But not only that, there is the very struggle for existence—the toil of earning one’s livelihood, getting one’s daily bread, the hardness, the thorns and the thistles, the competition and the troubles. Why is it that thorns and thistles grow so abundantly? Why is it so difficult to get a crop of wheat or corn out of the ground? Why this endless fighting, with everything against us? All we get we have to work for with the very sweat of our brow. Again, this is just part of God’s judgment on sin. And men and women have been trying to deal with it and to cope with it ever since, but they cannot. They would like to get back to that paradise, but they have been driven out. God drove Adam and Eve out, and he put at the entrance the cherubim and the flaming sword turning in every direction. And though man in civilization has been rushing against that gate and trying to burst through, the flaming sword keeps him back. The whole story of civilization, in a sense, is a story of futility, a history of failure.
Quoted from Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (2009). The Gospel in Genesis: from fig leaves to faith . Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, p. 75.