“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
Genesis chapter 3:8 is both a beautiful verse, and a worrying verse. We read “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day”. This sounds so pleasant. The way it is worded suggests to me that this event had occurred before. Therefore, it is likely that Adam and Eve had been experiencing close fellowship with the Lord God. If He was walking, then this must have been a theophany – a pre-incarnate appearance of the Second Person of the Trinity. It would literally have been paradise just to walk with Jesus in the cool of the day, having fellowship with Him.
But on this occasion, there was no longer close fellowship. “The man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Where there had previously been sweet fellowship, now there was fear, guilt, and shame. But, as David noted in the Psalms, there is nowhere we can go to hide from the presence of the Lord. So God calls, “Where are you?”
Why does God ask questions like this? God knows exactly where Adam and Eve are, and what they have done. The answer to this question will not be of benefit to Him, so it can only be of benefit to the man and his wife. God is offering them the chance to repent, and by the subsequent events, He shows them a way back to fellowship again.
Prayer: Forgive us, Lord, for the times when we foolishly try to hide our guilt. Thank You that You have never left us without a way of salvation and forgiveness. Amen.
Ref: Morris, H.M. (1976), The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), pp. 115-116. Image: Jim Padgett, Sweet Publishing, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.