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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Once Upon a Garden: Day 5

Then the man and the woman heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” 
Genesis 3: 8-10

The God we worship, the God of Scripture, is a lot of things: wise, powerful, omniscient, omnipotent, loving, forgiving... And on any day, most of us a need a God who possesses these qualities and more.

However, there is a one quality that is not often named on a list like the above; yet, it is perhaps the most significant attribute of all. God is relational. We were created by Him for loving fellowship with Him.

The Trinity’s eternal state is Spirit and Spirit is, to the human eye, invisible. The Son took on a human body for our benefit, not because it was an upgrade for him. Whatever “the sound of God walking in the garden…” was, it was an accommodation to Adam and Eve. His “walk” was a distinctive occurrence, but certainly no indication that God had just arrived on the scene and needed to be briefed. Even as he asked them questions (“who told you that you were naked?”), He knew the answers.

The above passage occurred after Adam and Eve had chosen to disobey God and sin entered the world. It is the first time that “afraid” is used in Scripture. Up until that point, Spirit God and fleshly man had enjoyed unhindered communication. Our fear of God, our hiding, our shaming, our blaming—were the relational first fruits of the fall. Their root goes deep into our sinful condition where they obtain their life. Past formation or former relationships may have been unhelpful, but the solution is the same as every other action and attitude: confession, repentance and dependence on the redeeming power of the cross.

One day in heaven, we will have renewed relationships—with man and with God--without shame or blame or fear. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22) will be the natural outflow of our heart.

But here is something else: one day in a new heaven, the dwelling place of God will be as it was in Eden: With His people. (Revelation 21:3) And we will walk with God and talk with God in just the dearest way—and He will tell us that we are His own. For all eternity.

Nancy Shirah

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