Many of us know the story of ‘the fall of man’, in the first few chapters of Genesis, right after the creation of the world. Even outside the confines of the church, the story is ingrained in our consciousness.
Eve eats the apple, Adam can’t resist and follows suit. Immediately they are somehow disconnected from God. Things aren’t how they were before. There is damage to the relationship – all of it from the human side.
So what does God do here?
Does He disappear? Desert Adam, now Adam has chosen to live a way outside of the one created for him?
I mean, He could couldn’t He? Adam and Eve have put their faith in something other than God and disobeyed Him completely.
If we were betrayed, rejected and disrespected by someone in this way, most people would understand if we didn’t want to see the person again. If we cut ourselves off from them totally.
But God doesn’t do this, does He?
Instead, He calls out to Adam.
“Where are you?”
Now it’s not like God doesn’t know where physically Adam is, or what he’s done is it? God knows perfectly well what’s happened.
Yet God wants to speak to Adam. Adam is trying to hide from God, because he’s afraid of what might happen, of how He’ll react (sound familiar…?).
But how does God react? He asks both Adam and Eve for an explanation – or maybe a confession – of what transpired. And once He has layed out the consequences of their actions – pain in childbirth for the Eve, working the land for Adam – He does something even more incredible.
He makes clothes for them.
I’ve often wondered why this verse was in scripture. It seems such a throwaway line in many ways. But these are often the verses which have the deepest significance.
Adam and Eve have betrayed, rejected and abandoned God. They’ve chosen a different way to live. They are naked and ashamed.
Yet God still reaches out to them in love.
He speaks to them. Has dialogue with them.
And makes them clothes.
This is profound. It has huge implications for how we see God. You see, often we’re told the story as ‘Adam and Eve sinned, and God punished them and cursed them’. It’s common to hear the story interpreted this way, and God portrayed as a terrifying, ngry God.
But hold on a minute.
This isn’t the true story.
God’s instinctive reaction to what happens is not to angrily judge and condemn. But to speak to Adam and Eve. The first thing He does after it happens is talk honestly to them about it.
He doesn’t hide the consequences for all involved. Because whenever we make any decision to disobey God in any way, there are going to be consequences. Not as punishment necessarily, but simply because when there is free will, every decision will have a consequence.
And God wants us to take responsibility for our actions.
What Genesis shows us is when we screw up and disobey God, when we’re in the midst of our darkness….
…God reaches out to us. He calls out to us.
And provides for our needs.
God is not a God of condemnation. Scripture says there is no condemnation for those who know Jesus.
He is a God of grace. And it is grace we see in Genesis.
Grace with an edge? Yes, because grace always has an edge. There are always consequences to actions.
But God loves all of us. Every single one.
And His love and grace for each of us is infinite. No matter what decisions we make, we don’t have to hide away in shame like Adam and Eve.
Genesis shows we can come before God in our nakedness.
And He will not judge us. He will clothe us.