They tried to cover their shame because of subjective guilt because of their sin. But they also knew that a day of reckoning was going to come. At the beginning of Genesis 3:8, they hear it coming. It says, “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” The sound of the Lord coming is a frightful thing for sinners. I expect that the first people to ever read Moses’ account of Adam and Eve’s failure in the Garden would have understood this better than most. In Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, we see the people “hear the sound of the Lord” and are afraid and send Moses to speak to God on their behalf because as Deuteronomy 5:25 says, “If we hear the voice of God we will die.” They were right; death was on the line!

The “cool of the day” translation is misleading. Many commentators have observed that it should read “wind” rather than “cool.”  Sailhamer explains in his commentary, “In light of the general context of the picture of God’s coming in judgment and power, the ‘wind’  that the author envisioned resembles that ‘great and powerful wind’ that blew on the ‘mountain … of the Lord’ in 1 Kings 19:11. Thus the viewpoint of the narrative would be much the same as that in Job 38:1, where the Lord answered Job ‘out of the storm.’”[1]

Paul tells us in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” In the previous chapter, 5:12 he wrote, “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12). In writing to the Ephesians, he explains how we too are in the same predicament. Ephesians 2:1-2 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” Hughes says, “We, too, entered the world dead and depraved, since sin colors every part of our existence, so that we hide from God rather than seek him. In an instant, the original couple passed from life to death, from sinlessness to sin, from harmony to alienation, from trust to distrust, from ease to dis-ease. It did not take a day. It happened in a millisecond! Adam and Eve, as our parents, were genetically, historically, and theologically every man and every woman. They are paradigmatic of all of us—not only in their original sin but because the way they attempted to deal with their sin is the pattern with which we attempt to deal with it today. And the way that God dealt with Adam and Eve is the way he deals with us. So there the first couple was, in their ridiculous fig leaves, slouching around paradise lost. God then confronted them in a graciously gentle, remedial way. And in their confrontation, we see our confrontation.”[2] But God had in mind a different covering for us. It would come from the shed blood of a sacrificial lamb.

[1] Sailhamer, John H. 1990. “Genesis.” In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, edited by Frank E. Gaebelein, 2:52. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[2] Hughes, R. Kent. 2004. Genesis: Beginning and Blessing. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.