Saunter in Excelsis Deo

godgarden

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

Where does the infinitely powerful God of the universe take a walk? Anywhere he wants to. It’s not likely that a “Keep Off the Grass” sign would make a lot of difference either. When you’re the Lord God you can amble anywhere you dang well please. No problem with that. Besides, who’s going to argue?

The funky thing is that the Bible records the infinitely powerful God of the universe as taking a nice stroll just like any old bloke would. If this was some obviously figurative language there’d be no weirdness, but in this case the text is decidedly not playing with metaphors. For one thing, the writer tells us that the first couple heard him rambling about. Was he using a machete? Was he whistling? Maybe he was just loud. Who knows? But the fact that they heard him walking somewhere in the garden is one clue that we’re talking a certain level of literalness here.

Not only that, according to the account, God was walking in the garden. He is reported to be some where specific. This is not the everywhere present deity of later theology but a god who can be located in a place. However you shuffle it with other verses, this passage puts God not only in the garden but in a definite part of the garden, a part where the man and woman were not.

The most interesting thing to me, though, is that the Supreme Meanderer takes his constitutional “in the cool of the day.” If he was a human being, especially one from, say, Arizona, this would be a no-brainer. But he’s God, right? Why should he care what the temperature is? That he waited until it cooled off before taking his constitutional makes him seem more like one of us than the transcendent deity of abstract religion. (Cue the Bach, please. Okay, kill it.) If we read this passage at face value, we have to rethink the creator/creation relationship.

Here’s what the evidence suggests: 1) God isn’t so everywhere that he can’t be somewhere. 2) God likes gardens. 3) God isn’t all that stealthy. 4) If he can avoid it, God will stay out of the heat. 5) Sometimes God would rather walk than drive. 6) God isn’t all that good at hide and seek.

I don’t know about you, but I like a God who appreciates a good mosey every once in a while. It’s nice to know that the infinitely powerful creator of the universe isn’t afraid to take some time off when he needs it. It makes for good mental health and helps keep things in perspective. I’m guessing the whole Flood incident could have been averted if he’d have taken a short break from the office. In fact, I’m hoping he gets in a nice long walk before the last judgment.

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