Genesis 3:8–13 (ESV) — 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Running Scared – Vs. 8:
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Having succumbed to the Serpent’s sneer, a number of things take place.
- The context of their nakedness/vulnerability has completely changed.
- Their nakedness/vulnerability, once an asset, now leaves them feeling exposed.
Having rejected God’s goodness, they experience their nakedness/vulnerability as guilt, shame and rebellion.
“Before Adam and Eve decided to be their own masters, they had no problem with radical vulnerability. Now suddenly being vulnerable, being seen by somebody, being observed, being visible, being open and uncovered is traumatic” – Tim Keller.
The result is that when God draws near they push Him away – they run and hide.
- Facing the very one whose goodness they rejected becomes problematic.
- So much so that after their sin, they run away from the very one they should run to.
Worse to Worse:
This problem of sin leading to further rebellion is the same today.
- We sin, and in our shame, we punish ourselves with further sin.
- We run away from the very one we should run to.
J. Budziszewski makes the following observation about some women who get abortions.
- “Those who will not accept conscience as a teacher must face it as an accuser, and if they still run away they run into even deeper wrong.”
“She keeps getting pregnant to replace the children she has killed; but she keeps having abortions to punish herself for having killed them. With each abortion the cams of guilt make another revolution, setting her up to have another. She can never stop until she admits what is going on”.
How do we break this cycle?
Cool of the Day:
Interestingly, there may be even more reason they were running scared.
- It involves the Hebrew word “ruah”.
- Normally, it means wind, breath or spirit – TWOT.
However, having said that, most agree it is a very difficult word to translate in Genesis 3.
- This is seen by some of the ways different interpretations do so.
- “Cool of the day” – ESV, NIV, ASV.
- “Breezy time” – NET Bible.
- “Time of the evening breeze” – NRSV.
Michael Heiser (and others) suggests that all of these meanings may be wrong.
- Hebrew scholars like Heiser say the meaning of the Hebrew phrase in Gen. 3 context comes from its relationship to the Akkadian language.
“An interpretive clue may be found in the word ‘day’ (yom). Akkadian has an equivalent word, umu. Aside from meaning ‘day,’ umu can also mean ‘storm.’ This clue indicates that the phrase here should possibly be understood as Adam and Eve hearing God coming ‘in the wind of the storm’” – Heiser.
The TWOT and John Walton agree.
- TWOT says it should be understood as something like the “blast of a storm”.
- John Walton translates the phrase, “They heard the roar of the Lord moving about in the garden in the wind of the storm” – John Walton.
Interestingly, there is a similar occurrence of this translation in Isaiah.
- Isaiah 27:8 (ESV) — 8 Measure by measure, by exile you contended with them; he removed them with his fierce breath in the day of the east wind.
If this is true, it adds to the drama of verse 8.
- It demonstrates that not only has the context of their nakedness/vulnerability changed.
- But, also further highlights that the context of their relationship with God has changed.
- The corruption of their vulnerability became a barrier to their fellowship with God.
- They now experience God’s presence as a brewing storm.
This is something only God can remedy.
- And He begins to do so with His examination of Adam and Eve.
- As we saw with Budziszewski’s observation, they need to admit what is going on – sin and running.
The Examination – Vss. 9-11:
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Victor Hamilton makes this observation about the raw sensitivity of their nakedness:
- “It is not necessary for the Lord to speak for the man to panic. It is only necessary that he be present, walking in the garden” – Victor Hamilton.
Such was the nature and sensitivity of their guilt and shame.
- “Now they have lost their innocence, their childlike trust in the goodness of God” – Kenneth Mathews.
What is obviously bizarre about these verses is how they portray God.
- He looks like He as no clue.
- “Where are you?”; “Who told you?”; “Have you eaten of the tree…?”
- Clearly not how Moses would think about God.
- So there must be something else going on here?
Most believe that God is being purposely rhetorical in His questioning.
- Just as He does with Cain in Genesis 4.
- Genesis 4:9 (ESV) — 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
God clearly knows all there is to know – it is not knowledge He is after.
- God is after confession.
- Heiser – “God asks not because He lacks information, but to elicit a confession.”
- “The passage describes God as a parent who instructs His children with restoration as His purpose” – Apologetics Study Bible.
- And interestingly, “He did not question the serpent, because He had no plan to redeem the tempter” – ASB.
Why is this necessary for God to do?
- Why is it an act of grace?
“There will be no possibility for reconciliation if the guilty are unwilling to confess their deeds” – Mathews.
- The rhetorical questions give them a chance to do so.
- The questions give Adam a chance to fess up.
He sought them out so that they, by the feelings and burdened conscience that accompany their corrupted nakedness/vulnerability, would realize they are in need of Him.
The Blame Game – Vss. 12-13:
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Adam blows his chance to confess horribly.
- Not only does he blame Eve, but he also blames God!
- Eve, at least answers the question honestly – she was deceived.
- But, God holds them both accountable – as we will see soon enough.
It is important to note here that these verses confirm something for us.
- Adam and Eve’s actions in our text were not borne out of anything approaching repentance or spiritual maturity.
- By hiding from their Creator, they acted as spiritual babies.
- They did nothing worthy of emulation.
- They showed us how bad off we are – unless God steps in.
Lesson for Us:
As a result, our text demonstrates some very important themes of redemptive history.
1) By covering themselves and hiding, they show that our actions to cover our sin are useless.
- Something with redemptive power over sin and death is needed.
- Romans 4:4–7 (ESV) — 4 Now to the one who works [cover his sin with fig leaves and hides from God], his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
- Only the work of Christ on the cross and His subsequent vindication in resurrection can cover our sin.
2) Their hiding shows us how necessary it is for God to seek us and draw us to Him.
- Verse 8 demonstrates this – it is the Lord God that seeks after Adam and Eve seeking to redeem them.
- There is nothing about us in our sin and shame – our corrupted nakedness – that will seek after God.
- Jesus makes clear how necessary it is for God to seek us…
- John 6:44–46 (ESV) — 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
Tim Keller describes our text as depicting alienation as the fruit of their sin.
- Adam and Eve are both alienated from God – they try to hide from him.
- And, in covering up, they are also alienated from each other.
The text highlights just how relational the nature of this alienation is.
- God’s presence is anthropomorphically highlighted – His walking, talking, and His sound.
- In their nakedness/vulnerability, Adam and Eve used to rejoice in this presence.
- Now they hide from it – the awful price of sin.
Is it any wonder that God has to draw us to Him?
- Is it any wonder that so many reject Him rather than face their guilt and culpability?
- Mankind’s corrupted nakedness is a curse in itself.
I will close with Tim Keller’s wisdom:
God is telling us, “Get out from behind that tree. The only way you’ll get over your fear, the only way you will get over the trauma that’s happened to your soul, the only way you will be happy again is if you are naked and unashamed. Come out from behind that tree. Open yourself to me. Admit what you’ve done. Come to me, and I will clothe you. I will cover your sin. You will be naked and not ashamed” – Tim Keller.