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The Genesis of It All

Do you know the first time that afraid is used in the Bible? Genesis 3. After the fall, where Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, obviously. And it is here, where fear was birthed, that will be our focus today.

After eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve learn that they are naked, feel shame for the first time ever, and hide in the underbrush that now clothes them... because they hear God coming.

“Where are you?” He calls.  

Adam’s reply is where we find our focus verse:

“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Friends, let's sit here for a sec. Can you imagine how those words broke God’s heart? He just made these people, and now, they’re afraid of Him?

No parent—or no morally sound parent, at least—would ever want their child to be afraid of them. Too scared to come to them when they mess up. That they will yell and scream and punish and taunt and hurt.

Parents want to be—are designed to be—a safe haven for their children. A refuge, not a place to avoid.

In fact, a couple years ago, I set out to prove this (because, you know, I doubt and listen to fear thoughts waayy too much). So, I asked my parents why they love me.

When I asked this, I was expecting something along the lines of, Maddie, we love you because you’re smart. We love you because you follow Jesus. Are kind, creative, etc.

Instead, my typically stoic dad gave an answer that stopped me in my fear-believing tracks:

Because you’re my daughter.

That’s it. All he needed to say.

You see, I was basing their love on my actions, character, on ways I could earn it. But for my parents, I am loved simply because I am theirs. Nothing I ever do—for the good or the bad—can ever change their love for me.

God is no different.

As our Heavenly Father, He adores every part of us. The good, the bad, and the naked (sounds weird, I know).

I use that (particularly odd) phrase because, when Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, exposed, vulnerable... they felt shame. They didn’t want God to see them in such a lowly state. In their fallen state.

And so they hid. In fear. Believing that their standing with God, that His generosity and love, were dependent on their actions.

Readers, let’s remember that our God is all knowing (aka, omniscient, if you’re feeling fancy). When He was searching for them in the garden, do you think He wasn’t aware of what had just transpired? Sin had entered the world, for goodness’ sake! Of course He knew what His children had just done!

And still, He pursued them. The ones who, mere moments before, chose to trust Satan’s what ifs over their Creator Himself.

When God was forming Adam from dust and Eve from his rib, he knew what they would do.

All the pain and heartache and darkness and despair they would unleash. That He would need to give up His Son, His own self, to repay their dark debts.

And still He chose to create them.

Because they are his son and daughter.

It’s as simple as that.

The Father’s love for His children is not earned (or deserved) by His children. It is not dependent on them, but on Him. It is unconditional and overwhelming in the very best way.

And I think that’s why, once Adam and Eve come out of the shadows and face their Creator, He doesn’t let them off easy.

It’s like when your mom knows you just ate a bunch of candy even though she told you not to (I mean, come on, the sticky sugar evidence is all over your face), but pretends like she doesn’t know.

She looks around for the candy, asks if you know what happened. And of course, you say that you have no idea where the candy went.

So she gives you another chance to come clean, stares into your sugar-crazed eyes, asks if you’re sure you haven’t seen those sweet treats. And oh no, her firm look is too much for you! You cave, confessing your disobedience, and receive the consequences for your actions:

No TV before bedtime. The horrors!

This example is silly, but that’s kind of the point; we overlook the Lord’s rightness because the parent-child dynamic is so obvious:

When a child disobeys their parents, we expect them to get punished, right?

Yes, they deserve it (and are reaping what they’ve sown, as Galatians 6:7 puts it) but it goes beyond that. We know that the parental discipline will be used for good—to nurture and raise, to grow them into a kind, capable, hopefully-not-sugar-crazed human being.  

Well, doesn’t God do the same?  

When His children sin against Him, the Lord disciplines them—giving them labor pains (referring to both childbirth and working the land) and banishment from Eden.

On the surface, this may seem cruel. But when we get insight into God’s mind—“[Man] must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever”—then things become a little deeper.

You see, God banished His children to protect them, not to persecute them.

If they stayed in the garden, they’d eat from the tree of eternal life... meaning that they would be sinful, broken people for all eternity.

But God already had Jesus’ rescue mission all planned out.

There was no need for Adam and Eve to suffer an eternal separation from their Creator when Jesus was destined to become their bridge. The link between the fallen and the Father.

And so, instead of eternal separation, God chose to give them a temporary one. Out of the garden—because they were no longer pure to be near Pureness Himself—and laboring, unsatisfied, with a God-shaped hole in their hearts just waiting to be filled.

But perhaps we can view this laboring, toiling, and wanting as the Lord’s way of nurturing.

Being away from their Father would humble them, soften their sinful hearts, and make them yearn for Him again.

Ache for the way He designed things to be.

Adam and Eve’s curses would remind them of their need for their Father. But even more so, their need for a Savior.

Because God is just, the wrong of sin has to be made right. And that justice would have Adam and Eve hanging on a well-deserved cross.

But God’s mercy placed someone else on the cross in their place.

(Just sit of that for a second. Death. That’s what they, we, deserve. Met with mercy... and another chance at eternal life with our Creator. Wow. Thank You, Jesus.)

Like the perfect parent He is, the Heavenly Father met his fearful, rebellious children with knowing but loving eyes. He saw their sin, shame, and fear, but did not shout or scream or destroy.

Instead, He opened His arms on a rugged cross, urging them in to His safe embrace.

He just wanted Adam and Eve to come to Him; He wants us to do the same.


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