WHY DID GOD ASK WHERE ADAM WAS?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Bible critics enjoy selecting puzzling Bible verses and quoting them at the Christian in hopes of silencing God’s child. Genesis 3:9 is one such example, and, in this study, we would be quite eager to explain why an omniscient God asked a question as to Adam’s whereabouts.
In the opening verses of Genesis chapter 3, we read about Satan seducing Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Deceived by his smooth talking, she relents, and then gives the fruit to Adam who willfully follows his wife in her rebellion against the LORD’S instructions.
The Bible says in Genesis chapter 3: “ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
We want to focus on verse 9, “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” The LORD God knew where Adam was, so why did He ask that question? Again, Bible critics often stumble over this verse and claim it is silly for God to be inquiring about Adam’s whereabouts. The scoffer overlooks two valuable pieces of information; this seemingly awkward verse contains doctrine that only a Bible believer can notice and appreciate.
Firstly, by asking, “Adam, where art thou?,” the LORD was prompting thoughts in Adam’s mind. Upon hearing God’s voice, Adam immediately thought, “I should be fellowshipping with Him. I should be right by His side, but look at me, fearful and hiding amongst the trees! My relationship with Him is severed!”
Secondly, nothing is hidden from God’s sight: God in His omniscience knew exactly where Adam was hiding and why he was hiding: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). By asking, “Adam, where art thou?,” the LORD is bringing Adam to the place of accountability. Adam is forced to confess that he is hiding from God because he has blatantly disobeyed God’s commandment: he has eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so as any sinner does, he hides from the holy God of creation. As the Lord Jesus Christ said in John 3:17-21: “ For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
God asked Adam and Eve four questions in Genesis 3:8-13, questions whose answers He knew—He asked them all to bring Adam and Eve to accountability. We want to briefly look at these four questions and how God prompted answers from Adam and Eve, to cause them to realize just what they had done:
- QUESTION #1 (to Adam): “ And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
- PROMPTED ANSWER (Adam’s reply): “ And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
- QUESTIONS #2 & #3 (to Adam): “ And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”
- PROMPTED ANSWER (Adam’s reply): “ And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”
- QUESTION #4 (to Eve): “[13a] And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?”
- PROMPTED ANSWER (Eve’s reply): “[13b] And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
Is it not interesting that the scoffer asks about the first question, but never bothers to see the other three questions? The point is that God asked not one, but four questions, to which He already knew the answers. Again, He was doing this for the sakes of Adam and Eve, not for Himself. Even today, we all (even the Bible critics) ask questions to which we already know the answers: “Why did you take this from me?” “Who gave you permission to leave?” “Why is it so dark in here?” Usually, we do not ask these questions to elicit information; we ask these questions to prompt the other individual to think of the current situation (theft, unruliness, darkness) and provoke them to make an attempt to resolve the matter (apology, obedience, turn on a light!).
To conclude this study, I cannot pass up the opportunity to ask my own set of related questions. Today, the sinner cannot be saved from God’s wrath until he or she comes to the point where Adam did—the sinner must come to understand his or her lost condition. It is not until one realizes he or she is dead in sin (“hiding in the bushes from God”), that salvation from that hell-bound course can be received. Dear reader, are you in Christ? Have you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins? Or, are you in Adam? Are you like Adam, hiding from God due to broken fellowship with your Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ? In Adam? In Christ? “Where art thou,” dear reader?
» If God exists, then why is there suffering? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Was God “bored” before creation?
» Was God unfair to punish us for Adam’s sin? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)