The Tree Which is in the Midst of the Garden
The Garden of Eden was a lush place. Groves upon groves of all kinds of trees. No weeds. No parasites. A sanctuary of goodness and innocence. No crimes, no violence, no evil thoughts. No fear, no tears, no pain. Two people living a life of peace and harmony and sweet communion with their God. Any one of us would likely trade our current circumstances for a chance to live in that environment so free from corruption and the demands of our daily lives.
Yet the perfection of Eden was undone.
 Who is to Blame?
By whom was perfection undone? At its starkest we can perhaps level the blame at Eve for being the first to violate the commandment of God. Yet even before that happened, there was the serpent. Yet the serpent was one of God's creatures, and we have no indication that it was evil in any moral sense. We have no record of any commandments given which would have had a bearing on the behaviour of the serpent. All we know of the serpent's characters is that it was 'crafty' or 'subtil'. But a quick cross reference check shows that this is not inherently a negative trait (Prov 12:16, Prov 12:23, Prov 13:16, Prov 14:8,15,18, Prov 22:3, Prov 27:12).
At some level we might be tempted to think that the perfection of Eden was undone by God Himself! God created a perfect environment; and then He introduced Law. Sin is not counted where there is no law: "where there is no law, there also is no violation." (Rom 4:15). Furthermore, Romans tells us that the law 'brings about wrath'. If God had not made that single law, issued that single commandment, then the serpent, regardless of its disposition or nature, would have had no means to affect Eve. The innocence of Eden would have been preserved.
But is innocence good?
In a sense God has complicated all of our lives. Adam and Eve had trouble enough with one single commandment, we have many. We have also many principles which we must constantly try to apply to our behaviour without the clear-cut lines that the law offers. Our lives are full of complicated moral situations and dilemmas. We suffer ill health. We suffer from the sins of others. We suffer from the consequences of our own failures. We suffer from natural disasters. Each of brings another dimension and set ethical dilemmas that Adam and Eve could not have even dreamed of. They had a paradise on earth! And if not for one simple command, perhaps they would still have it today...
But was the paradise perfect?
If we take as articles of faith the fact that God is good (Luke 18:19), if we are prepared to accept that he is working on our behalf, not against us (Rom 8:28), then we have to ask ourselves: Why did God issue that commandment? Why did He prime the pump which enabled the existence of sin and all of its terrible consequences?
 That which lies within
When someone runs in a marathon, are they really competing against everyone else? When someone plays golf, what can their opponent do to thwart them? The challenges of these endeavors is to test oneself, to reveal what is within, to refine our capabilities. If I never had picked up a golf club I could easily fancy myself a good golf player. 'It's just a ball and hole, how hard could it be?' I can envision myself thinking... But once the golf club is in my hand, and I'm on the course, it becomes evident to me where I stand in the world of golf. Have I become a worse golf player? No, I simply have to release some of the illusions I might have had about myself. Is golf evil? No, it is simply the conduit through which I have learned more about who I am.
It doesn't really matter if I live in an illusory world where I'm actually good at golf, the consequences of my misapprehensions are meaningless. But it does matter if I think I'm perfect, when in fact I am simply untested. it does matter if there is a fatal flaw lurking within me that I am ignorant of.
If you knew in your heart of hearts that your child had some terrible disease but the symptoms were not yet evident, what would you do? You'd ask your child to go get a blood test. Does the test make your child sick? No, it only reveals what is already true within. Would your child be happier believing they were not ill? Absolutely, but what are you more concerned with? Providing blissful ignorant temporal happiness, or providing eternal salvation?
 Love desires a greater good
This is what we find in the Garden of Eden. We find all the appearances and illusions of perfection, but within the hearts of Adam and Eve lay human nature. (Jer 17:9) They were sinless, but not perfect. What would we expect a loving God to do for them? The same thing we would do for our children. We would arrange for them to experience something which would reveal to them the truth about themselves. Eve did not become imperfect when she ate from that tree, she merely gained indisputable evidence of her preexistent imperfection. The Law did not cause Adam to fail, it merely revealed the nature that was in him. (Rom 7:14-25)
For Adam and Eve to achieve true perfection, it was essential that they recognize their true nature. It was essential for them to recognize where they stood in relation to God so that they could begin the process of rectifying the problem of their nature. God would rather have them suffer, and be saved, than blissful, and perish. (Heb 12:11)
James chapter 1 gives us two final thoughts on this topic: The first is that God does not tempt anyone, temptation always comes from within. (James 1:13-16) Eve's struggle (Gen 3:6) was caused by what she desired, not by what surrounded her. Temptation simply reveals to us the flaws that lie within us. The second point that James make is that God brings good things into our lives (James 1:17) and sometimes what is good for us is something that will reveal (to us) our shortcomings. (1 Cor 10:13)