To achieve a specific purpose.
If you take a look at theological history, you’ll see that a great deal of time and energy has been exhausted answering this question: If God wants us all to live in a paradise, why didn’t He skip all of this and simply create a utopian world? You can see my general answer to this question here, but in this answer I will focus specifically on the Judeo-Christian worldview since we are speaking about Adam and Eve.
So, why didn’t God create a utopian world for us? Well, depending on your imagined utopia, He may well have. Adam and Eve were placed in a garden where they were provided with all of the food and water they needed, no worries about their survival, and would be able to eat from the Tree of Life and, presumably, live forever. Left in a tropical paradise, with no predators or threats to their survival, a human couple which were literally made for each other by God only had one rule to follow: don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
At this time, it is important to point out that God created humanity with free will, we can debate this all we want, but we undeniably have the ability to evaluate a situation, weigh the pros and cons of an action, and then decide which action to take based on our evaluation and conclusion. This ability is the fundamental premise of every judicial system around the world. In fact, the premeditation of any crime carries far more weight during sentencing, resulting in a harsher penalty. To deny this basic premise of free will would undoubtedly call into question the moral and legal systems around the world.
Why is it important to mention concepts like free will and premeditation? Because this is what happens in Genesis, Eve studies the tree, reflects on God’s rule, and decides that God must be keeping the fruit to Himself because of some mystical power the tree holds. Mind you, there is no evidence portrayed in Genesis to support this idea, it seems that Eve came to the conclusion on her own. Whether you believe the serpent to be a real being, or believe that it is a metaphor for specific human traits (you can read more about that here: A Snake In The Garden), the fact of the matter is that Eve became convince of this in her own mind after considering the situation, and intentionally decided to partake from the tree against the command of God. They had one rule to follow and, instead of following it in good faith, they decided that God must have made the rule for nefarious reasons.
We cannot have a utopia without communal trust and individual sacrifice. These were the first things to be overcome by human desire in the Garden of Eden, a land of abundance, security, and freedom.Tweet
We cannot have a utopia without communal trust and individual sacrifice. These were the first things to be overcome by human desire in the Garden of Eden, a land of abundance, security, and freedom. In exchange for this betrayal of trust, which was performed in a direct pursuit of individual gain, we were introduced to the concept of right and wrong, driven largely by our own emotions. Shame and fear are the largest drivers of our subjective form of morality. Fear of death, shame of losing independence, or as Genesis clearly points out, shame of our own bodies. As I pointed out in my answer linked above, in order to create a paradise, you must first create something imperfect, yet capable of perfectly preparing one for paradise. That is what I believe this life is for, garnering the experiences required to be prepared for something better. To be ready to trust, ready to love, and to resist succumbing to fear, desire, and shame.
If you enjoyed this post, check out more of my answers on Quora!