In the Garden of Eden, God was fully present with Adam and Eve. The whole of creation was filled with the manifest presence of the glory of God. In a certain sense, the whole of creation was a temple for God’s presence, with his rule and reign extending over all he had made. However, with the entrance of sin, humanity experienced for the first time the absence of God. Sin is, at its root, a broken relationship. To put it another way, whenever we sin we are choosing—at that point—the absence of God in our lives. Sin might be understood as all those places in our lives and in our actions where we have said “no” to God’s presence and we have shut God out.
God’s plan is to once again fill the world with his glory and presence. The temple (preceded by the tabernacle or “tent of meeting” in the wilderness), was the provision God made for this return of his presence among his people. It had an outer court, an inner holy place where sacrifices were offered, and an inner sanctuary known as the holy of holies where the high priest would enter once a year.