When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden, something happened that we don’t normally realize:
They hid themselves.
Now, you’re probably pushing back and thinking, “Of course we realized this.” However, often times our ideology says otherwise.
Too often, we Christians want to paint a picture where, instead of Adam and Eve hiding from God, God hides from Adam and Eve. We never say this of course. But, we say the same thing in different ways.
We say, for example, that when humanity fell into sin, God, in his holiness, could not even look upon us in our sin. When Jesus took on the sins of the world on the cross, the Father turned his face away, unable to look upon such depravity. We paint a gospel that not only has humanity being reconciled to God, but God being reconciled back to humanity. Salvation then not only becomes something that restores our relationship with God, but God’s relationship with us.
But God didn’t hide from Adam and Eve—they hid from God.
In fact, Genesis 3 even reports that after they had fallen, Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze…” But wasn’t the Fall supposed to be the event that separated God from humanity? Of course he walked with them before they sinned, but what of this walking in the garden after they transgressed? Actually, it was the sound of God’s walking in the garden that led them to hide themselves away.
The fall didn’t separate God from humanity—it separated humanity from God.
This may sound like the same thing, but I promise that it isn’t. Many times, we want to paint it both ways, but it is clearly just one. A God that hides away from sinners flies in the face of what we see of God revealed in Jesus. He communed with those the society had deemed “sinners”. He looked the poor, the sick, and the marginalized in the face and showed them love. Jesus shows a God who saw that humanity was still hiding from him and yet a God who sought them out. Indeed, Jesus said that he came to “seek and save the lost.”
The God that we serve is holy but this holiness is not one that is threatened by the company of sin and sinful humanity. He isn’t a God that unable to enter into relationship with humans until some kind of appeasement is offered. He is a God who seeks us out, even when we are hiding—not one who is hiding simultaneously.
In the Fall narrative of Genesis 3, Adam and Eve realize that they are naked. However, the beautiful thing about this is that verse 21 says, “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.” God clothed them. God doesn’t leave us naked; he gives us clothing. And God doesn’t leave us in hiding; he seeks us out.