Sin has alienated man from God
The greatest virtue of man is love. A wise man once asked Jesus what the greatest command was in all the Jewish Law. Jesus replied: Love God with all your heart….AND love your neighbor as yourself. Those are the top two. The first and second greatest commandments are to love.
It seems to me these 2 commands are related to the Fall. I might even say that these two chief commands are necessary because of the Fall. In the Fall, man loved himself. His decision to eat of the tree was not out of love for God and it was not out of love for his fellow human. It was love for self. Self ascended to the top and God and others were shoved aside. The Fall could very accurately be described as the sin of self-love. This is countered with Jesus’ teaching when he said, “No greater love has anyone than this: than to lay down his life for his friends.” Love sacrifices self. Sin sacrifices others.
ALIENATION FROM GOD (8-9)
Sin brought alienation from each other. Then we see sin has brought alienation from God. Read verses 8-9….
First: They hid. “When they heard the sound of the Lord…they hid…” They did not cover up. They hid. THey were way more terrified of God seeing them than they were of being seen by each other. They were scared to be naked in front of each other, but, once covered, they could be in each other’s company. But not with God. When they heard God coming they bolted. They didn’t say, “Well, thankfully we’ve put on these clothes, let’s go see what God is up to. Maybe he won’t notice our new outfit.” And it wasn’t as though they felt just a little more embarrassed with God, as though they grabbed a few more fig leaves to cover up more than they already were. Fig leaves quickly became “not enough” when God was coming. No. When they heard God coming everything inside of them screamed “RUN!” The fear of being confronted by God was so powerful, so overwhelming, there was no way they felt they could be in God’s presence.
This reaction of sinful man hiding from the Holy God is seen all throughout Scripture. Moses, Gideon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Peter, John and so on.
Second: They hid in the trees. First the fig leaves, then the forest. Next we’ll see him use the woman to hide, “the woman you put here with me…”
Man is always trying to use the things around him to hide. In Revelation 6 it says that when the Wrath of the Lamb comes men will hide themselves in caves and under rocks in terror. Man is always using his environment to hide. We hide behind material things, behind lies, behind good things and so on. Think then of terrifying Revelation 20 is when it says, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.” There was no place for the earth and the sky. There was no earth and sky, but, notice what it says is there: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne….” Do you see it? From the moment man sinned he has been trying to hide from God. He uses everything in creation to hide from the Creator. But in the end, at Judgment, think of the utter terror of standing before the Creator as He is about to begin Judgment, and everything inside of people is going to be screaming “HIDE!” but there will be absolutely nowhere to go. Existence has been reduced down to just God and man. And the books. Oh, the books.
Third: God’s calling. Then notice that God calls out to man. “Where are you?” I have heard it said, and I wholeheartedly agree, that this is one of the saddest verses in the whole Bible. “Adam, where are you?”
Now, does God know where Adam is? Absolutely. He is All-Knowing. He’s not trying to discover information that He doesn’t already have. It’s not like God was walking through the Garden and something just felt “off”, like He didn’t know what but something just wasn’t right. That’s not it at all. God is All-Knowing and He knew where Adam was the whole time – both geographically and relationally.
So why is God calling for him? Why doesn’t God just “appear” behind Adam in the trees and say, “What are you doing hiding from me? And where’d you get that terrible outfit?”
The reason God calls out to Adam is to draw Adam out. He’s making Adam come out of the woods to make Adam come clean with what he did. God is calling Adam out in order to call Adam back.
APPLICATION: Shame makes us run from God.
APPLICATION: Love makes God seek for you.
APPLICATION: Grace makes you run to God.
DIVINE INTERROGATION (10-13)
Now we get into the Divine Interrogation. There are 3 defendants: Adam, Eve and Satan. Take a look at the order happening in the chapter. During the temptation we saw Satan, then Eve, then Adam. Now in the interrogation we see God reverses that order: he starts with Adam, moves to Eve, and then arrives at Satan – the one who started it. THen in the next section where God pronounces judgment, he works back through the order again, starting with Satan, turning to Eve, and finishing with Adam.
Now why does this interrogation even happen? Why does God question them if He knows everything? God is going to establish the facts. He does this questioning throughout Genesis (4:9 and 16:18).
Again, this is NOT because he doesn’t know what the facts are. God doesn’t ask questions to discover information He doesn’t know. He knows everything. If you realize that it will change the way you see God’s questions in the Bible. This is procedural. Before pronouncing judgment He takes His sinful creatures through the procedure of laying out the facts of their sin, thus displaying the justice of His judgment. This is how it will be on the day of Final Judgment too. Like God said to Job, “Now I will question you and you will answer Me!” The reason God’s questions are going to be answered is because man has to give an answer to God. Man is going to be judged and God is his Judge. And man, made in God’s image, will be “convinced” and convicted in the judgment process of his sinfulness before God. What is more, upon final judgment, man will see the divine glory of God as he brings judgment – the glory that man rejected leading to his judgment.
So first up is Adam. God levels his eyes at Adam and questions him first. He did make him first after all before he made the woman. Read verses 10-12
“I was afraid….” How many times in Genesis do people say this as an explanation for their deceptive and treacherous behavior? Abraham saying his wife was his sister, Isaac doing the same, Jacob running away from Laban…
APPLICATION: FEAR exists where FAITH is ABSENT!
So Adam says he hid from Go because he was afraid of God. God says, “Well, how do you know that you’re naked?” In other words, “Why all of a sudden are you aware of your nakedness when the last time I saw you you weren’t aware of it?” When Adam was innocent of sin he had no sense of shame, no sense of guilt, no sense of something being wrong with him that would require him to cover and hide. Obviously God knows what happened and so He calls Adam out: “Did you eat from the tree I told you not to eat from?”
Now pay attention to Adam’s response. What he says is true. He does give an accurate description of how things went down. And the order in which Adam describes things is accurate chronologically: God did give Eve to Adam, then Eve did give Adam the fruit, and Adam did eat it. That is accurate in every respect.
But knowing how we humans are it is really hard to miss the blame shifting going on here. “Now the woman you put here with me…” Lets stop right there. Adam is wanting to put God on his heels here and make God consider that He bears some blame for what happened. It’s like Adam is saying, “I would never have eaten from the tree if she had never given it to me and she would never have given it to me if you hadn’t put her here with me. I was doing just fine with the animals. I didn’t ask for her. It wasn’t me who said its not good for me to be alone.” So Adam begins the way we always begin when we don’t want to own our faults: we blame God.
APPLICATION: All blameshifting ultimately is blaming God. You may be mad at someone for what happened but youre ultimately mad at God. I’ve heard people with venom in their teeth towards another human being and when I ask if they’re mad at God, they calm right down and say, “Well of course not, how could I be?”
This is what we do in our pride: we blame other people for our own faults. We want the responsibility for our own actions to be at the feet of people around us. Adam wasn’t rationalizing why what he did was right. He was rationalizing why what he did wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t his fault. Read Fruchtenbaum p 91-2.
So God turns to Eve and asks her what she has done. Her answer is important: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” She knows she was deceived. She confesses she sinned, and the explanation is the serpent had deceived her.
The reason this is important to note is that Adam isn’t said to have been deceived. But Eve confesses to it. And the rest of the Bible treats Eve as the one who was deceived. “Just as Eve was deceived by the serpents cunning…” (2 Cor 11:3). “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” (1 Tim. 2:12-14)
APPLICATION: Sin is deceptive. Now Satan is certainly deceptive. He is an angelic person who is a liar. But here’s the thing: the sin nature within us is also deceptive. This deception that Satan and the sin nature operate with are always meant to lead us to sin. Romans 7:11 says, “For sin [nature], seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me….” Sin within works to deceive you. How? Remember when we saw that temptation is the inward process of desiring sin and justifying it to ourselves? The justification part is one aspect of deception: the lie that its okay to sin, the lie that you have a right to sin, the lie that no one will know your sin. The sin nature will “say” anything to get you to sin.
This is why you and I need the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way the TRUTH and the life.” He said “If you obey my teachings you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”