This is an allegorical story, but it is not an untrue story. Nor is it a simple story. Within this story lies the depth of our origin in the spiritual realm, the central components of our relationship with God, and the reason why we are now here in this physical world, away from God.
It also symbolically illustrates how we fell from the spiritual realm, and why we continue to not be able to see or connect with God.
Adam (here the "man"), represents each of us. Eve (here the "woman") represents the community of the spiritual realm. The tree of the forbidden fruit represents our innate freedom not to love God if we choose, and the fruit represents self-centeredness. The serpent represents the desire to be like God - envy.
So in the story, God comes walking through the garden and finds Adam hiding and feeling ashamed for his nakedness (nakedness symbolizes purity). God immediately knows Adam has disobeyed his request not to embrace self-centeredness.
Now the symbolic Adam denies responsibility. He blames Eve. In other words, instead of admitting our error, we want to blame everyone else.
In fact, even the notion of the "original sin," as portrayed by sectarian institutions, tries to pin the fault of all of our sinning on Adam and Eve. In other words, we want to, at all costs, deny any responsibility for our self-centeredness and sinful ways.
Isn't this what we are all doing right now? No one wants to believe that we have done anything wrong. We all want to blame someone else. How come we feel empty inside? Why is there so much suffering all around us? It's always someone else's fault. It's never our fault. We are so pure, and everyone else is so bad.
Or when we do something we know is sinful, we want to blame the devil. "The devil made me do it" is the oft-used statement. We aren't the evil ones - someone else is.
This "it's someone else's fault" potential goes hand-in-hand with self-centeredness and envy of God. When a person switches from being one of God's loving servants to a self-centered person, self-righteousness goes along with it. A self-centered person is self-righteous. We can do no wrong. Everyone else is wrong, but we are not.
This is rooted in our envy of God. Being "right" all the time is God's role. Wanting to be "right" all the time is the same as wanting to take God's position.
Even for most of those who partake in religious activities, we still consider ourselves the center, and everyone else revolves around us. For those of us who pray, most of us are simply ordering stuff from God. We ask him for money, to get healed, or for one of our family members. It is like He is our waiter or servant, and we just ask Him whatever we want. In this way, our self-centeredness and enviousness of God does not change. Everything still revolves around us.
This enviousness of God is the first "sin." When we became envious of God, we became self-centered. This is symbolized by Adam's eating the forbidden fruit. Now the symbolic Adam blames the symbolic Eve to illustrate how we simply can not admit our error. We had to blame someone else.
And we still blame others for our issues. Even though we are here in the physical world by our own choice, and we are in our particular current situation by our past activities - we still seek to blame someone else.
Each of us is our own problem. Our decisions and actions got us where we are today. God set up the physical realm as a place of consequence, in order to teach us. Our current situation in the physical world is like a mirror. It simply reflects us. There is no one else to blame but ourselves.
And only we can decide to change. In order to return home to our natural position as one of God's loving servants in the spiritual realm, we have to take the first step. We have to decide that we want to change. Only then can we begin our journey back home.