If Adam had Repented, he would not have been Exiled (Part 1)
“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 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?”
After Adam had been tricked [into eating the fruit], he was hoping that God would remain unaware of his sin, and he thought to himself roughly the following: “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!” This is what he was pondering (just as many people today—including myself—who hide their sins do as well). 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. I am at fault because I listened to the advice of the woman. I have greatly sinned by following her suggestion and disregarding your direction. Have mercy on me!” Unfortunately, Adam did not say any such thing. He did not humble himself. His heart was like steel—just as mine is. If he had said the above, he would have remained in Paradise, and with a single word alone (i.e. “I have sinned. Forgive me”) he would have avoided all the innumerable evils that he endured when he was exiled and, subsequently, when he remained in Hades for all those centuries.
—by St. Symeon the New Theologian