Finally, we hear from Adam. Eve and the serpent have been doing all the talking. Adam seems to have passively sat back and let Eve interact with the Devil without comment. The last thing we heard from Adam was his pronouncement of his wedding vows, so to speak, when God brought him Eve. He hasn’t said anything since. But God addresses him specifically after they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God asks Adam, “where are you,” and in Genesis 3:10, Adam replies, “And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’” The UBS (United Bible Societies) Handbook for translators says it might be best to translate this as “I heard your footsteps in the garden.”

I have no idea how many movies or books I’ve read where someone is walking down a dark alley or narrow street and all you can hear is footsteps coming from behind them. We all know that something bad is going to happen. Jack the Ripper is coming for me! Some murderer is stalking me to kill me and rob me. I’ve lost sleep as a youngster over those movies. But the most ominous of footsteps were the ones I heard when my mother came down the basement steps and caught me and a neighbor girl when we were about 8 years old, showing each other our differences! We just knew what we were doing was wrong. I don’t remember my folks talking to me about any of that at that age, but something in me knew it was wrong and so did little Suzy (Not her real name). We got caught with our pants down doing our best to cover ourselves us. As we listened to the footsteps and scrambled to put ourselves together we knew we were done for. Walton sees the possibility of a different kind of translation for “the sound of God walking in the garden.” He says, “The Akkadian term is used in connection to the deity coming in a storm of judgment. If this is the correct rendering of the word here in Genesis 3, we can translate verse 8 in this way: ‘They heard the roar of the Lord moving about in the garden in the wind of the storm.’ If this rendering is correct, it is understandable why Adam and Eve are hiding. I do not offer this as the right translation.” He then adds, “…the logic of the context makes this new rendering a possibility, but one that can only be held tentatively.”[1]

Adam’s answer had to do with his fear of the sound of God coming coupled with their nakedness that they were trying to cover up with fig leaves. Briscoe recognizes that “The fact that nakedness and fig leaves were so much a part of the shame felt by fallen mankind has led many to suppose that the original sin was in some way sexual. In fact, some older commentators seem to suggest that the forbidden fruit was sex.”[2] But this is most unlikely because of God’s creating each of them “male and female” and then commanding them to be fruitful and multiply. I expect everyone has some kind of experience of being caught “red-handed.” God was about to cover their shame with something more substantial that fig leaves and he does something similar with us. Ross explains, “People disobey God’s word and then, because of their guilty fears, hide themselves. But God searches out the sinners, draws a confession from them, and then covers their guilt and shame with a symbol of his gracious provision. The gospel explains this symbol fully: In the fullness of time God accepted the death of Jesus for our sins, and on the basis of that sacrifice, he clothes us with righteousness.”[3]

[1] Walton, John H. 2001. Genesis. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Briscoe, D. Stuart, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. 1987. Genesis. Vol. 1. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.

[3] Ross, Allen, and John N. Oswalt. 2008. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Genesis, Exodus. Vol. 1. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.