To me, Genesis 3 is the saddest chapter in the entire Bible. Well, maybe right after the story of Jesus being crucified, but if it weren't for Genesis 3, Jesus would not have had to suffer such a horrible death.
Genesis 3 tells of man's fall into sin.
Adam and Eve--God's "very good" creation from Day 6--were living in paradise. They'd been given everything they could possibly need to have a wonderful life on earth. But God has always given us free will to make decisions for ourselves. He doesn't have us on strings like puppets, commanding every move we make. Adam and Eve were no different.
In Gen. 2:16-17 God tells Adam, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Fruit from every single tree in the garden was theirs for the taking. God only asked that they not eat from one. The tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why didn't God want them to eat from it? Because death would follow and he didn't want them to die.
But what do all children do when their parents tell them not to do something? They do it. Especially when someone else tells them their parents are wrong.
"He [the serpent, who is Satan] said to the woman, 'Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'" "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (3:1,4)
Do you know Satan says the same kind of things to us today? He is still deceiving people every single day.
"Did God really say not to worship any other god? Did God really say to keep yourselves pure and holy? Did God really say you'll go to hell if you don't believe in Jesus Christ?"
Well, Adam and Eve blew it. They ate from the tree. When God discovers their sin, they do what a lot of people do. They blame someone else. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. Neither take responsibility for their own disobedience. God has no choice but to punish them, as any loving parent does when their child disobeys.
An interesting thing to note is in 3:21. God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve to wear to cover their nakedness. Whose skin? An animal's, which means an animal had to die the first death on earth to cover Adam and Eve's sin. That tradition continued all the way through the Old Testament until the Lamb, Jesus Christ, died for us all.
"And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us (plural), knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After God drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life." (3:22-24)
Can you imagine what would have happened if Adam and Eve would have eaten from the tree of life? Sin would be in the world for all eternity! The tree of life in the garden is the same tree of life we saw in Rev. 22:2 in the New Jerusalem. The difference is we will be free to eat from it at that point and live eternally in the presence of God. Once again, there will paradise on earth. I can't wait!