by Kristen C. Strocchia
“But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:9-10
“Shh! I think I hear God coming!” Can’t you just hear Adam and Eve whispering and shushing one another like little children who know they’ve done something terribly wrong? Satan was right about this one thing, they would now know–by experience–good and evil. God’s goodness contrasted with the sinful evil that Adam and Eve had invited into the world.
But even though God is omniscient–all-knowing–He calls out to Adam with a very pointed question. It’s not to alert God to Adam’s presence that He asks, “Where are you?” It’s to bring Adam to a place of spiritual understanding about where he now stands–separated from God by his own choosing.
And make no mistake, the evil of sin shatters, first of all, our relationship to God.
How lovingly our Creator had prepared everything at the Creation, adding man as the pinnacle at just the right time. How carefully He endowed man with His own breath and image, forming him by hand as a unique individual among the whole of Creation. Adam was given life to love and be loved by God.
Yet the first effect of sin was for Adam to fear God. “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid…” [Genesis 3:10].
He was afraid because he now understood the holiness of God contrasted to the newly fallen sinfulness of his human nature. He was afraid because he recognized God’s sovereignty and felt the weight of his disobedience, his lawless, guilty and shameful choice to break faith with the One who made him. He was afraid, and he hid.
Six-thousand years later, we find ourselves in the same predicament as Adam. Sin pervades our human nature by virtue of being descended from Adam [Romans 5:12]. God lovingly knits us together in our mother’s womb [Psalm 139:13], maintains the order of the cosmos to graciously provide for our every need, and sends testimony after testimony of Himself in every possible way [Romans 1:20], and yet we humans still disobey Him.
We disobey Him. We hide from Him. We try to say that He doesn’t exist so that we have no God to fear but ourselves.
But just like with Adam, God speaks into every heart, asking one first question, “Where are you?” He asks for two reasons: 1) So we can come to understand our spiritual distance from Him; and 2) So we can choose to do something about it [James 4:8; John 3:16; Matthew 7:78; Isaiah 55: 6-7].
Have you heeded God’s first question to you? Where are you spiritually? And what are you doing about your relationship with Him?