I enjoy silly televisions shows. I don’t mean reality shows, because they are the media equivalent of spent tobacco juice, but instead the ridiculously over-the-top crime and medical dramas upon which FOX broadcasting is built. In fact, a survey of my favorite shows leans heavily in FOX’s direction. Bones, House, and Fringe are a few of the campy-yet-intense fodder that Alec Baldwin and Denis Leary are using to turn my brain into tapioca.
One of these shows is FOX’s “Lie To Me.” The premise of show is delightfully implausible. A brilliant anthropologist, played marvelously by Tim Roth (that’s right, Mr. Orange), uses his expertise in so-called “micro-expressions” to consult for various government agencies, private corporations, and even jealous husbands to determine a person’s credibility and honesty. The idea is your first expression, however insignificant or slight, will always tell your truest reactions. (For those who think that idea is worthless, check this out, http://tinyurl.com/canq53).
If this is true, then God’s first reaction to the sin in the Garden can teach us valuable truths about His nature. Adam and Eve, tempted by the subtlest of creatures, choose to violate the only negative command given them. The command was not ambiguous, nor exceedingly demanding. In fact its simplicity is staggering, “Don’t eat this.” The spiritual destiny of billions relied on not eating fruit, and they still couldn’t pull it off. It’s the metaphysical analog of your wife asking you to get milk at the store, and you buy motor oil instead. It’s not that hard to remember to get milk, but somehow men always seem to forget (But I digress).
So when faced with this gross disobedience of one simple command, how does God react? Did He demonstrate anger, regret, or disgust? Did His brow furrow, were there rage lines in His face? While we cannot know the inner thoughts of the Divine Trinity in this moment, we do have His immediate reaction, His emotional “tell,” the instinctual response that reveals his heart. Genesis 3.8-9 (ESV), “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?’ ”
God’s first reaction reveals the essence of His hope for mankind. God wanted to know where Adam was, and he also wanted him to know that He was looking for him. The “Where are you” question reveals a primal instinct for relationship, a fundamental desire to know and be known. God’s immediate micro-expression was to reconcile the relationship, to begin the process of bridging a gap that was expanding rapidly.
God knew that he had to take the first step. Left to his own, Adam would have remained insufficiently covered and bound in shame. We are built for relationships, but our base instinct is for survival and primacy of self. God’s question reached past our primitive weaknesses and created an atmosphere of restoration and an environment of dialogue. Humanity and God now had a point of reference, a place where both could look back and say, “That’s when it started.” From this point, He builds a process that, over thousands of years, brings humanity to the point where it can return to the Garden.