Reading: Genesis 3
When I read early modern writers talking about Salvation, they almost always point to Genesis 3, and move on to write about the idea of restoration from the effects of the fall. There is almost always a suggestion that God’s presence in the garden was something that was accessible therefore our first parents must have had a rich prayer life.
If these post-reformation theologians are correct, there is nothing of that prayer life recorded in scripture. Unfortunately, if the goal is restoration to the condition and relationship that existed before the fall, our scripture fails to produce a picture of what that looks like. The only prayer that is recorded comes at the time that they are expelled from Eden.
At the time we see Adam and Eve’s prayer, they are in a pretty sad state. Their first response to the presence of God is to hide from God. Adam’s first words to God express that he is ashamed, and does not want God to see him naked. God questions Adam about the fruit, and of course Adam tries to shift the blame to Eve, and Eve shifts the blame to the snake.
In this prayer, we see something that cannot very well be considered a model to emulate, however it is a pretty good picture of what it means to be human. There are times when we feel guilty and ashamed and there is nothing we want more than to hide. If we cannot hide our guilt, we sometimes attempt to give it to somebody else. Of course, the guilt was still there — scapegoating did not change that all were banished from Eden.
For me, God’s actions tell me quite a bit about how God relates to humanity. God approached Adam and Eve when they were unable and unwilling to approach God. When Adam tried to pass his guilt to Eve, God listened, but God did not excuse Adam. The scapegoating stopped with Adam, and Adam stood in the face of God’s judgement.
When we read the end of the chapter, we see that God was not only a judge, but that God provided for our first parents’ needs. At the first of the encounter, they told God that they hid because they were naked. When the encounter ends, God provides Adam and Eve substantial clothing so that they are no longer naked, and thus they no longer have an excuse to hide from God’s presence.