If we are punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s (or Eve’s) transgression, then why is it that we must work by the sweat of our brows and in sorrow bear children?
When Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, the earth was in a terrestrial state, to which it will be returned during the millennium. Eve, being deceived by Satan, partook of the forbidden fruit and therefore would be cast out of the Garden of Eden. Adam, realizing that it would be better to partake of the forbidden fruit and remain with Eve so that they could procreate and begin the race of earth’s inhabitants rather than remain in the Garden alone, knowingly partook of the fruit so that the human family could follow.
It is essential to God’s plan that Adam’s children work out their salvation on a telestial sphere where Satan has power so that they could learn to overcome opposition and choose by their own volition to follow God in an environment of adversity. The opposition we experience in mortality– temptation, pain, suffering, disappointment, the necessity to labor to overcome an adverse environment–was not designed as a punishment but rather as a blessing. Our task is to become like the Savior. In fact, the Lord has commanded, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”‘ (Matthew 5:48). In order to do so, we must overcome the world. The Lord has said “For verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world; wherefore I will have compassion upon you” (D&C 64:2).
Mortality in the telestial kingdom was not given as a punishment to man because of the acts of Adam and Eve, but as an opportunity to develop and exhibit faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. In mortality we will be punished for our own disobedience and rewarded for our own righteousness, and to him who overcomes the greater opposition will come the greater reward.