London: Williams and Norgate, 1882), 57. Malan thinks the text was written in Egypt between the fifth and sixth century AD (Malan, v). It was translated from Arabic into Ethiopic sometime after the seventh century. Michael E. Stone, A History of the Literature of Adam and Eve (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1992), 98–101.
  • 4 Gary A. Anderson and Michael E. Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve, Second revised edition (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1999), 23E–24E.
  • 5 Lipscomb, The Armenian Apocryphal Adam Literature, 276.
  • 6 Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2:258–261.
  • 7 Malan, The Book of Adam and Eve, 3–5, 9, 17, 22–25, 33, 41–42, 44–45, 49, 63, 81–84.
  • 8 Malan, The Book of Adam and Eve, 33.
  • 9 W. M. Thrackson, Jr., ed. and trans., The Tales of the Prophets of al-Kisa’i(Boston, MA: G. K. Hall & Company, 1978), 59.
  • 10 Thrackson, Jr., The Tales of the Prophets of al-Kisa’i, 59.
  • 11 Thrackson, Jr., The Tales of the Prophets of al-Kisa’i, 59.
  • 12 Thrackson, Jr., The Tales of the Prophets of al-Kisa’i, 60.
  • 13 Thrackson, Jr., The Tales of the Prophets of al-Kisa’i, 60.
  • 14 Thrackson, Jr., The Tales of the Prophets of al-Kisa’i, 61.
  • 15 On the Mandaeans, see Edmondo Lupieri, The Mandaeans: The Last Gnostics (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2001); Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley, The Mandaeans: Ancient Texts and Modern People (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); E. S. Drower, The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran: Their Cults, Customs, Magic, Legends, and Folklore (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1962). For the Mandaeans, writes Werner Foerster, “the redemption of Adam is held to be a prototype of redemption in general.” Werner Foerster, Gnosis: A Selection of Gnostic Texts, trans. R. McL. Wilson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 137.
  • 16 Foerster, Gnosis: A Selection of Gnostic Texts, 229–230.
  • 17 The Mandaean Book of John, ed. and trans. Charles G. Haberl and James F. McGrath (Berlin and Boston, MA: De Gruyter, 2019), 181.
Angels Ministered to Adam and Eve
Book of Mormon

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