I have often written and shared on God’s original observation, the stuff God first recognized through the process of creation according to the narrative in Genesis 2. God speaks and moves, and makes things, seeing “it was good.” The pattern continues, “it was good,” “and God saw that it was good,” “it was good,” “it was very good.” This foundational moment of all the things can often be overshadowing by the theological concept of original sin. We skip the original “it was good” stuff and get focused on the implications of original sin, the big mess up, the moment with the apple/not really an apple. I have asked us to consider the implications of focusing more on the original way God saw all the things, to see if we can search for that original idea over noticing all the ways we don’t measure up.
Recently I was challenged to consider another “first” of the Genesis account, God’s first question. It’s a couple of chapters in from all the “it was good” stuff, in Genesis chapter 3. (Side note, so super thankful for the folks that added chapters and verses, so much easier.)
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”
So we have this original good stuff, this original not so good stuff, and then this original question. Granted, the serpent in our story asks a few questions of the woman, but this is God’s first question according to the text.
I like to imagine that Adam and Eve had lots of great conversations with God through previous walks in the garden, but that’s probably because I love questions. If you meet with me just count how many I ask. It’s way too many. Even when I agree with you I’ll ask a question to pretend I don’t. Sometimes I arrive with questions written out, or a few times I’ve sent people what I call “road trip lists,” which is a custom designed list of questions for those in the vehicle, just whatever comes to mind, usually about thirty or so questions to ask along their drive. (road trip lists can be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org) It’s either completely annoying or massively endearing.
I love that the writer used the word “called.” “the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” it’s a subtle thing but it’s not “asked” or “shouted” or “inquired”, it’s more a calling out. You could also translate it as “to proclaim” or “to recite.” I get this sense of God not asking about a location, especially considering, well, God is God, but more an idea of “Where are you, really? What has happened? Why are you hiding?”
For days I have sat with this question. What a great question to get from God. Just stop real quick, be still for a moment, and hear him ask that over you, “Where are you?” How does your heart respond? Where are you, really?
God’s next question is equally as valuable to consider…next post…(how intense is this cliffhanger!?!)