The Parties Arraigned and Sentenced: Part 2 of 9 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
and said unto him, Where art thou?
Man has disobeyed God, and now he is a lost sinner, but God will not leave him in his lost condition. This is the most astonishing thing about the Scriptures; God does not abandon men and women and leave them to their just deserts. God revealed His love for Adam in the question He asks; because the purpose of interrogating Adam is to cause him to see where his disobedience has brought him, to contemplate his present circumstance and give an account of why he is in the condition in which he finds himself. The first question that Gad asks him is WHERE ART THOU? It is not as if God did not know where he was; God always knows the condition of our heart and the state of our faith and it is impossible to hide anything from Him, let alone, to hide ourselves from Him, as our first parents attempted to do. "Where is this foolish man?’’ Some have said the question is an expression of grief: “Poor Adam, what has become of you?’’ You were my friend and my favorite, I have done so much for, and would have done so much more; have you now forsaken me? Has it come to this?’’ It appears to be a question concerning his conviction and humiliation: WHERE ART THOU? Not, in what place? But, in what condition? "Is this the result of eating forbidden fruit? You thought you would be able to compete with me, but now you run from Me and hide.” The lesson from this is that those who have gone astray from God by sin should seriously consider where they are; how far they are from His goodness, in bondage to Satan, and on the road to total ruin.
His calling for Adam may be considered a gracious search done out of kindness and in order to bring him back into God’s favor. If God had not called to him, to regain him, his condition would have been as desperate as that of the fallen angels; this lost sheep would have wandered endlessly outside the Garden, if the good Shepherd had not sought after him, to bring him back where he could again be happy and content—If sinners would realize where they are, they would not rest until they return to God.
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said,
The answer Adam gave was couched in a trembling voice: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and I hid myself.
I heard thy voice in the garden,
Here is the voice of the sinner; he is not straightforward, open, and aboveboard. All he is interested in is avoiding any blame for offending his Creator. He admits that he heard the Lord calling him; ADAM…WHERE ART THOU? His mind was probably racing, as he attempted to come up with an excuse for what he had done. And what did his mind dream up?
and I was afraid,
Sin makes man a coward and an equivocator and a liar; it leads him to seek refuge in half-truths, deceit, evasion and outright lies. What Adam says is partially true; but he is more concerned with avoiding the consequences of his sin than with the outrageous thing he had done. The immediate consequence of sin is:
1. SHAME, because of the ingratitude which is discernible in the rebellion, and because in aspiring to be like God they were now sunk into a state of great misery.
2. FEAR, because they saw they had been deceived by Satan, and were now at risk of undergoing that death and punishment from which Satan had promised them an exemption.
He does not admit his guilt, but by acknowledging his shame and fear he confesses he is aware he has disobeyed a command of God. This is the usual reaction of those that are foolish enough to have done such a foolish thing; when they are questioned about it, they admit only what is so obvious that they cannot deny it.
It is appropriate to remark that SIN continues to produce the very same effects! Shame and fear were the first fruits of sin, and fruits which it has consistently produced, from the first transgression to the present time.
Instances of cowardess: Adam, in attempting to shift responsibility for his sin upon Eve, Gen. 3:12. Abraham, in calling his wife his sister, Gen. 12:11–19; 20:2–12. Isaac, in calling his wife his sister, Gen. 26:7–9. Jacob, in fleeing from Laban, Gen. 31:31. Aaron, in yielding to the Israelites, when they demanded an idol, Ex. 32:22–24.
because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Adam was afraid because he was naked (or so he says); he was not only defenseless, and therefore afraid to contend with God, but unclothed, and therefore afraid even to be seen by Him. We have good reason to be afraid of approaching God if we are not clothed and hedged with the righteousness of Christ, because nothing else will cover our sin and the shame of our nakedness. Let us therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and then draw near Him with humble boldness.
of his nakedness was more keenly in Adam’s mind than the fact that he had broken God’s command. Sin causes us to think more about what may happen to us because of our sin than of the fact that we have disobeyed God. Why should he have been afraid because he was naked; it did not matter that he was naked before he sinned?
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
And he said,
God is represented as coming down from heaven to conduct an investigation into the conduct of His human pair, because he is aware they have disobeyed His command not eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They are hiding somewhere in the tall grass or behind some bushes or among the trees; but their Maker knows where they are hiding. He will extort confessions from them, but they will attempt to make their sin appear less serious than it really is and to shift the blame away from them and onto another.
Who told thee that thou wast naked?
Then God asked another question, but this one was in two parts; first He asks “WHO TOLD THEE THAT THOU WEST NAKED’, and the second part was ‘HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE?’” Adam must come to realize that the sin which he had committed was more serious than any personal consequences he may bare. He must have a deeper awareness of his sin and of its effects on the entire human race. The realization of his nakedness from a sinful perspective was directly related to his eating fruit from the forbidden tree.
Hast thou eaten of the tree,
This is a straightforward question that God put to the man—HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE? It would be easy for Adam to answer Yes or No. A simple, honest confession was what God wanted. Although God knows all our sins, he still wants us to admit that we are aware of them, and to confess them to Him; not so that He is informed, but so that we are humbled.
We want to be forgiven, but He will not forgive us until we confess our sins to Him. Then He will “forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness.”
whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
In this examination, God reminds him of the command he had given him: "I commanded thee not to eat of it, I thy Maker, I thy Master, I thy benefactor; I commanded thee to the contrary.’’ Sin appears the clearest and most sinful when seen through the lens of the commandment, therefore God sets before Adam, both the commandment and the breaking of it; and it would be helpful, if we would see our sin through the same lens.
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the man said,
Here are some additional proofs of the fallen state of man, and that the consequences of that low estate would extend to succeeding or future generations. Adam’s response reveals his refusal to take responsibility for his own actions. The woman will copy his response.
The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,
When he answers the question, HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE? Adam is obliged to acknowledge his transgression; but he does it in a way that shifts the blame from him, and lays it first upon God and then upon the woman! This woman whom THOU didst give to be with me, to be my companion, SHE GAVE IT TO ME, AND I DID EAT. You cannot blame me for this transgression; I did not pluck the fruit; she took it and gave it to me, and I ate it only to please her.” Adam not only shifts the blame to the woman, but also to God. The implication is that if God had not given him the woman, this act would not have taken place; it was the influence of the woman that caused him to sin. Sin has now divided the family, not only from each other, but from God.
Blaming the woman was a silly thing for Adam to do. He ought to have taught her, not to have been taught by her; and it was an easy matter to determine which of the two should rule him; his God, not his wife. Let us learn from this, never be overcome by the urging of another to act against our consciences, or to ever displease God, in order to please the best friend we have in the world. But this is not the worst of it. He not only lays the blame upon his wife, but on God himself: "IT IS THE WOMAN WHOM THOU GAVEST ME for my companion; she gave me the fruit, and persuaded me to eat it. I was tricked, so I am innocent. This is how he insinuates that God was an accessory to his sin: he gave him the woman, and she gave him the fruit; so that he thought of it as if it came from God’s own hand.