Walking Among Us (ATP)

Question: Never thought of this until now, but when God created Adam & Eve, was he physically with them in the garden? Stemming from Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the sound of the LORD walking in the garden in the cool of day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

This is an interesting question and unfortunately I can’t answer it definitively because the Bible doesn’t speak more about this specifically. Many Bible scholars have addressed this same question, however. There are a few different interpretations I have heard. 

Some scholars suggest that the text uses language that attributes human characteristics to God to make the divine more relatable to human readers but that He didn’t need to be in actual physical form. They believe it’s representative of God’s presence and relationship with Adam and Eve. Another interpretation is that God appears in a physical form to interact directly with humans, implying that God took on a temporary, physical form to walk in the garden. Of course there’s also scholars who say it’s metaphorical, symbolizing God’s intimate and close presence with humanity. Yet another scholarly interpretation is narrative in order to set the scene and create a vivid story that shows God’s relation to humanity. 

I cannot say which interpretation I would lean towards, but other scriptures discuss God appearing to mankind in different ways. Remember Moses could not look unto the face of God but only to His back because His glory was too strong for a human to behold. (Exodus 33) And of course we also know that Jesus came to earth as a man and walked among humanity. Throughout scripture God also appears in visions and is heard as well.  

While the interpretations vary greatly, there is not proof to which if any are accurate. This leads me to the conclusion that it was less important to have that spelled out specifically and more important to understand why it’s included in scripture. The Bible is clear that God wants to have relationship with humanity. He  interacts with humanity, communicates in various ways, manifests His glory and presence, and wants to live among His people. 

Look at Jeremiah 31:3, “The LORD appeared to him (Israel) from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” James 4:8 also gives us good understanding of God’s heart to be near His people. It says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.“ This is principle and truth we can be sure of. 

There’s nothing wrong with pondering these things, but remember to always keep an open heart about them. Interpretation can be exciting and worthwhile, but always look for the heart behind the scripture and what it teaches us about God and our relationship to Him. 

Be Blessed,

Pastor Renée