Genesis 3:6

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Hebrews 4:13

13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

  • 2
    Can you explain how the text of Hebrews 4:13 contradicts the text of Genesis 3:6-13? You haven't given an explanation of what is troubling you. Without an explanation, your question appears to be implying that "lack of knowledge" is the only reason a father would ask a question of his son.
    – enegue
    Oct 26, 2016 at 6:45
  • 1
    Are you trying to understand the New Testament or Hebrew Bible passage? If the latter, the New Testament shouldn't be cited at all since it is anachronistic to the original context of Genesis.
    – Dan
    Oct 28, 2016 at 19:54
  • A lot of people ask this question and I think it's reasonable. Hebrews is saying that we have an all-knowing god, and in Genesis, God is asking questions. Why would God ask questions if God knows the answers? What I'm seeing with this particular passage and how it relates to the entire NT -because there is a common theme- is accountability, and whether or not a person feels remorse for what they've done. In Genesis, no remorse is said or shown. I can't prove it but I think this is the purpose of this text. Had Adam and Eve shown remorse, the human race might have gone a different path. Feb 26, 2017 at 15:02

4 Answers 4


It is figure of speech in Biblical literature where human actions are attributed to God in narration of stories in idiomatic language. I am going to quote from Bullinger's Figure of Speech with few examples. Figures of Speech Used in the Bible Explained and Illustrated

Anthropopatheia; or, Condescension

The Ascribing of Human Attributes, etc., to God. An-thrôp´-o-path-ei´-a. Greek, ἀνθρωποπάθεια, from ἄνθρωπος (anthropos), man, and πάθος (pathos), affections and feelings, etc. (from πάσχειν, paschein), to suffer). This figure is used of the ascription of human passions, actions, or attributes to God. The Hebrews had a name for this figure, and called it דֶרֶךְ בְנֵי אָדָם (Derech Benai Adam), the way of the sons of man. The Greeks had another name for it: SYNCATABASIS (Syn´-cat-ab´-a-sis), from σύν (syn), together with, κατά (kata), down, and βαίνειν (bainein), to go: a going down together with: i.e., God, by using this figure, condescends to the ignorance and infirmity of man. Hence, the Latin name for it was CONDESCENSIO, condescension.

3. Human Actions are attributed to God.

Knowing. Not actual knowledge as such, but the acquiring of knowledge as though before ignorant.

Genesis 18:21.-"I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it,† [Note: The Severus Codex reads ם for ה: i.e., their cry, instead of "the cry of it." See Ginsburg’s Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, page 412.] which is come unto me; and if not, I will know."

Genesis 22:12.-"Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."

God, of course, knew it already; but, in wondrous condescension, He stoops to make Abraham understand.

Deuteronomy 8:2.-"The Lord thy God led thee, etc. … to know what was in thine heart." So Deuteronomy 13:3 (4). The Lord knew already: "For He knoweth the way of the righteous" (Psalms 1:6; Psalms 31:7 (8). 2 Timothy 2:19).

Psalms 14:2.-"The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see (i.e., to know) if there were any that did understand," etc.

So Psalms 53:2 (3). (See also this verse under Epanadiplosis).

Not Knowing, the opposite of knowledge, is attributed to God.

Genesis 3:9.-"The Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" This implies ignorance. The Lord knew; but the question is put to make Adam know and realise his changed condition.

Genesis 4:9.-"Where is Abel thy brother?"

These first two Divine questions in the Bible are very significant. See under Erotesis.

Numbers 22:9.-"What men are these with thee?"

1 Kings 19:9; 1 Kings 19:13.-"What doest thou here, Elijah?"

To this figure must be referred the passages which represent God as doubting, or having to wait to see certain results.

Also when God tries, or proves, or searches, it is not that He does not know, but that He may make others know.

Psalms 7:9 (10).-"The righteous God trieth the hearts and reins." (See Metonymy of subject).

So Christ declares that He will say:

The questions of Christ in the New Testament are to be referred to the same Figure.

Matthew 22:20.-"Whose is this image and superscription?"

Also verse 45: "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?"

Luke 8:45.-"Who touched me?"


Genesis 9:15-16, and Exodus 6:5, where God speaks of remembering His covenant. So Psalms 105:8; Psalms 105:42* [Note: See the Structure of this Psalm in A Key to the Psalms, by the same author and publisher.] ; 106:45: "He remembered for them His covenant," though "they (verse 13) soon forgat His works," and (verse 21) "they forgat God their saviour."

Exodus 2:24.-"And God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." See this passage under the figures Synonymia, Anaphora, Polysyndeton, and Metonymy (of the Cause).

1 Samuel 1:11.-"If thou wilt … remember me and not forget thine handmaid." See under Pleonasm.

1 Samuel 1:19.-"And the Lord remembered her." There is Hypocatastasis here; for it is implied that He heard Hannah’s prayer (verse 9), and did according to her request.

Psalms 78:39.-"He remembered that they were but flesh." This stands in solemn contrast with verse 42: "They remembered not His hand."

Psalms 103:14.-"He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." This is the one thing that man will not do: he will not remember our infirmities. Man will remember our sins; but these are the very things that God will not remember (Isaiah 43:25). Infinite in power, He remembers our weakness. Perfect in holiness, He will not remember our sins.

This remembrance, though in mercy to His people, involves the punishment of their enemies.

Forgetting and Not Forgetting is also attributed to God.

Psalms 9:18 (19).-"For the needy shall not alway be forgotten."

Psalms 13:1 (2).-"How long wilt thou forget me, O Jehovah."

Psalms 42:9 (10).-"I will say unto God (El) my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?"

Isaiah 49:15.-"Yet will I not forget thee."

Jeremiah 23:39.-"I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you": i.e., the false prophets, who would say "the burden of the Lord."

Hosea 4:6.-"I will also forget thy children." (See under Metonymy of Cause.)

Luke 12:6.-"Not one of them is forgotten before God."

When God says He will not forget His enemies, it means that their punishment is certain, and will not be indefinitely deferred.

Job 11:6.-"Know therefore that God causeth to be forgotten for thee of thine iniquity."

The A.V. [Note: The Authorized Version, or current Text of our English Bible, 1611.] and R.V. [Note: The Revised Version, 1881.] both render this "God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth": where two words have to be supplied through not seeing the Figure, which denotes that "God (Eloah) causeth the punishment of thine iniquity to be deferred." The Heb. is: "He constantly lendeth to thee": i.e., crediteth thee like a lenient creditor.

Psalms 74:23.-"Forget not the voice of thine enemies": i.e., do not defer their punishment.

Amos 8:7.-"I will never forget any of their works": i.e., I will surely remember them and punish them for them.

  • 1
    Well rerasoned,eye opener Oct 25, 2016 at 9:27
  • The first few questions asked by someone other than the Lord are eye-openers as well. There's the serpent's question, which has a rhetorical intent. And there's Cain's question, intended to obfuscate. These two questions challenge the relationships the Lord set up, between Himself and Man, and between Man and Man. Oct 29, 2016 at 8:19


The things written in the Scriptures are for our education today of things to do or not to do when we shall hear His Voice.

It’s not that God did not already know these things but asked them of Adam to let us know what He looks for when He calls us today…. we who are dead in Adam.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 KJV (14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

Christ Jesus comes to open the Scriptures….and only becoming as a “child” can we enter into knowing the Scriptures which are able to make us wise unto salvation. We are to hear and believe His interpretation of them….through faith of what Christ Jesus says/interprets to us today.

(15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Christ Jesus interprets the Scriptures in the breath of God (“inspiration” of God)….that is, in the fullness of the Holy Spirit….the 7 spirits of God.

(16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The LORD God called unto “Adam” (meaning “red” ) and asked “where are you?” as He walked in the garden in the “cool” (meaning “wind” or Spirit) of the Day.

This question relates to the outward showing…the evidence… of our internal faith in Him. Where is our faith? Faith without good works toward the hearing of His Voice is dead.

Genesis 3:6-10 KJV (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

They sewed “fig leaves” together….that is, saying “Lord, Lord”… and made themselves aprons….that is, the doctrines and commandments of men (which are the work of man’s own hands) to “clothe” themselves with.

We cannot truly cover ourselves with the commandments of men. We have no works of God’s righteousness in the keeping of them…that is what is meant as being “naked”.

They did not bring forth fruits of righteousness (no fruit…no figs) but only “leaves” of the fig tree… platitudes only.

They honored Him with their lips but did not show forth their faith (with God’s righteousness) toward the revelation of the Lord Jesus who told them (the eyes of their understanding were opened) that they were really “naked”.

To the church of “Laodicea”….meaning “people of the Judgment”….as Adam was also in the Day of Judgment: Revelation 3:17: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

(7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

They heard the “Voice” (Christ Jesus) of the LORD God walking in the garden in the Spirit of the Day…..but they hid themselves (not producing the outward evidence of their internal faith through good works: love, patience, kindness, peace, etc).

They did not do (God’s commandments) what the Voice was saying to them and instead hid themselves among the TREE (singular) of the knowledge of good and evil as they went about justifying their own works and speaking evil (out of the same mouth that blesses God and yet curses men) of a “stranger” that came along and told them that they were “naked”…that is, without true works of righteousness.

They did not walk with God in the Spirit…who was walking in the Spirit of the “Day”…that is, in the Day of Judgment.

(8) And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Where are you? Where is your faith for it is hid….like the man that hid the talent within the earth.

(9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Adam was fearful….and fear does not complete love.

(10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

We are to hear His voice and confess that this is Jesus the Son of God. This is the real Jesus and not the other “Jesus” so many are preaching today.

We must confess that this is the real Jesus the Son of God who comes to give us an understanding so that we may know Him who is true…showing that we know Him by the keeping of His commandments.

1 John 4:14-21 KJV (14*) And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. (15) Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (16) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.*

Adam feared and was not made complete by love. He did not have boldness in the Day of Judgment…as he spoke evil of a stranger that came along and said that they were naked.

(17) Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (19) We love him, because he first loved us.

We must also love a “stranger”…a brother… who comes along today speaking the words of the Lord in the Spirit of Truth to our hearing ears.

(20) If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

“Adam” = “red”. “Sardis” = “red” ones.

The Lord comes along speaking with the 7 Spirits of God (having the fullness of the Holy Spirit).

Yet, those in “Sardis” (red….Adam) did not produce good works toward what they heard. They did not have an ear to hear what the Spirit was saying.

They had a name that they lived (they professed their faith....having "leaves" of the fig tree only) but were dead….as having faith only without good works is dead. We must produce fruit also.

Revelation 3:1-6 KJV (1) And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

They did not produce good works…the works of His righteousness…toward what they heard the Voice saying. Their works were that of the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as they used their mouth to speak evil things of those whom He sends out to speak His words of life and spirit. As Adam, they hide themselves in that Tree.

Having good works (peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, etc) completes our faith. Our works are not complete before God if love is not shown towards those who come to speak what they hear the Voice saying in the Day of Judgment. We must "awake" to His righteousness and put on Christ at the hearing of His voice.

(2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

But a few names in Sardis will not defile their garments but instead will be found overcoming their wrath and putting on Christ (the good works in Him) and will walk with Him.

(4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Having faith alone does not save us. It is being a "dead" church to think so.

“Leaves” only will not save us…..as professing faith only will not save us. We must bear fruits of righteousness….the good works that complete our faith towards the hearing of His Voice. Where are you Adam? That is , where is the evidence (good works) of faith?

James 2:17-20 KJV (17) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (18) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

  • Faith + Works, vs Faith Alone. What you are arguing, is Catholicism vs Protestantism. Or at least one of their major philosophical beefs. There's not much point bringing it on here, various saints have expounded on it over the centuries and it hasn't really helped anyone move towards a single answer. Everyone still stands exactly where they are. Is it only the Pope who can create saints? Cos that would surely mean the writings of saints would tend to favour Catholicism. Hm Internet tells me Protestants don't really go in for saints, fair enough. They just have religious philosophers.
    – Greenaum
    Nov 1, 2021 at 22:43

I think it's the same thing as when a parent asks a toddler what they've been doing. "Did you take a cookie?", to the chocolate-smeared, crumb-covered infant. Of course they KNOW he took the cookie, the point is to see what the child's answer will be, and if it will be honest.

In other words, a rhetorical question!

And yes, as Michael16 points out, the passage itself is rhetoric, it's told as a story that will be easily digestible to an ignorant newcomer to the ancient religion. Rather than a smarty-pants God who already knows everything and basically just sits there, having made everything perfect to start with, and knowing the outcome of every event. That would be more the disinterested, fait accompli god of Asian religions.

Instead, he interacts, which gives a description of his character, of men's characters before him, and by implication how he's a sort of loving father who we should all be terrified of.

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    – Lesley
    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:40

As God-believers who view God as omniscient (all-knowing), we discern that there must be some other reason why God would ask any question of a human being. Since he created us, formed us in his own image, and placed us on the earth, what is it that he would want to achieve with asking questions of us?

One plausible answer is that God causes us to act when God poses a question. Questions cause us to think; and then, as we come to a realization (at times through the power of God's Holy Spirit) we respond! The response may be shame, anger, repentance, joy, and so on, but whatever we feel, God orchestrates the process so that something happens to change us.

If you look further into Genesis, you will find this is not the only question God asks of Adam. For example, later God inquires about how Adam knew he was naked -- "who told you that you were naked?" (Gen. 3:11a NIV). Once Adam began to form his answer (probably the first recorded instance of casting blame), he most likely realized the trouble he was in (read the entire narrative to see how the woman, Eve, reacts in the same way). The forbidden fruit brought recognition, but God's question mobilized the climatic exchange when humankind was rejected from the Garden.

If you search the biblical evidence, you will find other questions throughout the Bible that God or God's emissaries pose. The angel asked a woman why was she weeping; Hagar answered and became the mother of a nation (Gen. 21:17); God asked, "Whom will I send?" Isaiah answered and became the extraordinary prophet to point the way to The Messiah (Is. 6:8); Jesus asked, "Who touched me?" (Luke 8:45), and a desperate woman was healed. When God asks a question, God does it to orchestrate a response -- our response -- and that is when something happens.

  • 1
    Please note that this is not a Christian site. Please do not assume Christian readers. We're a little different from other sites that study the Bible. Please edit this to remove exhortatory statements that prescribe actions to readers rather than simply describe the text.
    – Dan
    Oct 28, 2016 at 19:55
  • Well, not really the first recorded instance of casting blame, since it wasn't ACTUALLY written at the beginning of time. There are certainly older books, older stories and legends and I'm sure somebody blamed somebody else for something in one of them. Genesis is thought to have been written about 600-500BC, so certainly not the first book, or oldest story.
    – Greenaum
    Nov 1, 2021 at 22:29
  • As far as Eden and the Forbidden Fruit, they're even told it will make them like God. It gave them awareness, self-awareness. Partly self-awareness brings the idea of blame, of the possibility of right and wrong. It brings awareness you were walking round naked the whole time! Animals walk around naked, doesn't seem to ever bother them. To be fair animals do have some self-awareness. But imagine before humans really did. When we were ignorant. We'd be part of nature and see ourselves that way. Not as separate godlike beings who can change the environment (and oh how we have!)
    – Greenaum
    Nov 1, 2021 at 22:33
  • Suddenly we woke up and were aware of ourselves and our situation! We were happy in our ignorance (=bliss!) before. Literally hearing God, the voice of nature or perhaps our own thoughts echoed into the aware mind in a way different from how it works now. Living in paradise because we had what we needed in the same way a dog rolling in poop is in ecstasy and a vulture sees heaven in a rotting carcass. Rain wouldn't bother us when we'd never had shelter. It's a story of humans attaining awareness, leaving animal-hood and becoming thinking self-aware beings. Like God! Adios, God!
    – Greenaum
    Nov 1, 2021 at 22:37

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