By Clifton Angel
Adam and Eve transgressed God’s law—they sinned (Genesis 3:1–6). At that moment, God could have destroyed the world. He could have sent Adam and Eve to eternal punishment prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:46). In so doing, God would have been perfectly upright and just. He is God. He made Adam in His own image (Genesis 1:27). He gave Adam access to the tree of life (Genesis 2:9). He trained Adam to live and gave him a purpose to live (Genesis 2:15). He instructed Adam in righteousness—doing right and avoiding wrong (Genesis 2:16–17). I believe Adam instructed his wife in righteousness (Genesis 3:2–3). Yet, they both chose to go beyond what was right—they sinned. And what did God do? He sought them, taught them, and saved them (Genesis 3:7–24).
God’s first words to Adam after he had sinned were, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). God does not need GPS. He did not need information concerning Adam’s physical location. He knew where he was. Rather, God was humbling Adam and teaching Adam. It was an opportunity for Adam to realize and say to himself: “I’m not where I’m supposed to be. I’ve done wrong, I’m naked, I’m afraid, I’m hiding, and I need your mercy.” Adam did not make that initial conclusion, did he? Instead, he concluded that God and the woman were to blame (Genesis 3:12). How futile! Eventually, God helped Adam to realize where he was. He helped Adam to realize that he was separated from God—spiritually dead—and as result, he and every person following would also be separated from the tree of life, from the ease of living, and the protection of health.
Adam’s sons Cain and Abel were taught to worship God with proper sacrifices
(Genesis 4:1–7; see also Hebrews 11:4, Romans 10:17). Cain chose to worship God in his own way. And so, God did not respect his offering. God’s rejection of Cain’s worship was a form of God saying to Cain, “Where are you?” God wanted Cain to do well and be reconciled to Him. Instead, Cain grew angry and envious, even to the point of murder. Again, God sought salvation for Cain. God asked, “Where is Abel thy brother?” (Genesis 4:9). God knew where Abel was. He was really asking Cain, “Where are you?” He wanted Cain to admit that he had sinned and that he needed God’s mercy. Cain did not accept God’s attempts to save him and was cast out. It was then that Cain had to face the fact of his new location—outside of “the presence of the LORD” (Genesis 2:16).
And now, the question comes to each one of us. Where are you?
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/