The Strange Interaction at the Fall

No matter how many times I reread Genesis, I find there’s always something new to learn. In this case it was my friend Janae at Bible study last night who pointed out how it was strange that of all the things Adam could have been afraid of after he ate from the tree, it was that he was naked. Check out the strange interaction between God and Adam.

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?” (Genesis 3:9-11)

Now if I was Adam, I’d be thinking: Crap. God’s here and I did the one thing he told me not to do. What’s going to happen now? But instead Adam is simply thinking, I’m naked—I have to hide.

Now obviously there’s some deep symbolism here—Adam feels exposed and found out and is now aware of right and wrong among several other things—but it’s interesting that he’s more afraid of being naked in front of God than he is of any punishment for his sin. It almost seems that the innocent Adam is so used to being close to our loving God in His holy tabernacle of Eden that he is completely unaware of any such thing as a consequence. He knows nothing of judgment yet—nothing of what sin can do. He seems unaware that he might have to leave God’s presence in the Garden. He was told that if he ate of the tree he would die and even the intensity of that warning doesn’t seem to have sunk in.

And this is where it gets even more intriguing—it’s almost as though God trusts Adam and Eve so much that his first statement isn’t, “What did you do?” but, “Who told you that you were naked?” Granted, these statements happen back to back, but it’s interesting that God first gives Adam the benefit of the doubt (even if God already knew the answer to his question).

In the end, this passage gives us a small glimpse into what life was like in the unhindered presence of God and his holy space of Eden. Adam seemed blissfully unaware of any such thing as sin, consequence, and judgment. Likewise God was so close to Adam that his first assumption was that Adam hadn’t sinned against him, but that someone else had given him information that He had never communicated to Adam himself.

This is a picture of the kind of sacred relationship we’re entering back into now in the “already, but not yet.” And one day, we will return to that relationship in its fullness.

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema

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