Questions with Strange Answers, Genesis 3
Genesis 3:9-10 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he [Adam] said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
With this first Biblical question, preachers throughout the ages have enjoyed pointing out that God didn’t ask the question because He needed the information. After all, He’s God; He knew exactly where Adam was. The Lord is asking the question because He is drawing something out of Adam—and it’s not pretty. We’ll get to that later.
But take a step backward, and look at the question by itself. If you listen closely, you are hearing the cosmic cry coming from God to his lost people. The heart of God beats through each word.
If you’re a student of scripture, you know about the Law of First Mention and the role of Adam as our federal head. If you don’t know about it, that’s OK—let me explain. In everyday English (according to the Biblical Research Studies Group), “The law of first mention may be said to be the principle that requires one to go to that portion of the Scriptures where a doctrine is mentioned for the first time and to study the first occurrence of the same in order to get the fundamental inherent meaning of that doctrine.” (http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page56.html)
The principle is a treasure-locator, because in studying the first mention of something, we can often arrive at the deepest meaning of the doctrine, and even, some have suggested, the greatest insight into the heart and mind of God on a specific matter.
Adam as our federal head simply means that Adam was more than an individual. He was the head, the representative of the whole human race. God’s test of Adam was therefore God’s test of the human race; Adam’s fall was ours as well.
This first question of Scripture is therefore, in some ways, the Great Question of God throughout His word. His call to Adam was His cry to and over the human race—“Where are you?” Can you hear the broken heart of God in that question? This wasn’t a scolding parent searching for a child to punish. Neither was it the desperate cry of a parent franticly trying to locate a child lost in a crowd. It was a Father saddened by the separation that his children’s sin had caused. And the question itself was the beginning of the way back—for Adam, and for us. I refuse to add to the Scripture, but in my imagination, I can hear a crack in the voice.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you searched for us and drew us to Yourself. Help me to remember that you are always, continually, drawing me. May I always be quick to say, “Here I am, Lord!”