The Great Hide
Text: Genesis 3: 6-24
Proposition: The ‘Great Hide’ is the effect that sin has upon all mankind, it is what makes the name of Jesus a stumbling block, it is what separates us from God and from each other, it is what causes death.
Introduction: Last week we talked about the origin of Satan, Sin and System. We talked about the creation of angels, of which Satan was one of the most powerful, we talked about the will of Satan to take that which belonged only to God, to take for himself adoration and worship and glory and in so doing to disobey God’s will for him. Such an action we called sin and it marked the origin of sin into these first creatures of God. This caused us to have to approach the question of the existence of evil in the presence of a Holy and sovereign God and we laid out some initial thoughts. From here we recognized that all this happened before the first day of creation such that when we read Genesis 3, sin has already begun in the angelic order and is now about to be introduced to mankind. In the subtle temptations of Satan we saw a pattern that is still existent today as he sought to deceive Eve. There was proposed to her four steps, 1. The Distrust of God’s word 2. The Misquoting of God’s word. 3. The Contradicting of God’s word. 4. The Jealousy for that which belongs to God. These four steps set the stage for what happens next, they ready us for the day that Adam and Eve died. It is a different kind of death but it occurs just as God had promised them, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”, we could call it, ‘The Great Hide’. Turn to Genesis 3: 6.
I. The Origin of the Systemic Presence of Sin in Man or… The Fall. For Eve it was a three step program: she saw, she took, she ate.
1. She Saw. She saw no harm, she saw no distinction between this fruit and the fruit of all the other trees, they were all pleasant to look at and good for food, as it says in Genesis 2:9. In her mind, there was nothing separating it from the others except the fact that God told her it would kill her. That’s a rather absolute statement wouldn’t you say and since it came from the mouth of God we could also say that it was truth, in other words absolute truth. When absolute truth is laid aside because we see no distinction, we see no harm in the outward appearance then things become relatively the same to us, there is then the opinion that no absolute truth exists about what is evil. When we see this view or perspective as being wise, as that which will bring wisdom to us we make the same mistake Eve did. We don’t see the harm inherent in it, we begin to desire it rather than despise it.
2. She Took. Matthew Henry in his commentary says that Eve’s taking was like stealing, she took that which she had no right to. In taking the fruit Eve moved closer to the actual step of disobedience in eating. Taking is the act of touching and sensing no deterrent, no consequence, it invites the next step from which there is no return. Once sin has been reached out for, whether that’s in the first steps of adultery, drug use, pornography or theft, you have taken that which does not belong to you. When you reach out and take in this way the next step is imminent.
3. She Ate. She introduced into herself, into her being that which would kill her. If it had been laced with cyanide or had hemlock as it’s root and Eve had died within seconds of eating it then it would have evidenced itself as toxic. Then Adam would never have seen her holding it, eating it and yet still alive, then disobedience would not be seen as choice without consequence. Eve made a terrible choice but Adams’ choice was of greater consequence. He was the man from which woman was created, he was the one who had been directly told the truth and in his disobedience came the consequence of sin into his very nature and by him into all mankind. It says that after Adam ate then the eyes of both were opened. This doesn’t refer to physical sight but rather to their conscience now being awakened with a sense of guilt, shame and fear. This is the effect, the systemic effect of sin in man, it is the cause of the Great Hide.
II. The Development of the Systemic Effect of Sin or The Sin Nature of Man. There are a number of things that happen quickly here:
1. The awareness of being naked. We can only speculate what this meant as we see their reaction to cover or hide their sexuality from each other. Perhaps being naked meant that they sensed that they could be seen in way that judged them, that invited embarrassment or contempt. Whatever the way that they now saw each other what is clear is that shame was a new emotion for them and in their coverings they sought to conceal themselves from one another.
2. The reaction to the sound of the presence of the Lord. A couple of things are evident here, they knew the sound and Who it was that made it. Perhaps this was the physical presence of the Lord, what is called a theophany or pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. Whatever the case, they recognized the presence of the Lord and because of sin their reaction has now changed to being afraid and to try to hide from God.
3. The call of the Lord. It is God who initiates the contact, it is God who says to Adam, “Where are you?” If you believe that God is all knowing then it only stands to reason that God already knew where Adam was, the question was for Adam’s benefit. ‘Where are you?’ can be a question not only of location but also of condition or state of mind. It invites Adam to acknowledge the fear that now controls him. It invites Adam to confess his mistake, his sin and to turn from it.
4. The exposing of sin. Look at the way things are connected here, fear is connected to being naked, nakedness demands being hidden. Nowhere does Adam admit the actual sin of disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit. It is the Lord who points out to him that awareness of nakedness and the shame that attends it comes from the sin of disobedience. The Lord prompts Adam to confess his sin by agreeing that it was wrong and then choosing to seek forgiveness for that, but Adam does not. The systemic effect of sin in man is to try to hide even more.
5. The blame shift. What the Lord looks for is the agreement of man with Him as regards sin. Instead Adam blames Eve and he blames God. “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.” It’s a true statement but it seeks to shift the blame to Eve and even to the Lord. Eve’s response is similar, she also speaks the facts and yet seeks to hide from the act of her choosing it, it was the serpents fault she says.
The Great Hide has become part of our very nature, it is how we respond to shame, fear and guilt as the effects of a ruined relationship with the Lord God. We hide from one another with fig leaves of all sorts, we have masks like words and attitudes, masks like possessions, houses, cars, clothing that are used to hide who we really are. We, like Adam, try to hide from the Lord God, we hear the sound of His presence and we even hear Him asking, “Where are you?” Sometimes we even try to hide from ourselves, we distract ourselves so as to not have to deal with the issues of conscience, we try desperately to find a way that avoids having to agree with God about our sin.
The good news is that there still exists a tree of life, it is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him is life, in Him is the light of men, in Him is forgiveness, ultimate and absolute forgiveness of sin that will change forever the way the Great Hide controls my life. It means agreeing with God about your sin, it means choosing to turn from that sin and asking for that absolute forgiveness. It means beginning again new in Christ, it’s there for you this very moment. It is the invitation of God to you to come out from hiding, to agree with Him and to begin life in Christ Jesus.