It seems we would not be able to fully grasp the concept of love without sin. Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, LSB). This verse seems to indicate that to understand the greatest type of love; we must have the sin that makes sacrificial death necessary. This is, of course, tied to the first point, as should be expected—we cannot truly understand grace without truly understanding love.
Why did God allow humans to fall into sin? To answer that question, we need to think of redemption. If our redemption (and glorification) is merely a return to the garden-of-Eden-state, then the fall makes little sense (hardly the felix culpa it’s known to be). On the other hand, if our redemption eventually brings us to a state that is better than our original state in Eden, the fall begins to make sense. In that way, the fall is a tool in the hands of the Redeemer (to borrow Paul David Tripp’s title) to create the maximally blessed creature. In this way, we can conceive of some of the ways in which God’s sovereignty fits with Adam’s fall.
Before we consider some options, a disclaimer is in order. Our consideration of God’s decrees can never be perfect since we look upon eternally considered actions with finite minds. We cannot fully understand God’s decisions any more than a child can understand her parents’ desire to see her eat her vegetables—the growth and planning are too far from our perception. But, like explaining things to a child, God can shade in the corners, so we get a rough idea of the general picture.
What are some of the benefits that the fall produced for humanity? What would we miss out on if Adam and Eve never fell? Below are five things that the fall produced which would not occur in a world without the fall:
The fall allowed Adam and Eve (and their progeny) to experience the grace of God. Their state before the fall was that of the covenant of works. God told them that they would maintain perfect blessedness if they abstained from eating of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. That is, their blessedness was tied to their ability to abstain from the sin of commission (eating of the tree) and omission (failing to be fruitful and multiply). Therefore, their fall enabled them to experience the unmerited grace of God (John Murray, I have been told, would disagree and say their original state was also the covenant of grace since no one can deserve to be created by God, but his is a minority position).