The Time of CreationThe Time of Corruption and the Nature of Sin: Chapter 3 - Confronting God (Genesis 3:8-13)
A Biblical Study of Genesis 3:1 - 9:29 From All-Creatures.org

One of the books in the "Let's Study God's Word Together" series with: Frank L. Hoffman
This Biblical study book seeks to answer the question, "What can we do to overcome sin and restore this world to the peaceable kingdom God created it to be?"

The Time of Corruption and the Nature of Sin - A Study of Genesis 3:1 - 9:29
Chapter 3 - Confronting God (Genesis 3:8-13)

Let's begin this portion of our study by looking at the Scripture passage before us.

8. 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.

9. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

10. And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12. And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
(KJV)

We concluded our previous chapter by looking at the attempt of Adam and Eve to cover their own sinful condition and their apparent lack of true repentance.   Now we are going to look at them having to confront the Lord God.

8. 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 they heard the voice [or sound] of the Lord God..."   We are not told what God's voice sounded like, but we are told something about the nature of His voice.  When we see the word "God" by itself in the Hebrew (Old) Testament, we are to see it as the person of God the Father in all His holiness and righteousness.  When we see the word "Lord" by itself, we are looking at the compassionate person of God reaching out to us as Messiah, as the Son, Jesus Christ.   When we see the term "Lord God", as in this verse, we are to picture the whole of the Trinity, the holy and righteous Father, the compassionate and atoning Son, and the Holy Spirit of God who convicts us of our sins and tries to draw us back to God.   Thus, we could conclude that the sound of God's voice was much like that of a loving and compassionate earthly father, who is also angry at what his children have done - there is a "bark" to His voice, but also a gentleness.

When we look at the term used for "the cool of the day", we find that it literally says the breeze or wind of the day.  The Hebrew word used is "roo-akh", which also could mean spirit or Spirit.  If we now apply this to what we just discussed we see a reinforcement to our understanding of the sound of the Lord God's voice.  The anger over their sinful act of disobedience could have been as that of a clap of thunder, and also as that of the gentle cool breeze that follows the storm.

Victor P. Hamilton writes that this encounter took place at a time of the day when it was approaching sundown, when the evening breeze begins to cool off the heat of the day.[1] Calvin, on the other hand, viewed this time of day as being in the morning when the stillness of the night is ended by the morning breeze.[2]

I tend to lean toward Calvin's time of day, for I have often stood on the shore of the lake near our home in the early morning when the lake was as smooth as a sheet of glass.  Then, as the sun begins to rise, a gentle breeze begins and ripples form upon the lake.  If there were some wisps of fog, they, too, begin to scatter and "hide themselves". 

In the physical sight of their nakedness, I believe that Adam and Eve saw the effect of what they had done the day before.  They sought to hide that nakedness with fig leaves, and they had the whole nighttime to contemplate what they had done, yet they remained unrepentant.  As dawn came, they sought to hide themselves from the Lord God who would come and walk in the Garden in the cool morning breeze.

It is very important for us to understand the nature of sin and true repentance.  We all sin from time to time, and then we are faced with a decision.   Do we lay our sin before God with a truly repentant heart (one that desires to sin no more), seeking His forgiveness, or do we try to hide our sin hoping it will somehow go away so that God and others will not find out about it?  We need to understand that Adam and Eve decided to do the latter.  It is in this state of mind and being that they encounter the Lord God.

9. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

God, by His very nature, obviously knew where Adam was hiding.   If this is so, then why would God call out, "Where art thou?"  It is because the very nature of God is seen in His expressed name of Lord God as we discussed above.  Adam is being called to reveal both himself and his sin, hopefully in a repentant fashion.  This was not the time for punishment; it was a time of grace in the midst of sin, and it is similar to the ways in which each and every one of us are called to account for our actions when we sin.

We also should note that the question is only addressed to Adam and not to Eve, even though it was Eve who first ate of the fruit, though in this passage the word fruit is not mentioned. 

Why did God only address Adam?  Because God gave the primary responsibility of protecting the earth from sin to Adam.  It is here that we get further confirmation of the true intent of the command to "subdue it [the earth]" (Genesis 1:28).  The intent was to protect the earth and its inhabitants from evil, a task that Adam failed to do.  Rather than subdue evil, he fell prey to it.

So what did Adam do?

10. And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Adam responded to the Lord God's call.  He didn't answer the question God asked; instead, because of a guilty conscience, he acknowledged the effect of his sin in that he had acquired the knowledge of the fact that he was naked.  He also expressed his fear of exposing himself to God's eyes, and possible wrath.  However, Adam never acknowledged the true nature of his sin of disobedience, and of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

It is here that we can see the presence of the entire Trinity acting upon Adam.  The Holy and Righteous Father can not tolerate sin in His presence.   It must be exposed and dealt with.  The Holy Spirit convicted Adam of his sin.   He had a guilty conscience.  And the redemptive power of the Son (Messiah) is heard in the call to repent and confess his sin.

However, from my own experience and from my many years of prison ministry, I know that the Holy Spirit prompted both Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit before they ate.  And I also believe that He likewise convicted both Lucifer (Satan, the devil) and the serpent. 

Over the years I must have had the opportunity to counsel with over five hundred inmates in both maximum and medium security prisons, and each and every one of them acknowledged that they heard that inner voice of the Holy Spirit within their conscience telling them not to do what they did that led them to their being incarcerated.  God always warns us of pending sin, for to not do so would not be righteous, and God is a righteous God.

But because of the unrepentant nature of Adam's answer, we hear the voice of righteousness and holiness coming forth from God the Father.  And this time the voice was most likely not soft as the breeze, but as a sudden clap of thunder.   It was intended to shake Adam to the very depths of his soul.

11. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Because Adam would not repent and acknowledge his sin, God points Adam to the true cause of his knowledge of his nakedness.  We cannot lie to God, and telling half truths is still a lie, and Adam is compounding his sin of disobedience with a lie of half truths.  In the face of having the truth revealed, and that God was fully aware of what Adam did, does he finally repent of his actions and seek God's forgiveness?   Let's see.

12. And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Not only doesn't Adam acknowledge his own guilt, he blames God for his actions, because it was God who gave him the woman who subsequently enticed him to eat of the tree.

The very fact that verses 11 and 12 only refer to eating "of the tree", and not the "fruit" or the "forbidden" fruit, is further indication, that this particular tree produced something different than the fruit of the other trees in the garden.

Adam is further compounding his original and subsequent sins by blaming others for his actions.  We have most likely all heard the expression, "The devil made me do it."  The devil never made any of us sin, we make a choice to do so.  We can oppose evil or accept its enticements.  But once we fall prey to evil, it has a tendency to compound itself, just as we are seeing here.

Thus, faced with this lack of repentance from Adam, the Lord God turns to the woman.

13. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Eve did the same thing that Adam did, she passed the buck; she blamed someone else for her own actions.

It is important that we understand that neither Adam nor Eve are repentant, even though they have half-heartedly admitted their guilt of eating of the tree (fruit?), and they have failed to acknowledge the even greater sin of disobeying God.   There is no forgiveness without true repentance.

Even though Adam had the ultimate responsibility of protecting the earth and its inhabitants from evil, the command from God in Genesis 1:28 was addressed to both of them, and even to us today.  They were even responsible for protecting the serpent, which they likewise failed to do, and this is most likely why God didn't question the serpent.

And because there is guilt without repentance, God passed judgement, as we shall see in our next chapter.


1. Hamilton, Victor P., The New International Commentary on the Old Testament - The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990, 192.

2. Spence, H. D. M., Joseph S. Excell (eds), The Pulpit Commentary - Volume 1 Genesis Exodus, Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980 reprinting, 64.

Go on to: Chapter 4 - The Cost of Unrepentant Sin (Genesis 3:14-19)
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