Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (v.9).
James Hunter, a sociology professor at a large university, highlights the shift from shared moral foundations to individual choices that shift and vacillate. He says, “Most Americans continue to think of their lives in moral terms; they want to live good lives, but they are more uncertain about what the nature of the good is.”
To me, this suggests that the more autonomous we become, the further we drift from the principles, attachments, and communities that nurture us toward real life. Gaining so-called personal liberation may actually lead to losing what we hold most dear.
When God placed Adam and Eve in Eden, he them the entire garden to tend and cultivate. The world was open to them. The only restriction was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God was not selfish or stingy. Rather, He knew there was some knowledge they could not bear.
Tragically, the serpent beguiled Eve. She ate. Then Adam ate. And this knowledge that they coveted rushed over them like a tidal wave. But it was not liberating. It was like a lead anvil dropped on their soul. They were not free; they were afraid.
God approached the garden, gently asking where they were. Adam answered, “I hid. I was afraid” (v.10). They had never known fear. They had never hidden. This new knowledge did not open up new possibilities. Rather, they were cornered, cowering. Before, they had danced in the open. Now they ran, and they hid. Their world was not larger but smaller. By disobeying God, Adam and Eve did not become more themselves but less themselves.
We’re tempted to believe that following God limits our honest self-expression, but only life in Him sets us free to be ourselves.
Read Proverbs 8:32. Note the descriptions of the life found by following God. Then note the descriptions (or inferences) found in a life that resists God. Which feels more true and free?
How are you tempted to hide from God? How might this hiding result in your losing freedom or losing what God has made you to be?