And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.(Genesis 3:8-10)
In the moments following the transgression, to their horror, Adam and Eve experience the ever increasing ramifications of sin. Sin is death. It is death to friendship, love communion, trust, peace…in short, to everything that makes life beautiful.
Had they not sinned, the couple would have delighted in fellowship with the LORD. But now, terror gripped their hearts, as they heard the sound of the LORD God drawing near to them.
Adam and Eve well knew that their sin had made them guilty. It was not that they now felt guilty, but that having sinned they were now guilty, they had transgressed, and were now fully liable to Divine judgment.
The prospect of standing naked and ashamed before the Holy, benevolent God filled them with fear. God would see them! He would look upon their nakedness and shame with Holy eyes, it was too much to bear.
Therefore they hid themselves, as the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve have been doing ever since. Guilty man ever flees from his enemy, the Holy God, as it is written “there is none that seeketh after God…they have all gone out of the way.”
This flight from the only true God, is an excercise in futility, because God is omnipresent, and omniscient, as the Psalmist reminds us,
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.(psalm 139:7-10)
But Adam’s fallen instinct was to run from God, and to attempt to hide from him. He was on his own, autonomous, therefore he would solve his own problem, and attempt to create his own reality, as though God was far away or non essential.
But the illusion of godlessness soon evaporates at the coming of the Lord and with the sounding of His voice.Though the first couple sought to hide from God, in mercy God sought them out.
God could have justly damned the man and the woman for their transgression, they had broken faith, they had rebelled against Him who had made them and ordained for them such a lofty calling.
But the LORD instead called out to them in Love.
“Adam where are you?”
The most high God knew where Adam was, He who knows all things, needs no information. When God asks a question it is to bring us to a realization of our estrangment and to a humble confession of sin.
By His searching questions perhaps we can be brought to the place where we realize where our sins have brought us, and to look up to Him alone who can save us.
In this tender act, He shows us that His intention for man is salvation, and not solely justice. Even in the wording of the question there is no scathing reproach of Adam. It is a fatherly question, as though he were asking, “Where are you son? Have you found what you were looking for in sin?”
In calling out to Adam, God is requiring of Him some introspection, some consideration of his actions, and acknowledgement of the breach that it might be healed.
Adam and Eve’s hiding is called “remaining in darkness” in the New Testament. It is the effort to not be known of God, the attempted refusal to be seen as we truly are, the resistance to an honest facing up to our actions in the sight of God.
Christian conversion is called “walking in the light”, It is nothing less than the the willingness to be known by God, the acceptance of God’s evaluation of our state, the open confession of sin and unrighteousness.
Jesus would characterize everyone in the world, as being either those who love the light and come to it, or those who love the darkness because their deeds are evil. This evaluation is the very basis for final judgment.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.(John 3:19-21)