In Genesis, we read of how God created the world and created human kind in His image. Everything was good. People lived in harmony with nature. They lived in harmony with one another; and they lived in harmony within themselves. Life was, by all indication, peaceful. There was no emotional pain. Work was not stressful. People did not go hungry. People were joyful and happy. If this is the way God created the world, why are things not still this way? Why is life so difficult?
In Genesis 3, we see a story in which people disobey God for the first time. This disobedience causes disharmony in God’s creation because God had given people authority over creation (Gen. 1:28-29). Since God created the world with harmony, the further from God the world gets (relationally speaking) the more disharmony there will be in the world and the greater difficulty all people will have in life.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
And he said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Then the man replied, “The woman You gave to be with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
So the Lord God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?”
And the woman said, “It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.”
Then the Lord God said to the serpent:
Because you have done this,
you are cursed more than any livestock
and more than any wild animal.
You will move on your belly
and eat dust all the days of your life.
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.
Disharmony with nature
Because of sin, people constantly wrestle with the natural world. God predicts this as He punishes the serpent for deceiving Eve. This is the first level of difficulty that comes as a direct result of sinfulness, and we will even see it repeated as God punishes Adam. This is not hard for us to get, we see it in our world today: I have to ask the question: why do people seem to work against the ebb and flow of nature while every other creature instinctively seems to know its place? As people, we cut down entire forests to build houses People are the only creatures that wake up in the morning and get dressed. Every other creature seems to have its place in the natural order, but people are sort of separate from nature in many respects. This passage describes a world where, because of sin, there is actually hostility between people and snakes. There is! In fact, there seems to be hostility between people and most creatures. People are afraid of being attacked by wild animals. Wild animals are afraid of being attacked by people. Even with our pets, we experience hostility because we have to fight them to have control over them. If you don’t train a dog, he will leave special presents wherever he wants and sometimes that is not good! The first level of difficulty we have in our lives as a direct result of sin is disharmony with nature.
He said to the woman:
I will intensify your labor pains;
you will bear children in anguish.
Your desire will be for your husband,
yet he will rule over you.
Disharmony with other people
As if disharmony with nature wouldn’t make life hard enough, God also predicts that sin would bring about disharmony with between people. Here it is specifically between husband and wife, but we can apply it to all of humanity. Because of sin, we struggle with one another. This is why people are prone to just get angry with others. This is why instead of talking and trying to genuinely understand one another, we are prone to condemn and attack one another. This is why guys are so dumb when it comes to relationships and it’s why ladies can sometimes be needy. It is why nations wage war against nations and it’s why people kill and steal from other people. This is why bosses and teachers can be mean and why employees and students tend to slack. People sinned against God and started this movement away from God. The further the world gets from God, the more disharmony there is between people.
And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’:
The ground is cursed because of you.
You will eat from it by means of painful labor
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow
until you return to the ground,
since you were taken from it.
For you are dust,
and you will return to dust.
Disharmony with self
Here we see that disharmony with nature actually extends beyond just animals and also applies to plants. We know that even before he sinned, Adam worked the Garden (Gen. 2:15). After he sinned, work became burdensome. There is an implied internal conflict here. Adam knew he had to eat, but doing the work was a burden. I have experienced this internal conflict when I have had to write a paper for school, when I’ve had to clean up around the house, and when I’ve had to do something at work that I really just did not want to do. I also struggle within myself about what to believe or think about certain topics. People struggle with sadness, depression and feelings of worthlessness. As a direct result of sin, there is disharmony of self. For some reason my heart, mind and body just don’t seem to operate in sync with one another. It’s because of our sin and our movement (as a human race) away from God.
We’ve learned that difficulty in life comes from the disharmony of the world. This disharmony is a consequence of sin (separation from God). Here is the good news: God is making all things new:
Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:
Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things have passed away.
Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son.
God will bring harmony back to His creation. This is the promise for those who are in Christ. We persevere through life’s difficulties for a time, and when God restores His creation He will also restore those who have believed in Jesus Christ. If we have Christ now, then He begins that restoration work in us and through us now. He gives us strength to make it through difficult times and He gives us peace even in the chaos.
 Genesis 3:8-15 (HCSB)
 Genesis 3:16 (HCSB)
 Genesis 3:17-19 (HCSB)
 Revelation 21:3-7 HCSB)