As a young Christian, new to the faith, Genesis 3:9, 11a puzzled me; God was asking questions as if He did not know the answers. It would take many years before I understood what God was doing, and by then, I had moved on to more puzzling and not so puzzling Scriptures. Here is how God revealed what He was doing to me.
On Tuesday morning, January 22, 2013, I remember waking and thinking that I would have to get-up soon, when suddenly, I am in the Garden of Eden, near the events of Genesis 3:9-11. I could not see what was happening, but I could hear God calling Adam, “Adam, where are you?” As I heard that, I solemnly asked God in prayer, “Lord, why are you asking Adam where he is, when you know where he is?” I continued, “I refuse to believe that there is any weakness in you, that you do not know everything.” But God did not answer me, He continued questioning Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” Again, in prayer, I asked, “Lord, why are you asking him when you already know?” Then the Lord answered me, He said, “Man must give an account unto God.” I said, “Okay, Lord,” and smiled. Immediately, I became aware that I was still in bed.
This was a first time experience for me, and throughout it, I felt as if I were awake! After more than thirty years, God had just opened my understanding to what He was doing. It was not about God knowing or not knowing, as the passage seemed to suggest, but which I never accepted. It was about Adam having to give an account to God for disobeying His command and eating from the forbidden tree (Gen. 3:9-13). Eve, too, the first person to eat, would have to give an account to God for her actions. God had given Adam this command, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17). But the crafty serpent (Gen. 3:1; Rev. 12:9) had deceived Eve, and she had eaten from the tree and had given some of the fruit to Adam, her husband (Gen. 3:1-6). Adam and Eve’s actions branded every person for life, making us all guilty of sin and under the penalty of death before God (Rom. 3:9-18, 23; 6:23; 2 Chron. 6:36). The death penalty was spiritual and physical; spiritual because, human beings’ good relationship with God was broken (Gen. 3:21; 6:5-7; Ps. 66:18; Isa. 64:7; Rom. 5:10), and physical because, human beings die.
Using this new understanding of what God was doing, I was able to find more passages where God had called other people to give an account to Him (Rom. 14:12). For example, Cain was called into account for killing his brother Abel, “Where is your brother Abel?” (Gen. 4:9-10). Hagar had to account for running away from her mistress, “Hagar, slave, of Saria, where have you come from and where are you going?” (Gen. 16:8). The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were visited to give an account of their immoral behavior, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know” (Gen. 18: 20-21). Miriam and Aaron were called to answer for speaking against Moses, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Num. 12:8). This also made me realize that giving an account to God is an event that has been happening since the fall of man. Nevertheless, there is going to be a final account on judgment day (Matt. 12:36; Rom 14:10c-12).
Since everyone is a sinner (Rom. 3:9-18) and we must give an account to God, I encourage you to turn to Jesus, the Son of God, and believe in Him for what He has done for us. He took our sins and the punishment for sin (1 Peter 2:21-25). God sent Jesus to save us because God loves us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Many other Scriptures tell of God’s love for us and affirm that Jesus is God’s Son (Jer. 31:3; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 1:32-34, 49; Rom. 5:8). Scripture also describes Jesus as the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). He did what the first Adam could not do; He lived in obedience to God; He never sinned (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 1 John 3:5). Jesus is also called the Son of Man. Though He is God (John 10:30; 17:11, 21), He had a human mother (John 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-5). Speaking of Himself, Jesus taught, “I am the way and the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me “(John 14:6). The Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach us about Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Among other things, in Romans, Paul teaches us how to believe in Jesus:
… if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Rom. 10:9-13)
Again, I encourage you to believe in Jesus (Gal. 1:4). God does not want to punish the children for the sins of the parents (Eze. 18), which really goes all the way back to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:13, 20; Rom. 5:19). However, carrying the stain of sin in us, known as the sinful nature, we have multiplied the acts of sin (Rom. 5:16, 19), but Jesus will forgive us of our sins when we believe in Him (Rom. 5:15-16; 18-19). If we choose not to believe in Jesus, we will suffer, eternally, for our sins (Rom. 5:9). Jesus is the only Savior we have (1 Tim. 4:10), and "We [can] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). May your account to God be joyful!