(Note: This article is based on the previous lessons. Please review these, if you have not already done so, before proceeding.)
God created people to live in this awesome world. Not only that, but he commissioned us to care for it on his behalf. God intended that we would live with him and other people and share in life together. But in order for there to be a true relationship between people and God and in-between people, people had to have a will. They had to be aware of having a choice and be free to make choices. Adam, for example, chose names for all of the animals.
The story as told in Genesis 2:5-3:19 can be summed up like this: The first man and woman lived in a garden which God had planted. There was a tree (the tree of knowledge of good and evil) of which they were told not to eat the fruit. Unfortunately, they were tempted by a deceitful character and ended up eating the fruit nonetheless. Now I’m not going to claim to understand everything that happened, but it seems that everyone’s relationships with each other got messed up. People’s relationship to God was broken, and the relationship between the man and woman was broken as well. One thing is clear: eating the fruit brought death.
The man and woman didn’t die immediately. However they were set on a path which led to death because they were separated from God’s life. Not only that, but their seemingly small error infected all of creation. It allowed imperfection to enter into the beautiful world which God had created. This imperfection spread everywhere like a poison. There was still beauty in the world and in people, but at the same time, there was always something wrong. All of creation was now broken. Both the natural world and people were affected. Rather than having life-giving, loving relationships, people now many times harmed other people, even bringing death themselves. And through it all, people grew further and further away from God, either ignoring him if not defying him outright.