“Seth and Enoch stand at center stage in this chapter. Though separated by five generations, these two men exerted enormous influence on their families and societies, influence that would carry forward for decades, even centuries… Above all else, these verses affirm that Seth continued the righteous, covenant line, which was ruptured with the death of Abel. In this connection, modern scripture adds much to our knowledge about Seth (see D&C 107:42-56)… Apocryphal sources also speak of Seth in exalted terms. Among other characteristics, he is said to have been an important leader in the premortal life, having struggled valiantly on the side of good in the premortal conflict. As a figure of light, he came to earth to fill an important role. According to such sources, his righteous descendants were singled out by Satan for persecution because they were to be a force for good until the end of time.” (The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse by Verse Commentary, Brown, Draper, and Rhodes, [SLC: Deseret Book, 2005], 81-85)
The second great prophet in this chapter is Enoch, a leader that is given only cursory mention in only four verses in Genesis (Gen. 5:21-24). Joseph Smith’s efforts at translation in November and December of 1830, only months after the formation of the church, would unveil two large and substantial chapters including a total of 114 verses (Moses 6:26-8:2). Moses 6 reveals his calling as a prophet and seer. We learn that Enoch taught the gospel as given to Adam (Moses 6:48-68).
Joseph Smith tells us what God taught Adam as preached by Enoch. This is the earliest record of the gospel plan taught to mortal man. It would be interesting to examine carefully what was taught, especially compared to the sectarian doctrines of 1830, when it was revealed.
Moses 6:2 God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel
There is a principle of restitution whereby God makes up for the unfair insults of life. Every violation of fairness is rectified; even when restoration is impossible, there is can be a restitution. Even though God would not restore Abel back to life, He would give Adam and Eve another son to assuage their guilt. The murder would not be undone, but there would be another son to receive the priesthood and birthright blessings. We are familiar with the doctrine as the Prophet Joseph taught it:
All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 296.)
I am amazed at how many students I have taught over the years that have faced the death of someone they love who died before their time. Talking about this in class really made the first few verses of Moses 6 relevant in the lives of the students. They see that their trials were faced by Adam and Eve, for through the sin of Cain they really lost two sons.
For Adam and Eve to wait for restitution at the resurrection would mean waiting for 4000 years. So, it would seem, the Lord gave them a more immediate substitute with the birth of Seth. Though the birth of Seth did not bring back Abel, the lesson for us is to trust in the Lord when mortality deals with us unfairly.
Does the scripture tell us how [Adam and Eve] grieved over Abel’s murder? No, although surely they did. Does it tell us about the confusion, anger, and sorrow they might have felt over Cain’s rash deed and exile? No, although they possibly felt these things. Does the author of Genesis scold Adam and Eve for not teaching Cain properly? No, there is no suggestion of rebuke. Instead, Adam and Eve, comforting each other in their sorrow, conceive a son whom Eve names Seth, “for God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” (Genesis 4:25.) In other words, life literally went on for Adam and Eve!
Most parents cannot give birth to another child when they lose a child to disobedience or rebellion. But they can make the same decision metaphorically that Adam and Eve did-to acknowledge their terrible loss and decide that life goes on regardless. There are times when our best is not good enough to save another. We can acknowledge our loss and grieve over it, but surely we must also learn from it that life goes on. (Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 89 – 90.)
James E. Faust
Sometimes we carry unhappy feelings about past hurts too long. We spend too much energy dwelling on things that have passed and cannot be changed. We struggle to close the door and let go of the hurt. If, after time, we can forgive whatever may have caused the hurt, we will tap “into a life-giving source of comfort” through the Atonement, and the “sweet peace” of forgiveness will be ours. Some injuries are so hurtful and deep that healing comes only with help from a higher power and hope for perfect justice and restitution in the next life. (Ensign, November 2005, 115)