Entry Level Theological Truth 
“So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’” Genesis 3:10-11
Asking the right questions is a time-honored teaching tool. Socrates, the Talmudic sages, and the Lord Jesus – the Master Teacher Himself – all used razor-sharp interrogatives to lead their listeners in directions that they previously selected.
Of course, God was the first to employ this pedagogical methodology as demonstrated in Genesis 3:10-13. More than merely instructing, however, the Almighty also reveals His heart while interrogating Adam and Eve. In His pointed questions one sees the Creator’s saving and loving nature. This conversation leads humanity’s ancestral parents to confront themselves and discover God’s abundant and pardoning mercy.
You Only Hurt The Ones You Love
During their previous state of innocence, God calling “Adam, where are you?” would have been a welcoming sound to their ears. On this occasion it drove the man and his wife into hiding. Rather than command them to instantly appear, the Lord began drawing them out through questions. In His omniscience, He knew exactly where they were cowering in guilty fear. Yet He wanted them to reveal themselves to Him – physically and spiritually. This was not some sadistic stratagem to shame them; instead, it was His opening move in the skillful pursuit of their souls. As Mackintosh classically describes the Creator’s actions:
God, at the first, came down to create; and then, when the serpent presumed to meddle with creation, God came down to save. This is brought out in the first words uttered by the Lord God after man’s fall. ‘And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?”’ This question proved two things,—it proved that man was lost, and that God had come to seek,—it proved man’s sin and God’s grace. ‘Where art thou?’ Amazing faithfulness! Amazing grace! Faithfulness, to disclose, in the very question itself, the truth as to man’s condition: grace, to bring out, in the very fact of God’s asking such a question, the truth as to His character and attitude in reference to fallen man. Man was lost; but God had come down to look for him—to bring him out of his hiding-place behind the trees of the garden, in order that, in the happy confidence of faith, he might find a hiding-place in Himself. This was grace. To create man out of the dust of the ground was power; but to seek man in his lost estate was grace.1
Exposing The Wound So That Healing May Begin
In order to save mankind from their sin, the Lord must tear away the masks that sinners craft for themselves. Adam and Eve needed to learn the principle that forgiveness must be preceded by the acknowledgement of one’s sin. His questions are aimed at leading them to the confession of their sin. Sadly, at first Adam merely declares his negatively altered condition of being naked and ashamed. Then he proceeds to blame Eve for his crime (unfortunately, he is not the last husband to do that!)
Given that this was the first instance of human sin, the first humans had no case-law upon which to base their reaction. In grace, God teaches them the heinousness of their sin by pronouncing judgment, but then provides a covering of their guilt (Genesis 3:21.) Along with the divinely provided animal skins, the Lord also gave them the promise of “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) – a future deliverer who would achieve lasting victory over Satan and evil itself. Clearly, this prophecy points forward to the cross of Christ.
No More Hide & Seek
Ever since the fall of mankind, God has extended pardon based upon the redemptive death of Christ on the cross and the subsequent resurrection. Those who desire to be forgiven and legally declared righteous need only come to the risen and glorified Christ for this desired state of blessedness. Instead of hiding from their Creator, people should flee to him, avowing their guilt and asking for the love and forgiveness that He freely offers. As Grant puts it: “Confidence in…[His] goodness enables us to take true ground before God, and enables Him thus, according to the principles of holy government, to show us His mercy. Not in self-righteous efforts to excuse ourselves, nor yet in self-sufficient promises for the future, but ‘if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’”2
1C. H. Mackintosh, Genesis to Deuteronomy: Notes on the Pentateuch., Originally published in six volumes under the titles: Notes on Genesis, 1880; Notes on Exodus, 1881; Notes on Leviticus, 1881; Notes on Numbers, 1882; Notes on Deuteronomy I, 1881; Notes on Deuteronomy II, 1882., (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1972), p. 33. Italics original.
2F. W. Grant, Genesis: In Light of the New Testament, (Galaxie Software, 2004), pp. 45-46. Brackets & bold-face mine.
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