From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 6 – The bad news first – sin and its consequences.
However, Adam and Eve then spoiled everything by disobeying God. They did so through eating fruit from a particular tree in the Garden of Eden, from which God had told them not to eat. This was the first occasion when a human being had ever sinned against God and it had massive consequences. It is known as “the fall”. From that moment, when they first disobeyed God, they lost their innocence and they died spiritually. Their eyes were opened so that they became aware for the first time of good and evil. They also became aware for the first time that they were naked and tried to cover up their nakedness. Previously they had been entirely relaxed and comfortable about it, due to their complete innocence.
More importantly, a physical death sentence was passed on Adam and Eve, such that they lost their immortality. That meant that they and all their descendants must one day die physically:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinnedRomans 5:12 (NIV)
From that moment their bodies began the aging process, with which we are familiar. They also became susceptible to illness, accidents and decay. Previously they had been immune to all of these things.
The way that Adam and Eve lived on the Earth originally was very similar to how Heaven will be. Suddenly, however, Adam and Eve found that the Earth itself, that God had created for them, had also dramatically changed.
It became for them as we know it today, full of death, sickness, sin, crime and violence. The whole world came under God’s curse and has been so ever since. The very forces of nature now work against us at times and can be lethal, with earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, droughts and famines. Adam and Eve’s sin affected not only themselves but the whole of nature. Plus, the soil began to produce thistles, weeds and thorns instead of being a beautiful gardens. Therefore gardening and farming became very hard work, instead of being easy:
17To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”Genesis 3:17-19 (NIV)
All of the chaos and misery, that we still experience today, came from that one first act of disobedience by Adam and Eve. Their very nature also changed, such that they were now inherently sinful rather than innocent. From that point on Adam and Eve continued to sin and every child born to them did the same.
This is because every human being from that point on, including you and me, has inherited a ‘sin nature’. That means that we will inevitably sin. We sin because we are sinful by our very nature. The only question is how much we will sin and in what ways. We will shortly look in closer detail at our sin and its consequences. Before we do, we need to look at God’s holiness, because it is the fact of God’s perfect holiness that makes our sinfulness such a huge problem.