One thing God gave Adam and Eve that He didn’t give anything else on earth was moral freedom. They were moral beings in ways that plants, animals, and trees could never be. God valued this moral freedom so much that He allowed the possibility that His people would choose to disobey. In doing so He risked all that He had created for the larger goal of a relationship with His human creatures based on love and free will.
But there was also a destroyer (this moral freedom existed for angels, as well), one who wanted to disrupt the good and complete world God created and sought to use God’s special creation on earth—human beings—to do that. Speaking through the serpent, the devil questioned the completeness and sufficiency of what God had provided (see Gen. 3:1-5). The primary temptation was to covet more than God had given them, to doubt the goodness of God, and to rely on themselves.
In that choice and that act, the relationships that were integral to the creation as God had designed it were broken. No longer did Adam and Eve enjoy the relationship with their Creator that they had been designed for (see Gen. 3:8-10). These two human beings suddenly realized they were naked and ashamed, and their relationship with each other was almost irreparably altered. Their relationship with the rest of the earth was also strained and broken.
Read Genesis 3:16-19. What do these verses tell us about the changed relationships between human beings and the natural world?
Because of the reality of sin, life suddenly got a lot harder for Adam, Eve, and the rest of creation. The consequences of sin are real, particularly as they affect humanity and our relationships. In a sense, we are distant from God our Creator. Our families are also affected in many ways, and our relationships with others are often a challenge. We even struggle in relation to the natural environment and the world in which we live. All aspects of our lives and our world show the brokenness caused by sin.
But this is not how God created the world to be. The “curses” of Genesis 3 also come with a promise that God would make a way to re-create our world and to repair the relationships that had been broken by sin. While we continue to struggle with sin and its effects in our lives, we are called to uphold the original goodness of the world and to seek to live out in our lives the plan God has for this world.