The story of Adam and Eve can be read as a metaphor for the development of human consciousness, when we shifted from operating on instinct to becoming sentient beings who began to understand our world on a whole new level. We became aware of our actions and the actions of others. We became aware of the impact of all of those actions, for both good and evil. We became children of God.
I think that on some level, to our detriment, we've been trying to create the illusion of the Garden of Eden ever since.
It can manifest itself in different and multiple ways for different people. We resist commitment (to people, to ideas, to meaningful work). We search out and cling to pat answers. We don't face hard things straight on. We create dogmatic checklists of rules that lull us into believing we're doing enough good when we follow them. We numb ourselves with addictions. We refuse to listen to people who don't see things the way we do. We whitewash history (of our faith, of our nation, of ourselves) because that is more soothing than owning up to and learning from mistakes. We use what we earn not just to sustain us, but to make ourselves comfortable. We ignore things that make us uncomfortable. We separate ourselves from people we view as sinners. Or from people who are poor. Or from people who are different from us for whatever reason.
It seems we fear knowledge, the fruit of the tree. Instead of following the admonition to live in the world, but not of the world, we want the safety of living on the world, but not in the world.
Engaging is painful and messy and dangerous and hard work.
Here's the rub: We think we are protecting ourselves. Perhaps we think creating a bubble will enable us to get through this life unscathed and on to the next. But instead we miss out on true growth. Growth that comes from knowledge and engagement in the world. And as children of God we are meant to grow up.