The book of Genesis opens with a number of allusions to a cosmic conflict that was already in full force when Eden was created. The earth was “formless and void” (“tohu wabohu”) which can be interpreted this way:
“The forces that oppose Yahweh and his acts of creation – the forces of disorder, injustice, affliction, and chaos, which are, in the Israelite worldview, one.” – Levenson, Persistence of Evil
“Darkness was over the surface of the deep” and darkness would imply more than a mere physical darkness:
“The Hebrew word simply means ‘darkness’ but in the Bible it has come to symbolize what opposes God, such as judgment (Exodus 10:21), death (Psalm 88:13), oppression (Isaiah 9:1), the wicked (1 Samuel 2:9) and in general, sin” NET Bible footnotes
Adam was then commanded “subdue the earth” or to “bring it under your control” (Genesis 1:28) which literally means to enslave or conquer. Then God told him to “guard” the garden. Guard from what? Weeds?
Critical to our understanding of the world is to incorporate a cosmic conflict, a “war in heaven” (Revelation 12:7) and with a powerful enemy who shows up as a slippery serpent in the garden of Eden.
In the video below, Dr. Brad Cole narrates his powerpoint slide presentation.