Did Adam and Eve Walk with God in the Garden?

The only possible biblical reference to walking in the Garden of Eden is found after Adam and Eve sinned.

The only possible biblical reference to walking in the Garden of Eden is found after Adam and Eve sinned.

Why would anyone ask such a silly question? Of course, Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden, it’s written right there in Genesis…um…ah…is it 3? I know it’s there somewhere, isn’t it?

Based on the sheer number of people who have claimed this, it must be found somewhere in the Bible, right? I’ve heard pastors, speakers, authors, and many other Christians confidently state that Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden.

The problem with this claim is that you’ll never find a Bible verse that teaches it. You read that correctly, the Bible never states that Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden. You may be reaching for your Bible right now to prove me wrong. Please do look it up, and if you find it, let me know, so I can apologize and correct this post.

Where Does This Idea Come From?

Since the Bible doesn’t make this claim, it’s impossible to know for sure where people get the idea from. In all likelihood, it comes from a misunderstanding of or making an inference from Genesis 3:8: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” (NKJV).

It seems likely that many people have just remembered some of the wording in this verse and assumed that it says Adam and Eve walked with God. But that’s not at all what is going on here. This verse appears immediately after our first parents rebelled against the Creator. They are not taking a leisurely stroll with God, they are hiding from Him as He comes to announce His judgment. Here is the verse in its entirety.

And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

Even if this translation is accurate, which is debatable, it does not say that they walked with God.

Some people have inferred from this statement that they must have known what it sounded like to hear God walk in the Garden so they must have walked with Him before. But what did they actually hear that made them afraid? Adam said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10, ESV). Adam was ashamed to stand before God as he was now a sinner who was about to face his righteous God.

So what did they hear in the Garden? Was it God walking or was it something different? The ESV accurately captures Adam’s response in verse 10. It was the “sound of God” that Adam heard. The phrase translated as “the cool of the day” is better understood as a strong wind, and if this is how the phrase should be translated, then God was not simply walking through the Garden. Instead, He manifested as a violent wind, perhaps not too different than how He spoke to Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1). Psalm 29 also uses strong imagery to show how the sound of the Lord acts upon nature like a powerful storm, breaking and bending trees and stripping off their leaves (Psalm 29:5–9, NET). Remember that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost with a “rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2).

So if the strong wind idea is actually being conveyed by the Hebrew, then there is no textual basis for claiming that Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden in the cool of the day.

Theological Rationale

Another potential source for this idea is found in the statements made about those who did walk with God. For example, “Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:22, 24) and “Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).  But even these passages do not necessarily imply that Enoch and Noah physically took walks with God. Yes, they could have done this if God made a physical appearance (called a theophany), as He did in other places (e.g., Genesis 12:7; 18:1). However, the “walk” in these passages should probably be understood in a figurative sense. That is, Enoch and Noah lived faithful lives.

In a similar way, we are told in the New Testament to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). This walking refers to living a life that pleases God. If used in this sense, Adam and Eve did “walk” with God prior to sin because there was no fracture in their relationship with God. Perhaps some people may have this figurative sense in mind when they speak of our first parents walking with God. However, most people inevitably mention them walking in the cool of the day, so they aren’t thinking of it in the figurative sense.

Finally, there are many who use the idea of Adam and Eve actually walking with God to stress the theological point of man’s closeness to God prior to sin in order to contrast that with man’s lost condition after sin. But there is no need to make the text say something it doesn’t. From this view, Adam and Eve were with God in the Garden for a while and they had the privilege of regularly hanging out with Him.

The problem with this scenario is that Adam and Eve were almost certainly not in the Garden very long. God had told them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). They were created with perfect bodies and were husband and wife on the day they were created. So it would not have taken long for Eve to conceive, yet Cain was not conceived until they were banished from the Garden.

Conclusion

Could Adam and Eve have actually taken walks with God in the Garden? Of course, since God is capable of making physical appearances, but we need to be careful not to assert that the Bible teaches this. We also should not assume that God was at their beck and call so that He would come around for a stroll whenever they wanted Him there. Maybe He was physically there throughout the short time that they were in the Garden, but I have my doubts.

About Tim Chaffey

I am the founder of Midwest Apologetics and work as the Content Manager with the Attractions Division of Answers in Genesis. I have written (or co-authored) several books, including In Defense of Easter, God and Cancer, The Sons of God and the Nephilim, and The Truth Chronicles Series (see the publications page for more details). Please note: the opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Answers in Genesis.

Comments

Did Adam and Eve Walk with God in the Garden? — 28 Comments

  1. WALKED WITH GOD ????? ?? ???????

    ? Genesis 3:8 ?
    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.

    ~~~~~ There are other passages in Scripture about those who did walk with God. For example, “Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:22, 24) and “Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). That certainly could have been the case if God made a physical appearance (called a theophany), as He did in other places (e.g., Genesis 12:7; 18:1.

    God, by nature, is Spirit and a spirit does not have a bodily form. God has, in certain instances, revealed Himself in bodily form. The episode of God walking in the Garden of Eden is one of these instances. It is possible that God literally walked in the Garden of Eden in the form of a human. The term used to explain this and other episodes is anthropomorphism (human-forms).

    Could the person who was walking in the Garden have been the Angel of the Lord or the Pre-Incarnate Christ?
    Before He came to earth two thousand years ago, Jesus appeared at various times in the Old Testament in a physical form. These include appearances to Abraham, Hagar, Moses, Joshua (Joshua 5:13), Gideon (Judges 5:12), and the wife of Manoah (Judges 13:3).

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment. It is definitely possible that the person in the Garden was the preincarnate Christ. There is a possibility that we should understand that Hebrew text to be speaking about something more like the whirlwind at the end of Job—that they heard the sound of God moving about (not walking) in the Garden. But even if that happens to be the right way to look at it, then it may still be correct to view this as a theophany.
      Anyway, I’m very surprised I forgot to include a link to an article on theophanies that I wrote for Answers in Genesis. I’ve added that to the article now to help clarify that point. If you’re interested, here’s the link: https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/incarnation/theophanies-in-the-old-testament/
      Thanks!

  2. Tim:

    I must stand corrected as I also remembered Adam and Eve walking in the cool of the afternoon with God. Let me shine light on tis section you have written:

    The problem with this scenario is that Adam and Eve were almost certainly not in the Garden very long. God had told them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). They were created with perfect bodies and were husband and wife on the day they were created. So it would not have taken long for Eve to conceive, yet Cain was not conceived until they were banished from the Garden.

    If you will count the number of people listed as being created, you will find Adam #1, Eve #2 then Cain #3 and Able #4. so that’s a total of four people listed as being on the Earth. Please note that both boys were conceived and born after sin had entered the Earth.
    Now turn to Chapter 4 of Genesis verse 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

    Who is this that would kill him? Because at this time there are only three people left from the list. Now go to verse 17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.

    Where did this wife come from?

    Conclusion. Adam and Eve as well as other people born during the no-sin era. Why weren’t they mentioned? Easy, no relevance to the story.
    There may have been thousands of years, who knows? But at least enough time passed to provide people who lived in “Nod” and a wife for Cain.

    • Hi Mel,
      Who was Cain afraid of? There are several possibilities, such as siblings, nephews, and nieces. The Bible doesn’t tell us how old Cain was when he murdered his brother, but it does give us a potential clue. When Eve gave birth to Seth (at age 130) she viewed him as a replacement for Abel. So it seems as if Abel had just recently passed away. If so, that means Cain and Abel could have been over 120 years old when Cain killed Abel. Abel may have had plenty of kids who would want revenge against their Uncle Cain for killing their father.
      Who was his wife? More than like, Cain’s wife was his sister, or possibly a niece. The Bible doesn’t say that Cain’s wife was from Nod. It says that he went to the land of Nod and then she conceived a son (Enoch).
      For more on the issue of Cain’s wife, see this article: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/cain/cains-wife-who-was-she/

  3. I know when I say that Adam walked with God in the Garden, I mean to say that God spent time with them, not literally walking in the garden, God doesn’t walk, He is Spirit!
    No, I mean that God must have spent time with them in order to teach them, how else would they learn to talk, to till the land, to eat, to basically live their lives in a way that was pleasing to Him!
    How do your children know how to live? That’s right, you are right there with them from birth, not that they were made a baby first of course, as that would take other humans to raise them as we know it!
    Why would God spend time with them, because He loved them and wanted to share His love with them! What is the one thing that He values the most, as we know it? To spend time with Him.
    If how we are not that naive to believe that this is a new thing with Him, no we can reasonably infer that God spent time with Adam and Eve.
    Not all of the time of course, how else would they have rebelled against Him. Let’s take a teacher in a class room full of students, then have the teacher leave the room, chaos will ensue, amen? Therefore God was not always with them in the Garden, not as we know it anyway. So again, let’s not be naive to think that God didn’t spend time with them!
    I love my time with Him and when I’m not with Him I want to do the right thing by Him, unlike Adam and Eve!
    I worship in His presence and put off His presence!

    • Hi Robert,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      We do see examples of theophanies in the Old Testament where God does appear to people in human form, as He did to Abraham. This is what most people have in mind when they speak of the Lord walking with Adam and Eve. How do I know? Because they nearly always cite the verse about Adam and Eve hearing the sound of the Lord walking in the garden.
      It is possible that the Lord taught them how to do certain things, as you say, but it certainly wasn’t necessary. They were created “pre-programmed” by God. Adam understood what God meant when he was given instructions because God made him with the ability to understand those things. So comparing Adam and Eve to children who need to learn to talk, eat, etc. is not an accurate analogy. It also seems to assume that they were in the garden for quite a while when they almost certainly were not there for long at all.
      With that being said, I agree with you that it is reasonable to infer that He spent time with them, but the Bible does not imply that He did, and that was the point of this post. As I mentioned in the conclusion, God could have walked with them, but the Bible does not tell us that He did.

  4. One of my Bible study ladies commented about the command to “not eat of the fruit lest they die” as possibly being a mystery to Adam and his wife. After all, they had not experienced or seen death as of yet.

    What is you view on this?

    • Hi June,

      Thanks for the comment and for taking the time to read the post.
      I don’t think it was a mystery to them—at least not completely. It is true that they had not experienced death yet, they came “pre-programmed” with an ability to speak and understand things. When God said, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat…” Adam knew what a tree was, what the garden was, and what eating was. He may have seen the trees and the garden as God spoke those words, but he probably hadn’t eaten yet. Adam and Eve surely knew that the punishment for rebellion was death—and even if they didn’t understand the fullness of that word, they knew it wasn’t good.
      I hope this helps.

  5. We know that God is Omnipresent. We know that God was with Adam and Eve at all times and wherever they were. He was with them when they were deceived by Satan. He saw them sew fig leaves together to cover themselves. They hid when they heard God; however it was that they heard Him. God asks them if they had eaten from the tree, but He already knows the answer. He was there, He is everywhere and He was always with them.
    WHY? Why don’t Adam and Eve know that God is with them at all times? What was their relationship? What can we honestly infer from the scriptures?
    It saddens me to let go of the notion that God would hang out with them in the cool of the evening. It’s beautiful imagery but you’re right, the bible doesn’t say this.
    He gives instructions and warnings and they fear Him when they disobey. This saddens me.

  6. when they heard God they hid from Him. When He asked them why they hid they answered Him. they heard him rebuke them. Or maybe they read Gods mind.

    • Ed,
      I’m not sure what this has to do with whether they walked with God in the garden. I have no doubt that they heard an audible voice when God asked, “Where are you?” or when He asked who told them that they were naked. But this does nothing to prove that they walked with God in the garden.

      • I’m not really sure how your comment addresses Ed’s point at all or anything in the article. Yes, Jesus is God and was in the beginning with God, but the part about the Word becoming flesh and dwelling “among us” (John 1:14) is a reference to the Incarnation that began when He was conceived in Mary’s womb. Furthermore, nothing in John 1 states that Jesus walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

  7. when they heard God walking in the garden, they hid from God. When God asked them how they knew they were naked, and asked them if they had eaten from the tree they were not to. Would that seem that they must have heard His voice at some other time

    • Hi Ed,
      Adam did hear God’s voice at another time. When the Lord made him on the sixth day, He commanded him not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So there is no need to appeal to some sort of walk in the garden for them to know God’s voice. Also, Adam didn’t necessarily say that he heard God’s voice (some Bibles translate it that way), but it could just as accurately be translated as “your sound” in the garden. This would still fit with the idea of God coming in judgment, which was given as a possibility in the article.

  8. Tim, thank you for your commentary. I never really gave it much thought that Adam and Eve “walked” with God in the garden.God can and does whatever He wants to do. I do however give a lot of thought when people preach/teach as truth that which is not written but surmised by man/woman to have taken place. I agree that it is very possible that God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden but there is no written statement(s) that support this. But what does it really matter, what appears to have happened here (according to some of the responses) is that golden calves have been kicked over and religion has taken a bump on the shins. Keep up the good work brother, the TRUTH shall be the only thing that sets us free.

  9. “And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden” Genesis 3:8.

    • I’LL TAKE YOUR APOLIGE NOW ,,WHERE THEY USE TO WALK WITH GOD ,THEY CHOOSE TO HIDE !!!NOW YOU CAN TAKE THIS LIE DOWN FOR GOOD ,,,THANK YOU !!!!STEVI

      • Steve,

        Perhaps you should take a moment to read the blog post before commenting. Simply quoting Genesis 3:8 does not disprove the point of my post since that verse never says that they walked with God. If you had bothered to read the post, you would have read these words:
        “In all likelihood, it comes from a misunderstanding of or making an inference from Genesis 3:8: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” (NKJV).
        It seems likely that many people have just remembered some of the wording in this verse and assumed that it says Adam and Eve walked with God. But that’s not at all what is going on here. This verse appears immediately after our first parents rebelled against the Creator. They are not taking a leisurely stroll with God, they are hiding from Him as He comes to announce His judgment. Here is the verse in its entirety.

        And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

        Even if this translation is accurate, which is debatable, it does not say that they walked with God.
        Some people have inferred from this statement that they must have known what it sounded like to hear God walk in the Garden so they must have walked with Him before. But what did they actually hear that made them afraid? Adam said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10, ESV). Adam was ashamed to stand before God as he was now a sinner who was about to face his righteous God.”
        So no, I will not take down this post or apologize for it, unless you can actually show me where the Bible says that they did walk with God. They may have done that, and I wouldn’t have any problem with it. But it would be nice for you or someone else to show me where the Bible ever makes that claim. Instead of adding our own ideas to Scripture and stating them dogmatically and demanding apologies from anyone who disagrees, perhaps we should learn to deal carefully with the word of God.

  10. This is a different subject. The children of Israel had a great amount of lifestock during the time of their exodus. I’m sure the water God supplied was for the animals as well as the people. But why wouldn’t the Israelites use the animals for sustenance-milk,meat,skins, etc. It seems from Scripture that they lived on manna exclusively. What do you think??

    • Hi Bob,
      Thanks for your question. As you supposed, God did provide water for the animals too. This is stated in the incident where Moses disobeyed by striking the rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:10–11). God also provided quail for a whole month (Numbers 11:19–20). We know that the Israelites did eat some of their animals during the year. For example, the Passover lamb was to be eaten (Exodus 12:8). My guess is that they would not have had nearly enough animals to eat over their forty year wandering. I would assume that they drank goat’s milk during this time as well. I don’t recall a specific instance of this, but since the promised land was repeatedly spoken of as a land flowing with milk and honey, I take that to mean that their flocks would thrive and they would have an abundance of milk (in addition to honey and more).
      I hope this helps.

  11. Dear Tim Chaffey, my nephew and I have read and discussed these verses endlessly. We’ve arrived at a very similar conclusion very recently that Adam and his wife or help-meat very possibly disobeyed their creators command not to eat of the fruit of tree in the midst of the garden the first day they were placed there. In fact, nearly as soon as the Lord have man the woman they went together directly to the forbidden tree (as soon as God turned aside to rest from all the work of His creation) they were tempted, took the fruit and ate it.

  12. Hello Tim. Interesting post. I too have always heard that God walked with Adam & Eve in the “cool of the day” every day. In spite of being familiar with scripture, I never noticed that it doesn’t exactly say this. I’m not a Greek or Hebrew expert, or even a “student.” I depend on what I can find on sites (currently I use biblehub.com). I can see that they heard either a sound or a voice. I can see that “cool of the day” can be also be “breath”, “spirit”, or “wind”. I also see or notice (for first time) that the description occurred after the fall & is only described once. So I will get rid of the statement being discussed here. However, I also notice in chapter 2 that Adam recognized God speaking (commanding) to him concerning the forbidden tree. God also brought the animals to Adam so he could name them. Then brought Eve to him. Seems to me there was plenty of interaction & communication between Adam (& Perhaps Eve) and God. I see “familiarity” here. Adam (perhaps Eve too) was familiar with God’s presence. And in Genesis 3:10 Adam heard that familiar sound (be it foot steps, voice, wind or otherwise) & hid. It does say he was afraid—-afraid because they were naked. Possible the sound he heard was uncharacteristically harsh & is why he was afraid. Or perhaps just the knowledge of being disobedient & the result of knowing their nakedness is what caused him to be afraid. Regardless, my point is that Adam was familiar enough to recognized it was God. And therefore, it seems to me familiarity was brought about by regular communion/ communication/ visits from the Lord. In conclusion, the whole of chapter 2 & 3 causes me to conclude that Adam regularly communed with God somehow; and to me probably daily (or at least almost) since we know we are the apple of His eye. But then you had already stated this was possible. God bless you. Keep up the search for accuracy.

    • An additional notable commentary is that God made Adam in His image and likeness, and imbued him with His Spirit – the breath of life. These factors make Adam, and subsequently Eve who was taken out of the man Adam, uniquely designed to perceive the presence of God, and descern His will. If so, then it seems to follow that there would be ongoing communion and communication between God, Adam, and Eve.
      Lastly, as scripture verifies scripture, we see the second Adam, known as Jesus Christ in regular and perpetual contact with the same God and Father. Christ exemplified the relationship that mankind should have with our heavenly Father and creator.

      • Hi Tom,
        Thanks for the comments. I’m not sure that it necessarily follows that there would be ongoing communion and communication between God, Adam, and Eve. Yes, Adam and Eve were made in His image (as are all of us), but I would argue that angels are probably made in His image as well, and even the holy angels aren’t in ongoing (i.e. constant) communication with God (e.g., the angel in Daniel 10:13 who was withstood by the prince of Persian for 21 days until Michael came to help him). I know you didn’t use the word “constant” but that’s sort of the point in my article. They probably weren’t in the garden for very long at all—perhaps just a few days to a few weeks. So if they were in the garden for a month, how many times (if ever) did they walk with God? Did they do this daily, weekly, etc.? We can’t know because the Bible doesn’t speak to this at all.
        I believe this issue is often promoted by people with certain theological perspectives who want to show how much damage sin did to our relationship with God. So if we can claim that they walked with God in perfect communion before sin, then we can stress how bad sin is because we don’t get to do that anymore. But I don’t think we need to have them walking with God in the garden to show how bad sin is. Either way, prior to sin there was not a fractured relationship between God and man, but there certainly is as a result of sin.
        Like I mentioned before, I don’t have a problem with the idea that they may have walked with God in the garden. I think that would be fantastic. I have a problem with Christians continually repeating that the Bible says they walked with God in the garden because it doesn’t say that. I think your comments are valid additional arguments that could be used by those who favor that view, but as you seem to recognize (“it seems to follow”), the arguments are not watertight.
        Thanks for your thoughts.

  13. Hi Tim. I agree with your conclusion that we should not assume that God was at Adam and Eve’s beck and call, coming around for a stroll whenever they wanted Him there, or that God spent considerable time fellowshipping with them in physical form as friends do. But since God formed (literally “squeezed into shape”) Adam and breathed into his nostrils and removed one of his ribs and closed up the wound and walked in the garden and spoke to Adam and Eve (and then Cain later on) in a way they could easily understand, the assumption is unavoidable that God was physically there in tangible form. I believe whenever we read the words “The Word of the Lord came to …” such and such prophet, that means Jesus (who is the Word of God)literally came to that individual as Jesus appeared to John on the Island of Patmos. I believe God appeared to Adam and Eve and Cain and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob (when He wrestled with Him) and the parents of Samson, and even to Balaam and his donkey, the same way He appeared to John.

    • When I was young I remember the most favorites of things I would get for Christmas. These were things i highly cherished. I would be with this item all day and be close to me at nite. I would take them apart and look inside to see how they worked. Dont you think that Adam and Eve being new and first created that God would have been extremely close to them ? Also, when Adam and Eve were created, I dont believe they were automatically filled with knowledge as how to take care of themselves, the animals, the garden,etc
      I would think that they received one on one instruction from God. Ok, we have God as a highly elevated being that perhaps didn’t want to spend timewith all of this…. well, they say that Jesus’s life was that of God or perhaps he was God…. why couldn’t it have been Jesus walking in the garden. – who knows perhaps it was. I just think that Adam and Eve would have needed alot of one on one guidance from God, in person, that of which they couldn’t have possibly received by remote control. Sam

      • Hi Sam,
        Thanks for your comments. As I mentioned in the conclusion of the article, it is certainly possible that the Lord walked with Adam and Eve, and if He did, then it may well have been the preincarnate Christ who walked with them. I’m not opposed to this idea. My main point is that we don’t go around saying that the Bible says that Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden, because that just isn’t in there.
        Also, it’s hard to know how much “preprogramming” Adam and Eve may have had when they were created and how much they needed to learn. Part of the commission to rule over creation would have included the need to study it and figure things out. At the same time, Adam understood what God meant when He spoke to him, so there clearly was some “preprogramming” that occurred when God created him.
        I don’t think it’s a matter of God wanting or not wanting to spend time with His creation, but more of a matter of how much time passed before they rebelled. And I think a strong case can be made for the notion that they weren’t in the garden very long at all. Blessings!

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