Gen. 3:9 “Adam, where are you?”
This phrase has always perplexed me. The All Knowing, All Seeing, All Present God stands in a garden and says, “Adam, where are you?” Don’t get me wrong, I get the symbolism of the story and that God is now spiritually distant from Adam, but it still did not really make since. Even symbolic reference in the Bible tend to have a notion of logic in them. But this story is different. How can the Almighty ask this question?
Recently, my Thursday bunch (still no idea what to call ourselves, mostly because no one but me cares to have a name) has been studying Jonah. As a part of the study, we examined the phrase “from the presence of the LORD.” It was incredibly insightful to see that the Bible explains this uses this phrase to discribe those who are separated from intimacy with God, from communion with God, and from the mission of God. Out of the fall, Adam and Eve hide “from the presence of the LORD.” (Gen 3) After murdering his brother, Cain “went away from the presence of the LORD.” (Gen. 4) In Job, Satan goes out “from the presence of the LORD” to harm Job. (Job 2) Jonah “flees from the presence of the LORD.” (Jonah 1) And in stark contrast Peter calls the people of Israel to return “to the presence of the LORD.” (Acts 3)
So, last night (Wednesday, November 10th) I came home from youth group and my wife (who deserves most of the credit for the insight) shares this song with me by Don Francisco. The music is a little Old School for my taste, but the words are profound and powerful.
God’s words in the garden were not intended to highlight Adam’s pitiful attempt to cover himself. They were intended to highlight the separation that was now felt between God and man. To highlight the desperate state that man has now steped into.
Just imagine, all through the rest of his life, Adam would hear that phrase echo in his ears. “Adam, where are you?” Oh they weight of such a phrase. I can picture Adam, working in the field, digging in the dirt to plant some seeds, and he suddenly collapses as he realizes yet again that his is gone from the intimacy he once shared. What about when Cain was born and Eve says, “I have gotten a man!” Did the voice of the LORD echo in his ear then? “Adam, where are you?” Did he break down right there or try to hide his tears as he was overcome with the realization that he caused his son to die before he was ever born?
In Romans 5 Christ is called the second Adam. Where the first Adam brought death and destruction, the second Adam would bring life and peace with God. Now, things can be different, Now the curse is gone, Now God isn’t say, “Adam where are you?” but “Adam, here I am.” Intamacy, communion, and mission are now restored.