God warned Adam that death would be the consequence of his disobedience. In the Bible, death is separation from something. Physical death happens when our spirit separates from our body. It took Adam 930 years before he actually experienced physical death. Spiritual death happens when our relationship with God is separated by sin. And eternal death (also called the second death) happens when a person is permanently separated from God in a place called hell.
Adam and Eve did not die at once physically, but they did die at once spiritually. They experienced immediate alienation in their relationship with God. And they would have died eternally had God not protected them from the tree of life with the flaming swords of the Cheribum (3:20-24).
When Adam and Eve took a bite from the forbidden fruit, they immediately knew something had changed. The serpent promised them enlightenment, “Your eyes will be opened” (3:5). What they actually experienced was more twisted and hideous. They became aware of their nakedness. Suddenly the holy and pure gift of God was polluted. Their eyes were opened alright, but to a new and unholy consciousness resulting in shame, guilt, and lost innocence.
Furthermore, they knew good and evil as the devil said they would, but not exactly like God. God knows evil like an oncologist knows cancer. Adam and Eve learned evil like a cancer patient knows cancer. They did what they could to cover themselves. But man’s “fig leaves” are never good enough in God’s eyes. The Bible teaches that salvation is “not by works” (Eph. 2:8-9).
They also tried to hide from God. Have you ever played hide-n-seek? We try to avoid people with whom we have an estranged relationship. Adam and Eve thought they could hide from God in the trees and bushes. How sad and foolish. Sad because the trees that once brought them delight became a place to distance themselves from God, and foolish because "there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13 NKJV).
Are you trying to hide from God? Maybe the last place you want to be is anywhere near a church or around God's people. Are you trying to cover up your shame and guilt because you fear what God might do to you? Know this, God loves you. Yes, he loves you enough to confront you with your sin and point you to his grace in Jesus Christ.