If you have the time, read through Genesis chapter three. There is one thing by default which heavily distorts the true character and nature of God – sin. Like its author, sin in its very nature is deceitful (Hebrew 3:13), Satan's life work since his fall has been to misrepresent the character of God. The fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter three unveils the detriment of sin and exemplifies how sin skews our perception of Him, yet through it all God is still merciful towards us while in rebellion.
God, the Creator crafted a paradise that became the home for the first human beings, Adam and Eve. They were given this place to inhabit and God gifted them dominion over all creation as well as the duty to name all the animals (Genesis 2:15, 20). Living in the midst of Eden’s bountiful beauty they were also granted the pleasure of communion with their Creator, to build a bond that would allow them to experience His love and glory. Adam and Eve were also given the delight of being brought into a holy matrimony (Genesis 2:21-25). They both, individually and as one flesh experienced the true character of God. They were able to marvel at His beauty and as they communed with Him, they were assured that He was not only their Creator and Maker but also their Friend and loving Father.
Through the time spent with their Maker, Adam and Eve had resounding evidence of God’s goodness, to the point that they were without excuse; however God placed one simple, reasonable restriction upon them. Amongst the plethora of trees provided for them in the garden to eat from, they were forbidden to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17).
Whilst wandering without Adam, Eve found herself loitering in the parameters of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, where the tempter dwelt. Disguised as a serpent, he perceived it was an opportune time to entice the stray Eve: with a seemingly innocent but yet deceptive demeanour he asked “has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Unaware of the path it would lead to, Eve was seemingly unmoved by the audible serpent who was questioning the character of God. During this dialogue she even confessed that she was aware that the fruit was forbidden (Genesis 3:2-3). The father of lies stated that her eyes would be opened and shall be like gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5); by this potent statement he attempted to deceive Eve into thinking that God was selfish and withholding good from them. But God is too wise and too good to withhold anything good from us, with His foreknowledge, God perceives the damage that may lay along a certain path and thus he puts restrictions for our own good. Ultimately God desired to spare the holy pair from experiencing not only deterioration and death but also the anguish of separation from Him, which sin naturally causes (Isaiah 59:1-2).
After staring at the forbidden fruit, touching it and maybe even smelling it, a desire sprouted in Eve which was not present before: “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eye, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6).
Satan as he so often does, leads us to be guided by our feelings and not by God’s unchanging Word. He will meddle with our emotions to cloud our minds from remembering all the wonderful things God has done for us, all the wonderful promises contained in His word. This is what he did to Eve and this is what he continues to do to us today.
After this dialogue with the salesman of sin, Eve was sold and she bought into Satan’s lie. Too often when faced with similar situations, instead of fleeing from Satan’s enticements to join the rebellion against God, we like Eve reason with Satan and think we can stand against the overpowering, adversary of God (1 Corinthians 10:12). We should not be ignorant of Satan’s devices, for his ultimate aim is to take us away from God into the path of death (John 10:10), yet with every temptation that may come there is always a way out. For God is faithful, who will not allow us to be tempted above measure but with every temptation, He has paved a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Although we have the surety from the Word of God when face-to-face with temptation, our feelings skew our judgement.
Satan had shown Eve no sign of his love, goodness and grace, yet she chose to hand over her allegiance to him whose aim is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10): by virtue of choice, Eve rejected God who was ever-present in her life. Ultimately we all believe in something, either Satan’s lies about God’s character or God’s true nature which is revealed when we gaze at the cross. But Eve disbelieved the words of God. The truth is, many will be lost not because they actually believed in a lie but because they did not believe the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
After being deceived and sinning against God, Eve became the devil’s apostle and gave her husband the forbidden fruit. Being enticed to join the rebellion, His wife who was plagued by sin looked even more beautiful and scintillating than before her disobedience. Adam was faced with a daunting choice: to believe God’s word about the consequence of sin, or believe what He was seeing. To walk by faith or by sight.
Adam was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14) but He chose his wife over God and also joined the rebellion against Him (Genesis 3:6). As the guilt of sin settled in, the sinful pair attempted to cover their sin by the works of their own hands, not realising “that nothing is hidden from God, everything is naked and exposed before His eyes” (Hebrews 4:13 NLT). There is nothing that we can do to cover our sins, we may try and conceal the guilt within but only God can give us true peace – only the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross can wash away our sins. For if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
After endless communion with God, experiencing His love, tender mercy and grace, sin as it does, changed Adam and Eve’s perception of Him. Like a loving father returning home from a day at work and expecting the excitement of his children, God came as His custom in the cool of the day looking for His beloved children. But instead of the usual joy of His arrival, Adam and Eve the crowning work of His creation were fearfully hiding from their Maker and this broke His heart.
We often do not imagine God with emotions but God feels pain, when He saw the wickedness of man upon the earth God was grieved in His heart – He felt intensely sorrowful and greatly distressed (Genesis 6:6), what more when Adam and Eve sinned? Whether we realise it or not, sin breaks God’s heart and it has been continuously since Satan’s revolt in heaven (Ezekiel 28:12-19; Isaiah 14:12-16; Revelation 12:7-12).
Although He is perceived as distant, hard to grasp, cruel and tyrannical God’s dealing with Adam and Eve reveals His true character. Although the violation was in the smallest of restrictions, thus making their sin exceedingly great, God did not come into the garden thumping His feet or with a loud demanding voice, for that is not His character. God did not come in a mighty tempest, He did not come in an earthquake or in a vicious fire, He was not in any of those things but He came to His beloved children in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) asking – “where are you? (Genesis 3:9).
Salvation, deliverance from sin and its consequences, does not come from us seeking after God but through God seeking after us: “for God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). At our worst point, at the most sinful place in our lives, living a prodigal lifestyle, indulging in anything and everything, giving in to all our lustful desires, when we were committing high treason against the Most High God, when we should have been left to our own perils - Christ not only willingly gave up His crown but He also gave Himself away for us. What is even more profound is that, if you were the only soul lost on this earth, Christ would have come down just for you!
Whatever situation you may have been entangled in or are entangled in, do not be discouraged, for God always makes the first step – where sin abounds, grace, unmerited favour abounds much more (Romans 5:20). Do not fall into the trap of believing that repentance wins God’s love or that through repentance we may earn His favour; His love for you never changes for He loves you unconditionally. It is only by His goodness and love that leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4).
Fundamentally God detests sin because it changes our perception of Him. Adam and Eve were terrified when they heard Him coming like He always did: because of sin they saw Him as a vicious deity thirsty for punishment but that was not His intention. God, like a loving parent, entered the garden looking for them so that He could reason with them, so that they may understand the brokenness of His heart.
God painfully asked “Where are you?” not because He was unaware of where they were, He knew, but He asked because He wanted to know whether they felt the distance between them. The time that God wants to talk to us the most is when we have sinned, when we have failed Him. The time that we feel unworthy or ashamed to come to Him is when He is even more anxiously waiting for us to come to Him and confess our sins for He is ready to pardon our transgressions.
The beauty of God is that because of the perfect life of Christ, the price that Jesus paid for you on the cross and His intercession in the heavenly sanctuary, when you confess your sins you are instantaneously forgiven (1 John 1:9). Though demoted by sin, once pardoned we not only stand before God as though we have never sinned before but through Christ, we are lifted up higher than we stood before sin, joint-heirs with Christ on the throne (Romans 8:17; Titus 3:7; Revelation 3:21).
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). However, God is coming to you, asking “where are you?”. What is that thing in your life that is separating you from God? He is heartbroken because there is something separating you from Him. But today He is calling you back, will you go back to Him?