The first word above is the pictographic Hebrew word translated into English as Eden, and the second word is translated into English most often as sorrow—as in the sorrows that Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-17, and those of their descendants who are fathers and mothers or for those not having the opportunity for parenthood in this life who are in other ways self-sacrificing in care for others, receive in this world after the Fall. These two words begin and end in pictographic Hebrew (and in biblical Hebrew) with the same symbols, and the connection between these words is profound and instructive as they involve different but related paths to the same ultimate objective.
The first word is also often understood in Hebrew as pleasure, which provides contrast with the second word’s meaning of sorrow. This first word begins from right to left with an eye followed by a door followed by a seed sprout, and it can be understood in a number of ways besides Eden and pleasure, one of which is to see or know through the door of direct communication with God, or in other words revelation, the way to a continuation of lives, or posterity, as represented by the seed sprout. This is the existence that God provides in the Garden of Eden, a way to progress by receiving continual revelation and by strict obedience to that revelation, and in doing so to find pleasure, live in increasing joy, and remain in God’s presence, which can allow nothing in it that is unclean. None of God’s children, save Christ only, are able to progress by revelation and obedience alone, and so Adam and Eve fall as any other of God’s imperfect children would have fallen in the Garden of Eden.
The second word also describes a process of coming to know God and receiving joy and a continuation of lives, or posterity, but it is more involved and sorrowful. One way of understanding this pictographic word is as coming to see and know God through a winding and sorrowful journey (represented by the second pictograph), home (represented by the third pictograph), and through this journey securing (represented by the fourth pictograph, which is a tentpole), joy and a continuation of lives, or posterity.
This understanding can be overlaid by the fact that this word can also be understood as the combination of the core components of two shorter words—translated into English as tree (or wood or board) and son. Thus, this sorrowful journey with its gaining of knowledge and its ultimate objective of joy and continuation is tied to and dependent upon the sorrow and sacrifice of the Son of God as represented by the Son on the cross.
It is in the necessity of taking the journey described by the second word as opposed to that described by the first word, as a result of the Fall, that the sacrifice and suffering of Christ become necessary. He, who alone is able fully to live the law of obedience and progress without suffering to the Father, is the One who bears the full weight of the sorrowful journey of life for all God’s children including the pains, death, and sins of all, and through this becomes the only way back into the presence of the Father with the blessings of immortality and through repentance salvation and eternal lives.
Pictographically the second word can represent the sacrifice of Christ and its fruits as the second symbol in this word often represents a winding path up a mountain with a low beginning and an ending ascension, as Christ descends below all things, ascends Golgotha bearing the cross to His voluntary death, and finally ascends home in His unique resurrection and judgment as He raises up His own body and ascends to the Father without intermediary, securing His seed, which is all those who believe in His name, repent, and follow Him.
…Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed… Mosiah 15:10
Another complimentary layer in understanding the second word involves men and women in their highest and only lasting purposes as fathers and mothers, extending to those who not having the opportunity for parenthood in this life sacrifice self in service to and love for others, and in this way become types of Christ through emulation of His sacrifice.
And there were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality;
And who had offered sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, and had suffered tribulation in their Redeemer’s name.
All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Doctrine and Covenants 138:12-14
Returning to Genesis chapter three, verses sixteen through nineteen include rich insights into the relationship between God and man, what salvation really is, and the role and purposes of fathers and mothers. Adam and Eve, and fathers and mothers, in general, differ in the sorrow that is part of their roles. Mothers’ primary sorrow, as given to Eve in the Garden, involves the bearing and rearing of children in this world. There is the great physical pain with delivery, and there is the sorrow of rearing children who may cause them pain at other points of their rearing. The sacrifice and sorrow of mothers truly is in the similitude of the sacrifice and sorrow of the Son of God. Mothers suffer to bring forth life; they bleed and their flesh is torn in that process. The physical birth process involves the three following elements of the process of salvation or spiritual rebirth:
For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified; Moses 6:60
After birth faithful mothers give all they have to nourish their children, even to the extent of providing the baby nourishment from their own bodies, as, in effect, they become for their children the bread of life. This physical nourishment symbolizes the relationship that a caring mother will have with her children for the remainder of her life.
Faithful fathers’ sorrow and toil also involves the work of salvation as they sacrifice for their wives and children. This sorrow and toil is an extension of the charge to dress and keep the garden but in a new context of a land that has been cursed for Adam’s sake, and which includes toil and sweat, enemies and destructive forces. Again, it is the role of fathers within these conditions, and in the similitude of the Son of God, to keep their vulnerable families safe, clothed, and fed. Fathers are to be the primary providers and protectors working in unity with their wives to bless their families.
The relationship between Adam and Eve is described in terms of the man ruling over the woman, and that her desire shall be to him. As this principle is properly understood and acted upon, Adam is to rule as a keeper and a servant, which is paradoxical from a worldly perspective and true and profound for those meek, lowly of heart, and full of charity. Adam is to provide, guard, protect, and, if necessary, give his life for his family, just as a good shepherd does for his flock. He is to serve, just as a righteous king is, in reality, a servant, attending to the needs of his family. He and fathers, in general, are also to watch over and serve others including widows, orphans, and strangers in the land. In this way, the sacrifice of fathers is also truly in the similitude of the Son of God.
Performing these roles in the manner God intends, fathers and mothers have a life-long tutorial in sacrificing in the similitude of the Son of God. As they do this faithfully they grow closer to God, understanding more fully who He is than they could in any other way. At the same time, they grow closer to one another as they unitedly work, serve, and sacrifice to bless the lives of their posterity. The way in which the world views fathers and mothers is most often flawed and distorted. God’s purpose is that man and woman become one, equal in value and beautifully complimentary and combined in their roles of father and mother. As a father and mother truly become one, questions of relative authority and value become meaningless, as they are completely unified in purpose and supportive of each other.
Just as fathers and mothers sorrow and sacrifice in similitude of the Son of God, so the Son of God offers His sacrifice symbolically of both the sorrow given to Adam and Eve and their male and female posterity. Christ sweats great drops of blood in order to see His seed, just as Adam earns his bread by the sweat of his brow, suffering in a life of labor to care for his family. Christ provides new birth through the agony He suffers as He bleeds from every pore and His flesh is torn, just as Eve gives birth, suffering with agony, torn flesh, and bleeding.
In all this, there is a great unification and melding of purpose and role in refining sorrow and in the great objective of working to save seed. Returning to the two pictographic words, the meaning and path described by the first is always available and is the ultimate objective of the instruction, experience, and refinement involved in the path described by the second—receiving and following revelation in strict obedience, to the end of a fullness of joy and exaltation.
Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. Doctrine and Covenants 132:29
It is through the path of sorrow, repentance, and increasing faith that God’s children are purged from their dross and at many points and in many ways can come to understand the first word as descriptive of the better path--that substitute salvation and gods all lead to continuing sorrow, and that salvation can be received only from and through Christ.