Read: Genesis 3
Does God know everything? I say, “Yes”. But that’s not always the way the Bible portrays God. Sometimes the authors of the books of the Bible portray God in a very human way; scholars call it “anthropomorphism” – the projecting of human traits and qualities on a non-human entity. In the story of the Garden of Eden, human qualities are projected on to God.
After Adam and Eve sin against God by disobeying they discover that they are naked! In their embarrassment or shame they hide (Genesis 3:6-11). Then God decided to go for a stroll through the Garden of Eden and can’t find them. God calls out, “Where are you?” (does God really not know where they are?). They reply, “We are hiding.” So God asks, “Why are you hiding?” They reply, “Because we are naked.” So God asks, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? ” (God really doesn’t know?).
You know the rest of the story: Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the snake, the snake is cursed by God. And then God explains to Adam and Eve the consequences of their disobedience and the effects of sin. Some people refer to this as “the curse”. I don’t think God wants the negative effects of sin for Adam and Eve, God is describing the consequences, not “God’s will” for their lives.
It’s important to realize that we don’t need to read this story thinking of God as being very “angry”. We can read this story viewing God as being very compassionate. God makes clothes for them out of animal skins (was an animal sacrificed for Adam and Eve in order to make them better clothing than fig leaves?). Picture God, out of love, hand sewing clothing (Gen. 3:21). And, it is out of real concern for Adam and Eve that God expels them from Eden (more on that later).
So what insights can we glean? Some stories of the Bible simply teach spiritual truth, that’s their sole purpose. They are not documentaries. Secondly, God is sometimes portrayed in a way (like walking in a garden) to help us understand things, but really don’t be taken literally. It’s the spiritual truth that is important, not the literal nature of the story or even the historical details.
Pastor Rob Nystrom