Durer, Adam and Eve

Blake, The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve

Fall of Man
Barfield's understanding of the Fall departs from the received myth. "Man did not fall from Nature, or a state of nature," Barfield writes, "but Nature fell with him. I believe it is the case that all the known forms of the Paradise Myth represent Nature as implicated in the fall of man from his paradisal state. They all contain or imply a kind of magical sympathy between Man and Nature which made this inevitable" (RCA 207-208).

Drawing on the teachings of Anthroposophy (in "The Fall in Man and Nature"), he finds the story of the fall the key chapter in the evolution of consciousness:

On the occasion of the Fall . . . Lucifer induced man to begin hiding and hoarding his inner life, and to take pride in it--as a 'room of one's own"--making it into something separate and detached alike from its own outward manifestation (nature) and the inner world of spirit-beings. In the inner-life: instead of the old "being filled with Spirit-Beings"--Egotism. In the outer life: instead of the old experiencing of nature as one's own manifestation--a complete falling-apart of Man and Nature. Man is now started on the long road which ends in his present normal relation to nature, wherein nature is not merely his own outward manifestation, nor that of the higher Spiritual Beings who shine through him; wherein nature is not a manifestation at all, but an object--a finished work. (RCA 213-14)
The Fall is not forever. Indeed Barfield remains convinced that "on the farther side of the barrier"--the division between subject and object, mind/matter--"paradise is still actual, but only as the divine substance of 'life' itself, including biological life and thus also unconscious mind. But seen from this side it has become the wilderness, the selva obscura full of strange and menacing beasts" (RM 96).1
See in particular "The Fall in Man and Nature" (RCA 205-222).
1Careful to avoid misunderstanding of his concept of the Fall, Barfield has Burgeon refute in advance (in Unancestral Voice) one possible error:
    The Fall was a fall into evil. If I say it was also a fall into matter, then I am saying that matter is evil. That is the argument, isn't it? But surely it is a fallacy. Suppose there is water in a cistern, you can't fall into the cistern without falling into the water; and because it is that particular bit of water you happen to be falling into, and no other, you can't fall into the water without falling into the cistern. Does it follow that the water is the cistern? (91)