Since the Fall was part of the plan, was Satan needed to carry it out (or even to speed it up) or would the fall eventually have happened without his (Satan’s) influence?
Thank you for your question. I also want to let you know how much I appreciate that you are such a loyal follower. I thoroughly enjoy your comments on our facebook page.
Now to your question. Let me start off by sharing a link to another similar question that was asked: Would the Plan of Salvation be different if Satan had not rebelled? This previously answered question explores another aspect of this.
God’s plan will not be thwarted nor will it come crashing down in failure. This plan is all about us proving to see if we will do all things God commands. (Abraham 3:25) Therefore it allows us the opportunity to make choices that are central to the plan.
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
It would be a poor plan indeed if it could not handle the very thing it was set up to test. Rest assured, God’s plan can and will handle every choice you make, every choice I make, every choice Adam and Eve made, and even every choice Satan made or will make.
The problem we have as mortals is that we see through the glass darkly, (1 Corinthians 13:12) if at all, when it comes to God’s plan and how things might have gone had we made different choices.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Due to this limit, when we look back we struggle to see what might have been; we can only really see what was. Sadly due to our limits we think what was is the only way it could have been. This is a failure in our understanding, our wisdom, and our insight. It is not a failure in God’s plan.
Let’s take some examples. Joseph Smith lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon. This was a choice he made and we all know what happened because of it. We know how God prepared for it. So what would have been different had he made a different choice? To my mind the only real change would be that we would have more pages in the Book of Mormon.
Lets look at harder one: Abraham and Issac. God commands Abraham to sacrifice Issac his son through whom all of the Lord’s promised blessings seem to be going. Abraham is faithful and only at the last moment, through an angel’s intervention, does God reveal His plan to spare Issac. Had Abraham not proven faithful to what God commanded him to do, he would have never known what God had planned for him.
This is the same general idea we run into with the Garden of Eden story. God gave commandments to Adam and Eve. Satan tried to destroy God’s work in the Garden just like he tried with the 116 pages. Like Joseph Smith, Adam and Eve fell into temptation and acted contrary to the word of God. In the case of Joseph Smith we see and know how God’s plan accounted for that, but in the case of Adam and Eve, we do not see and do not know how the plan would have progressed or how it would have played out had they made different choices. We can only in faith claim that God would have provided a way. We cannot speak with any kind of authority on what might have happened.