DIG: What four questions did God ask? Why did He ask those questions? What is His intent? Why does ADONAI address Adam first? Why was Adam afraid? Wasn’t it Eve who led Adam into sin? What does the LORD want from Adam?
REFLECT: When did you learn that nothing can be hidden from Elohim? When was the last time you were called on the carpet by God? How did you respond? Were there consequences, or did you receive mercy? How do you handle consequences for your actions? Were you repentant or resentful? Do you accept responsibility for your sin, or do you blame the devil (James 1:13-15)?
While Adam and Eve were hiding from God, He was already seeking them with merciful intent. The Bible teaches that ADONAI is forgiving, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love (Nehemiah 9:17b). Here He was looking for some honesty so that He would have an opportunity to forgive. It is important to understand that being forgiven does not mean that there are no consequences for our actions. A murderer may be forgiven, but he or she still goes to prison. The consequences for the serpent, for Adam and for Eve will come soon enough. But for the moment, God wants confession. First things first. And, although Eve had sinned first, the LORD addresses Adam because He holds the man responsible for what goes on in the marriage (see Bf - Your Desire Will Be For Your Husband and He Shall Rule Over You). Therefore, ADONAI, God called to the man (3:9a).
ADONAI, God asked four questions here, and the first question He asked Adam was: Where are you (3:9b)? Now, He obviously knew where Adam was since He knows the secrets of the heart (Psalm 44:21). The real issue was why was he hiding? This is very similar to God’s other where questions. He wants an admission of guilt. The LORD asked Cain: Where is your brother Abel (4:9)? And He asked Hagar: Where are you going (16:8)?
Adam replied: I heard you in the Garden. Now Adam was not answering God’s question (Where are you?), but he was answering the implication of the question: Why are you hiding? Adam answers: I was afraid. Here he admits that the reason for his fear comes from within him, and not from the LORD God. It was a fear of Elohim that Adam had never experienced before. Then he gave the reason for his fear: because I was naked. His fear was not so much a result of his nakedness, as it was a result of the knowledge of his sin nature. He concluded by saying: so I hid (3:10). At this point he did not incriminate Eve. He uses the singular I, not we. But his chivalry would not last long.
Then ADONAI, God poses a second question designed to get Adam to confess what he had done: Who told you that you were naked (3:11a)? Normally, if you are naked, you know it! The implication behind the question was this, what is the source of your knowledge and the feeling of your guilt and shame? For nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him who we must give an account (Hebrews 4:13). The LORD’squestion to Adam was, therefore, not designed to extract information; it was designed to probe the conscience of Adam for Adam’s sake – to draw out a confession.63
Now comes the third question. Here, ADONAI goes from the general to the specific. He asks: Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from (3:11b)?This shows that the LORD God knew his sin and was giving him the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. The question begs for a confession, but Adam’s reply tries to shift the blame. In fact, he begins by indirectly blaming God Himself and says: It was the woman You put here with me. After all, it was Elohim who created Eve! Adam takes no responsibility and becomes the victim. She gave me some fruit from the tree (3:12a). How contemporary this is to our own society; criminals want to paint themselves as victims. This shows how quickly and completely sin had corrupted Adam. Ultimately, like small print at the bottom of an advertisement, Adam's admission comes only after minimizing his own involvement in the sin: and I ate it (3:12b).
Finally, God asks Eve the fourth question: What is this you have done (3:13a)? This is the only question directly addressed to Eve. She replied: The serpent deceived me. She also lays blame on another. It was the serpent’s fault! At least she didn’t blame the LORD. She didn’t say: It was the serpent that You made. Nor did she say: The man You created didn’t stop me. Eve admits that she was deceived, and she finally confesses: I ate (3:13b). Instead of repentance and sorrow, there was avoidance and blame. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. The whole thing was sickening. Death was in the air, and their losses were incalculable.
Oh, the things we would all take back, if given the chance. Hasty decisions, rash words, and thoughtless actions that felt good at the time only to backfire, leaving wounds, closed doors, and estrangements we can’t seem to repair. Did Eve relive again and again that fateful moment when she believed the lie and bit into the fruit? Was she depressed over losing Eden and about the rift that had invaded her marriage? Were any tears shed at the loss of access to God? We only know that her world, her life, her body, her marriage, her work, and her relationship with ADONAI, God – all changed forever.
Her admission also comes at the end of the sentence. Like Adam, sin had fully corrupted her. But her confession did not release her from her guilt. Yes, the Enemy of souls had deceived her, but she willingly disobeyed a clear command from Elohim. The consequences of their sin would now be realized. The order of their sin, the serpent sinned first, then the woman, and finally the man, would be the same order of their judgment. So Ha’Shem now turns His attention to the serpent.