Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why Did Adam and Eve Hide in the Bushes After Sinning?

C. Baxter Kruger, “The Hermeneutic Nightmare and the Reconciling work of Jesus Christ,” in An Introduction to Torrance Theology: Discovering the Incarnate Savior (Gerrit Scott Dawson, ed.; London: T&T Clark, 2007): 159-60.
Adam and Eve moved from hearing and knowing and receiving the Father’s love to hiding in fear in the bushes. The obvious question is why? Why were they hiding? Clearly they were afraid, but afraid of what? Of course, their hiding comes on the heels of their outright disobedience, and most people would assume that they were afraid of God’s punishment. But then again, how could Adam and Eve stand in the garden, the recipients of such astonishing blessing, and be afraid of the Lord? Had God changed? Had the Lord who created Adam and Eve out of sheer grace and love and poured such astounding blessing upon them, suddenly done an about-turn? Had he ceased to love? Did the Lord transform himself from an eager and lavish philanthropist into a quick-tempered judge? Adam and Eve had no history of disappointment or hurt. There is no record of divine indifference or neglect, and certainly not of rejection and abuse. There is only astonishing and lavish blessing. So why would they suspect that the Lord would hurt them?

Surely Adam’s disobedience did not alter the being of God. Or perhaps it did. Perhaps God did change, abruptly and radically so, not in reality of course, but in Adam’s mind. Could it be that Adam’s pain – the pain of his own unfaithfulness – altered his mind? Could it be that Adam’s infidelity reconfigured his default settings? Could it be that his failure changed his understanding, his inner vision, his perception of himself, his world and others, but most importantly, did it alter the way he say the face of God? Could it be that Adam projected his own brokenness on to God’s face? Could it be that he tarred the Father’s face with the brush of his own angst? Perhaps Adam took a paintbrush, dipped it into the cesspool of his own double-mindedness and guilt, and painted an entirely new picture of god with it. And perhaps it was this god, created by his own darkened imagination – not the Lord – that he feared, and from whom he hid.

5 comments:

Jason Goroncy said...

Thanks for this. FYI: some time ago I posted a reveiw of this book. You can read it here: http://cruciality.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/an-introduction-to-torrance-theology-a-review/

Thanks again.

WTM said...

Thanks for linking that in, Jason. I have recently published a review of it as well: more on that to come.

bobby grow said...

Thank you, this was good, Travis!

It reminds me of Israel's response to the LORD in Deut. 1:26-27:

Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. 27. And you murmured in your tents and said, Because the LORD hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

Same progression. Rebelled against the LORD's command ---> Believed they knew better than God (murmured) ---> Their perception of God changed (filtered through their faulty lens).

Anyway, good one!

The Student said...

Very interesting and provocative perspective. I appreciate this. But what does this do to God's judgment? He still does judge. We absolutely project our own ideas onto God's face, but all understanding of judgment cannot be lumped into this. What about the cross? Even if God's wrath was "stored up" and then "exhausted" at the cross, that only proves the point. Like Barth points out time and again, we are both CONDEMNED and REDEEMED by God through Christ.

WTM said...

I think that is a good point. As it happens, I don't think that Kruger is christological enough in this passage, although something like it is presupposed - why would we have any reason to suspect that God hasn't changed and become angry at humanity when Adam and Eve sinned? Still, Kruger seems to have honed in on a particular epistemological point rather than considering as fully as we might like the for systematic questions.