The cosmic upheaval that came about as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve can be summarized as alienation or estrangement. Both words are important to the biblical understanding of salvation, because salvation is articulated in Scripture in terms of reconciliation. Reconciliation is necessary only when there is estrangement or alienation. Many of the early chapters of the Old Testament describe the historical roots of this alienation.
We are shown, first, that there is estrangement between man and nature after the fall. Sin is not merely a human problem; it brought upheaval to the entire cosmos: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:22–23). God gave Adam and Eve dominion over creation, so when they fell, their corruption affected everything within the boundaries of their domain. When God placed His curse upon Adam and Eve after the fall, that curse affected even the ground; the world became resistant to the hands of fallen mankind.
Second, there is alienation between man and God. As a result of the fall, we are by nature in a state of enmity with God. We hear people say that God loves everyone unconditionally, but such thinking ignores the the reality of this estrangement. In fact, much of Scripture is devoted to revealing to us the steps God has initiated to cure this problem. The goal of salvation is to bring about the reconciliation of estranged par- ties. If those parties are not reconciled, they remain estranged.
Third, there is the alienation of man from man. Much violence occurs between human beings, not only on the individual level of bro- ken relationships but also on the grand scale of nations rising against nations. When we sin, we not only disobey and dishonor God, but we also violate each other with murder, theft, adultery, slander, hatred, and envy. The whole gamut of sin describes the way in which we injure other human beings and are injured by them in return.
Finally, we see the alienation of man from himself. People today focus much on self-esteem and human dignity, so much so that schools restrict punitive measures for wrongdoing to avoid injuring the fragile egos of children. This has gone to an extreme. Behind the self-esteem movement is a realization that human beings have a problem with self-esteem. The reason for that is sin. At the fall, we became alienated not only from God and from other people, but also from ourselves. It is not uncommon to hear people declare, “I hate myself.” Underlying that attitude is the fact that we cannot completely deny the wickedness that resides in all mankind.
"Everyone's a Theologian" by RC Sproul: A Review