Early in the book of Genesis, God asks an interesting question. It’s in the third chapter, ninth verse.
“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit which the Lord had forbidden them to eat, and their eyes were opened. In their new-found awareness, they were ashamed of their nakedness. They tried to make clothes by sewing fig leaves together to make aprons. But when they heard the voice of the Lord in the garden, in the “cool of the day,” they tried to hide themselves.
I say tried because it is impossible to hide from God. We may sometimes imagine that He cannot see us or that He does not care. He seems inattentive, at a distance, to some, at odds. No matter what it seems, He is giving us room to grow by allowing us to choose without constant intervention; He is giving us a chance to correct ourselves. If we do not, He will, in His own due time, correct us.
When God asked “Where art thou?” do you think He already knew where the man and woman were? Of course He did. What, then, was the purpose of His question? I can’t say I know fully what this scripture means, but I think I understand one thing about this question: It was asked for Adam and Eve’s benefit. When He posed the question, wasn’t He really asking them to be accountable for their actions?
The Lord is not accusing them of anything, not yet, though he certainly could have. The Lord is merely asking a question, one that will be uncomfortable for the man and his wife to answer. Ultimately, they did answer the question, and when their transgression came to light, they were cast out of the garden and never permitted to return.
We have a Garden of Eden experience during childhood. Even if you had to survive a rough childhood, there are often little joys. We start out innocent. We play. We sleep. We eat. We play some more. Eventually, we revolt in someway as teenagers and find ourselves “cast out,” often to the relief of our parents. But most of us get to come back to visit. Adam and Eve never had the chance to go home. Could you imagine that?
Back to the question. “Where art thou?” In the Book of Moses, this question is translated, “Where goest thou?“I like both translations.
Where are you, and where are you going? Two very important questions to ask ourselves.
Many years ago, I lost my temper and stormed out of the house with a self-celebratory flourish. My eight-year-old daughter, still living innocently in her own Garden of Eden, followed me out the door, and in tears said, “Daddy, where are you going?”
I have never been able to shake that moment. It changed me forever, one little question asked by an innocent child.
I have never lost my temper since, and I have never stopped asking myself, “Where are you going?”