I would like to contribute my personal understanding of the Genesis account concerning the Garden of Eden and hopefully add some benefit to your questions.
Ummm, I guess I should warn you that your questions demand adequate explanations and so you should expect my comments here to be rather lengthy.
The first question that needs to be answered is, Why did God create Adam and Eve in the first instance? Meaning: what was God's purpose and plan with mankind?
The answer can be found by questioning about our own spiritual existence; our own Christian journey. What is the motive and intent of God concerning us ... His children?
There are of course many degrees of responding to this question. But the primary answer is that God is seeking a worthy partner. James 4:5 says that God seeks "jealously the spirit He made to dwell in us". God's desire is to unite with human spirits. God is seeking a fellowship of love and cooperation with every man.
(The reason that every man and woman have the intrinsic desire for a mate is because our inner being was created in the image of God Who possesses similar desires and yearning).
God wanted to give from Himself; He wanted us to be a part of Him. God wanted a partner to whom He could give Himself completely in love and in whom He could rejoice throughout eternity. This partner would be able to return His love and have an enormous amount of possibilities and thus God would never lose interest in him. This partner would be able to be participate and cooperate in all of God's plans.
This partner would be on God's level. A partner able to live in an atmosphere of pure love and who would, from out of their free will, dedicate all their created abilities and talents to a relationship in complete dependence on God. A being in whom God could be "all in all", (1Cor 15:28).
No, God wasn't thinking of a second God. Rather, He thought of a worthy partner that would fit Him perfectly and harmoniously. A woman to God, after His image and likeness. We could describe it as "complementary" to God; completely belonging to one another, in existence and works. Yet, it cannot be said that man is somehow equal to God. God created man with qualities and abilities which correspond to what is in Him. He created a human being that was completely complementary to His own being. Not a being that was identical to God, but a being who fitted God harmoniously in every aspect.
All of God's plans and purposes are based on the thought of His longing for a worthy partner. So, it would be man who would be created as "God's son"; born from God, and to God, and would grow into an adult son. Man, with his (by God) created potential to grow into a mankind, who as God's wife would live with Him until eternity.
God created the heaven and the earth and all things therein to acquire this woman. In the Garden of Eden, God had us envisioned. There would be a heaven and an earth, richly and abundantly provided with all possibilities and means to prepare that man for his godly destiny.
Why did God create the heaven AND the earth? We might be inclined to say that these worlds cannot be complimentary to each other. But the very opposite is true. The visible, material world does not exist independently on its own. It is influenced, carried and controlled from the spiritual world. Heaven exists for earth and earth exists for heaven. They "belong" to each other; they are complementary to each other.
God is not only King of heaven, but also of earth. It is especially with regard to man, that God created these two worlds.
What does this mean when the Scripture says that God blew the breath of life into his nostrils? In the original Hebrew text a word is used, (neshamah), which is translated as "spirit"; also in other Old Testament verses too, (Job 26:4 and Prov 20:27). The breath of life is not something "material", but something "spiritual". We could say that the soul connects spirit with matter, the spirit with the body. Perhaps even better said, because the soul lies enclosed in the human spirit, the spiritual body of man has the ability to form a unity with the natural body and functions in it as "neshamah".
In Isaiah 57:16 the word "neshamah" is translated with "soul". Therefore, God gave man something which can be described in words as breath of life, spirit and soul. Therefore, blowing the breath of life indicates the formation of the inner man which is formed from the elements of the invisible world (heaven) which enabled man to function in the spiritual world.
Paul speaks of the eyes of your understanding, (Eph 1:18), the eyes of your heart. Of Jesus it was said that he perceived in His spirit, (Mark 2:8). The spirit of man can therefore "see"; he has spiritual eyes. The book of the Revelation states, "he who has ears, let him hear". So, man not only has natural eyes and ears, but also spiritual senses with which he can perceive the invisible things in the spiritual world. Because man can "hold on to something" in the spiritual world; he also has spiritual hands. In Ephesians 6 we are called to put on the spiritual armor and to clothe our inner man with it. Paul was not speaking here about our natural hands, feet, head and loins, but about our spiritual. In John 13:31 it says that Jesus was troubled in spirit. His spiritual heart was moved. Man therefore not only has a natural, but also a spiritual heart. This is how we understand the meaning of Proverbs 23:26, "My son, give me your heart". This is about our spiritual heart, the core of our life.
In many ways, the inner man was created similar to the heavenly being of angels. The description of angelic beings lend a clear image of a body. Therefore, our inner man has the shape of a body. Man has, as do the angels of God, spiritual eyes and ears. He can, just as the angels, speak in the spiritual world with a spiritual mouth. He has a spiritual heart and spiritual hands and feet. Man has, just as the angels do, a spiritual body by means of which he can function in the spiritual world. This is how God created us.
However, an angel is created for the spiritual world, for an existence in one world. Plants and animals were created for the natural world, they live only on earth.
It must be said that the spiritual heart of man was created and intended as a higher level than that of an angel. Angels cannot assume a physical shape because they do not possess a natural body. Neither do they have a soul. They are spirits and not men, having no flesh and bones, (Luke 24:39).
But the most important distinction between an angel and a man is that the spirit of man has the ability to grow and develop; to mature. Angels do not have this ability; this ability was not created in their spiritual hearts.
So, the spiritual heart of man is something specifically "human" which contains and holds all abilities that God gave to man. The word "soul" describes our being human; while the word "heart" describes the very inner being of man.
Man is a unique creation of God, the highest being that is formed in heaven and on earth. It's not for nothing that the Scripture says that man is the crown of God's creation. God created man for a life in two worlds simultaneously. Because of this, all the laws of the invisible world flow together with the unique principle of growth and development which is the basis of the visible world. In man, the material and immaterial is clenched together in one being. Man, together with God, could and would be able to rule both the heaven and the earth. That's how God thought of it all "in the beginning" and continues to think of it in this very day.
God established a unique principle of growth and maturity in this human being. From this perfect starting point, man could grow into an adulthood which God had pictured: a life on a level worthy to God. Therefore, it's not without cause that the psalmist sang: "For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet", (Ps 8:5,6). The Psalm does not point to the imperfect man (nature), but to the still immature man, (stature).
The "let them have dominion" must be understood in all it's fullness. The dominion of man(kind) over all created things is only possible from a heavenly position. Not merely a being that only lives on earth. No, a being who has a relationship with the Creator of the earth, to someone who finds himself on the same level as that Creator, and who can work with all possibilities that position offers.
The inner man is a beautiful "composition"; it is not divided. When the Bible uses the word "soul", both the inner core of the person as well as the person as a whole is indicated; because they are inseparably interconnected as one. The personality of man is seated in his most inner being which permeates every fibre of both his natural and spiritual body. The word "soul" encompasses the unseen characteristics of the being "man". No other creature is addressed in such a manner.
Paul writes that the natural comes first and afterwards that which is spiritual, (1Cor 15:46). This was and remains for all men; including Adam. No one can gain understanding of the heavenly realities, if there is not first an awareness of the natural things. This is why Adam and Eve are introduced to us as living a completely naturally orientated life; naming the animals and other earthly duties associated with his dominion over the visible world.
The narrative about Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden is telling us about the beginning of a new stage in the life of the man which God had created. Outside the Garden, Adam was a creature made in the image of God. But now, Adam is about to undergo a metamorphosis and changed into the likeness of God; from a natural being into a spiritual being ... what we Christians name as a "new creature".
The Genesis account clearly shows that Adam did not initially live in paradise. In verse 15 we read: "The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it".
Outside the Garden the rule had been: "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food".
However, inside the garden there was one tree, the fruit of which man was not allowed to eat: "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die", (Gen 1:29 & 2:16-17). So, just as an eclipse, the garden of Eden had two centers: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The narrative about Adam and Eve dwelling in the Garden of Eden is speaking to us about the beginning of the spiritual part of their lives; their functioning in the invisible world of the spirits (heaven) and about equipping themselves spiritually to discern between good and evil in that dimension. We are reading about when man was in the position to start his journey to the throne of God!
If Adam and Eve wanted to become truly spiritual people they would have to take up their position in the heavenly places. They would never be able to reach the throne of God without meeting fallen angels on their way. This means they needed to have discernment of spirits. Entering into the Kingdom of heaven means: opening one's spirit for the inspiration and influence of the thoughts of God. In their inner man they would have to be able to discern the voice of God and close their spirit against the seducing inspiration of the Evil One who would try to block their way through the heavenly places to the throne of God. That is why Jesus said: "And the sheep follow Him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of the strangers", (John 10:4-5).
The meaning of the earthly garden of Eden is derived from the unseen, spiritual, heavenly paradise. In the Kingdom of Heaven there are two centers: the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness; God and the devil. The trees in the midst of the garden were images of the invisible reality in the Kingdom of heaven; indicating the two opposing kingdoms.
Clearly, the Garden of Eden was not without its grave dangers because it was a picture of the heavenly places. Toil and struggle were the divine instruction to Adam. He had to till the garden. To reach the purpose, man would have to strive to enter. Two kingdoms were represented in the garden. Adam had to learn to choose between life and death, between the truth of the Word of God and the error of the lies of the devil. He had to learn to abide only in the thoughts and the words of God and to obey without listening to the enemy. Jesus said: "He who keeps my Word has eternal life".
Although Adam and Eve had no knowledge of the heavenly places yet, they were not to be excused for what they did. Their insight into the natural world should have drawn their attention to the fact that a serpent who spoke with a human voice was a lawless creature. Adam and Eve knew the substance and the nature of all living creation and the way in which it was to behave. It was their duty to protect the garden from lawless intrusions. What should they have done? They should have seized the reptile and thrown it out of Eden. Instead, they allowed the dark evil forces to do their work in this animal and which successfully turned it into a tool of the devil.
The serpent had put itself at the service of the Evil One and opened itself up for him. Now it was cursed and surrendered to the demonic powers. These turned it into an outcast, a pariah of the animal world, whose purpose it is to injure and oppress creation.
The Evil One had taken possession of the serpent in much the same way as the demons later went into the herd of swine in the country of the Gadarenes. In allowing this the serpent had also elevated itself above its natural, earthly limitations and made itself available to the world of the occult. For this reason it was humiliated among the animals and pushed back to the earth where it belonged. The verdict was: "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat, all the days of your life".
The way things went with Adam and Eve was no different from what happens to so many Christians of our days: they were seduced 'by the activity of Satan with all power and with pretended signs and wonders', (2Thess 2:9).
People assume that all supernatural things are from God. We hear many Christians boasting about miraculous healings take place at some evangelistic meeting, about phenomenal forces which are at work where even strong men are thrown onto the floor. Whether these things are in accordance with the Bible, such a question is of minor importance to them. The masses are attracted by the miracles. People who are attracted by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be mesmerized by the powers of magic. They see forks and spoons being bent by mysterious forces and old watches start to tick again by means of the lawless powers of the kingdom of darkness All who seek miracles outside the confines of the faithful church will be deceived in the end.
In paradise the serpent opened a door into the kingdom of heaven by which man was enabled to 'climb in by another way'. By this we can recognize the 'thief and the robber'. In the mass healing campaigns, for instance, miracles are the main thing. The disappointments people have, become reasons to reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord taught us that healing and restoration of man will follow the preaching of the gospel.
The words Balaam's ass spoke were true, somebody may object. The animal was used by God. The words the slave girl cried after Paul and his companions were good words. With a loud voice she cried: "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaims to you the way of salvation." (Acts 16:17). But Paul was annoyed by this seemingly positive interference of the Evil One, and in the name of Jesus he commanded the demon to depart. Balaam's ass had served its master throughout its life, and this had created such strong bonds between it and the occult world of the sorcerer that it spoke with a human voice, just as the serpent, and saw more clearly even than the double-hearted prophet.
Adam and Eve should have chased the serpent from the garden. This is a rule in the Kingdom of heaven. For a few moments only Eve refuted the tempting lies of the Evil One, but then she gave in to his subtle message. The first human couple did not obey the words of God precisely, and that is why they were removed from the garden. In our days let us be watchful that we do not sin in the same way as our ancestors by listening to the fantastic and dangerous lies of the Evil One. If we listen to. him we, too, will surely lose our contact with the Father and die. Let us instead eat of the tree of life in faith and obedience, and thus have eternal life.
The words of God in Genesis 3:19 could be paraphrased as follows: "As you now prove to, be dust, so you will return to dust". Carnal, natural man cannot enter the eternal Kingdom of God. He will not be changed in a moment; but die and enter into Hades, the realm of the dead. God now prevented man from further developing in the spiritual world.
Before, we saw that eating the fruits of both trees would stimulate man to become a spiritual being. Now God did not want this to happen any longer, for the Evil One was able to claim man for himself. Thus God sent the man and the woman forth from the garden of Eden, the image of the Kingdom of heaven, to return to the soil from which they had been taken.
As far as achieving His purpose was concerned, God thus abandoned the old creation. Henceforth, the best thing for man was to lead an ordinary natural life after the law. For man it would be best to use his spirit in understanding and developing the visible creation. His spirit was no longer allowed to rise up to share in the life of the heavenly places because of the grave dangers threatening there.
For that reason God placed cherubim at the east of the garden who had flaming swords which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. The flaming blade is the image of the word of God which expresses His thoughts and commands. In the Old Covenant man, these words now applied: "The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the earth He has given to the sons of men", (Psalm 115:16); Deutoronomy 29:29 also says; "The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law".
After Adam and Eve were sent out of Paradise, heaven became a closed region for men. For that reason Old Testament worship concerned itself with the visible natural things instead of with the invisible spiritual things. The Old Covenant had an earthly sanctuary and high priest and ceremonies. However, the law could not address the real causes of sin; the unseen evil spirits. By observing the law, one achieved righteousness by means of outward effort. On the other hand, the New Covenant revealed the things which had been "hidden since the foundation of the world", (Matt 13:35).
The New Covenant mentions the opened heavens. Paul wrote: "For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God", (Cor 2:10). He added: "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God". So Paul here mentioned the depths of God, a walk, a struggle and a victory in the heavenly places. To us the Word of God says: "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth", (Col 3:2).
At the east of Eden lies the land of Nod, (Gen 4:16). The word Nod means 'exile' or 'sojourn'. This is the place where Adam and Eve were sent. They were doomed to live as sojourners in a strange country. Their own soil, their proper place in the heavenlies, was closed for them. They could not return to the Garden of Eden, and-similarly their inner beings (spirit) could not rise up to the regions for which they had been created.