Sin’s Consequences – Fear
Notice that fear is the first negative emotion exhibited after the Fall. God didn’t give them that spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. (1 John 4:18)
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Sin produces both shame and guilt, and both make sinners wants to hide. Adam and Eve felt ashamed because of what they were (naked), and they felt guilty because of what they had done (disobey God). Guilt and fear usually go together, which explains why the pair didn’t want to enjoy their evening fellowship with the Lord in the Garden. Trying to hide from the Lord is certainly a futile endeavor (Ps. 139:1-12), and yet guilty sinners still attempt the impossible.
Adam and Eve should have been running to God, confessing their sin, and asking for His forgiveness. But instead, they were hiding from God, and He had to find them.
“There is no one who understands the truth; no one is seeking after the one True God.”
Romans 3:11 Voice
Evangelist Billy Sunday said that sinners couldn’t find God for the same reason criminals can’t find policemen: they aren’t looking!
The story of humanity’s sin begins with a tree and ends on a tree: first, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and finally, the cross on which Jesus dies. The first tree offers fruit that leads to death, but the second offers a death that leads to eternal life.
God (calling to Adam): Where are you?
Adam: When I heard the sound of You coming in the garden, I was afraid because I am naked. So I hid from You.
God: Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten from the tree in the center of the garden, the very one I commanded you not to eat from?
Adam (pointing at the woman): It was she! The woman You gave me as a companion put the fruit in my hands, and I ate it.
Since Adam and Eve, people have been blaming others for their mistakes. Adam has the audacity to blame God for his.
God (to the woman): What have you done?
Eve: It was the serpent! He tricked me, and I ate.
God doesn’t ask questions because He needs information. Being God, He knows everything. Rather, He asks questions for our good, to give us the opportunity to face facts, be honest, and confess our sins.
However, we must not think of God speaking to Adam and Eve the way a cruel master would speak to a disobedient slave or an angry judge to a convicted criminal. It was more like a brokenhearted father speaking in love to his wayward children. This only compounded their shame.
Adam was afraid to face God, his friend. God hadn’t given him any reason to feel this way. God had only been good to Adam and Eve. But the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil had taught Adam this.
Likewise, every person who has been born on this earth has this same knowledge of good and evil in them, and just naturally fears God’s judgment (Romans 1:18-20). This appears to me to be the function of the conscience. It’s possible that God created Adam and Eve without a conscience, and when they ate of the tree is when the conscience came into mankind (Romans 2:15).
First, God called to Adam to give him opportunity to answer and come out into the open. That God called him at all was an act of grace, for God could have spoken the word of judgment justly destroyed Adam and Eve. Another gracious wonder was that Adam could hear God’s voice and respond, for his inner nature had been so polluted by sin that he didn’t want to face God.
Once Adam and Eve came out of hiding, Adam confessed their shame (they were naked) and their fear (they were guilty). Without saying it openly, Adam was admitting that they had eaten from the forbidden tree. However, when God asked him point blank if he had eaten of the tree, Adam never said, “Yes, I did!” Instead, he blamed both God and his wife! When God questioned Eve, she blamed the serpent. (She didn’t say, “The serpent that You created,” but perhaps she thought it.) There were excuses but no confessions.
Yes, Eve gave Adam the fruit because the serpent deceived her; but that was no reason Adam had to disobey God.
When people start making excuses, it’s evidence that they don’t sense the enormity of their sins or want to confess them and repent. If sinners can find some loophole, they’ll run through it as fast as they can.