In 3:6, as [the woman] regards the tree and sees that it is "good for food, a delight to the eyes, and desirable for giving insight," the irony of the parallel with 2:9 (there was already "every tree desirable to the sight and good for food" in the garden) should not escape us. She already had everything she could possibly want, and she even had the resources to get everything she thought the tree had to offer.12

       The first couple had everything they could ever want, and yet history records that, in unfaithfulness to God and disobedience to his one prohibition, they threw it all away for a piece of fruit! How absurd! As Augustine noted, trying to determine reasons for such foolishness is like trying to see darkness or hear silence. Or as Cornelius Plantinga describes, sin is like sawing off a branch that supports us—it cuts us off from our only help.13 We cannot make sense out of such folly or find clear-cut explanations for the irrationality of this Original Sin.14
       If the origin of evil is one of the greatest mysteries of life, then it should come as no surprise that the existence of its byproduct—suffering—likewise remains a mystery. Paul's words "now I know in part" (1 1 Corinthians 13:9, 12) show that for at least some matters even apostolic revelation is partial; and suffering is one of those matters. God has revealed much about suffering (hence this blog post and the book on which it is based!), but our knowledge is limited and some mystery concerning suffering will remain.15
       While its source, nature, extent, and effects are themselves enigmatic enough, the primary mystery related to suffering concerns how and why a sovereign and good God chooses to decree/permit suffering in general, as well as to distribute it so seemingly inequitably. We know that sin, suffering, and death are results of the Fall, but if God is sovereign, why would he do it this way? And why do some seem to live in relative ease while others are consistently pounded with heavy blows? And why does this particular circumstance happen to this person—or worse, to me or my family? At its core, this aspect of the mystery of suffering is really the mystery of providence: Why does God run his universe the way he does?16
       Scripture's account of the Fall tells us that sin and its corollaries suffering and death are not created by God; they do not belong. Yet through the rebellion of Adam, they have intruded. The world is not the way it was, but thankfully, as Genesis 3:15 hints and the rest of the Bible makes increasingly clear, the world will not always be this way. Because the Son of God became one of us and died and arose to set things right, this ugly curse will be removed from the earth and from humanity (Revelation 22:3). Because "God was pleased . . . thru him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:19) there will be a new heaven and new earth, the home of the Trinity and God's people for all eternity. But in this interval between God's initial good creation and final recreation, sin, suffering, and death exist. And somehow the good, sovereign God guides history in such a way that he plans that evil would occur and even utilizes it to bring about his intended purposes for creation. He plans it, guides it, restrains it, and uses it.17 In doing so, he will glorify himself and benefit his creatures. So suffering may be mysterious, but it is not utterly pointless. A biblical view of the providence of God "affirms that all things ultimately have purpose, even evil acts which appear to be completely senseless."18