And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
There was a time when the sound of God walking through the garden would have elicited joy. The man had been created in the image of the Godhead, and he was given the work of tending to the garden. To add to his life, God created for him a wife. That was a perfect union in a perfect place with a perfect God. Work was not the arduous labor that we experience today but was a pleasurable and fruitful job. There was beauty all around with nothing to fear. Then, sin entered the world through disobedience. In that instance, the world was introduced to fear and shame. Those who had known only good now became acquainted with evil as well, but that is a fearful knowledge we were not intended to have.
There is a fear of God that draws us to him, and there is a fear of God that makes us flee. If we have a proper fear of God, this is reverence and awe for who He is. It prompts us to obey him and trust him. It prompts us to bow in his presence and submit to him. In this passage, however, a different type of fear surfaces. This is the fear that comes from judgement, shame and the knowledge that one has done wrong. This kind of fear did not exist in mankind before the fall. However, now being born in this sin, we have what we think is a natural fear but what actually was never intended for us to experience. We were made to have a proper fear of God and remain obedient to him. Instead, we disobeyed and invited the terror of fear into this world.
Prior to the entrance of sin, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. That was a place of peace. Without sin, their nakedness was unknown to them. Their eyes had been open only to goodness. They saw nothing wrong in this natural state until they gained the knowledge of evil. Once they knew evil through disobedience, they then became acquainted with terrific fear. They did not cover themselves out of humility or morality; they covered themselves out of shame. This fear caused them not to run to God when faced with his presence but to hide from him. This is the fear God does not want us to have. Father, remove from us the unnatural fear that would make us run from your presence, and give us the proper respect that would draw us to you.