SYMEON-icon“And God said to Adam [after he disobeyed], Adam where are you?” (Gen. 3:9).

Why did the omnipotent Creator ask this? Certainly desiring to help him understand his mistake and lead him to repentance.

“Adam, where are you?” It is as if He was saying: Examine yourself; take a look at your nakedness! Consider the cloak and the glory of which you have been deprived.

“Adam, where are you?” It is as if He was pleading with him and urging: Please, come to your senses, you poor man. Please, come out of your hiding spot. Do you think you can hide from Me?

Say, “I have sinned!” Unfortunately, Adam said no such thing. Instead, he said, “I heard You walking in Paradise, and I realized that I am naked and I hid.”

How did God reply? “Who told you that you are naked? Did you perhaps eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Do you see, beloved reader, God’s patience? When He asked, “Adam, where are you?” Adam did not confess his sin straightaway, but said, “I heard Your voice Lord, and I realized that I am naked and I hid.”

Even with such a dishonest response, God did not become mad, He did not immediately and definitively turn away from him; on the contrary, He gave him a second chance to admit his fault.

“Who told you that you are naked? Did you perhaps eat from the only tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Take note of the depth of God’s wisdom and words. “Why are you announcing your nakedness, but concealing your sin?”

He says to Adam. “Do you think that I am able to see only your body but unable to see your heart and thoughts as well?”

Adam…was hoping that God would remain unaware of his sin, and he thought…:

“If I say that I am naked, since God is unaware, He will ask me why I am naked? Then I will tell him, ‘I have no idea.’ Thus, I will elude Him and I will enjoy my original garment once again. Even if He doesn’t give me another garment, at least He will not expel me; at least He will not exile me!”

[…] God, however, did not want him to become any more blameworthy, so He asked, “How did you realize that you are naked. Did you perhaps eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

It is as if he was saying: Do you really believe that you can hide from Me? Do you think I am unaware of what you did? You don’t want to say, “I have sinned”?

You poor man! Say, “Yes, Lord. Indeed I have transgressed Your commandment…. Have mercy on me!”

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD); fuller version @ Discerning Thoughts and St Nektarios Monastery.

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