Did God Not Know Where Adam Was? Genesis 3:9 | Bible Answers

Some argue that Genesis 3:9 contradicts God's omniscience, or that God knows everything. Learn the answer to this supposed problem.
Bible "contradictions"
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Quick answer

God simply asked a question that He already knew the answer to. This is often done to teach something. So, God asking adam, "Where are you," does not mean that God is not omniscient.

The argument

Some argue that Genesis 3:9 contradicts the doctrine of God's omniscience. In Genesis 3:9, God asks Adam, "Where are you?" The argument is that God asking this question means that God did not know something, namely, where Adam was.

The answer

We often ask questions that we know the answer to

It is common to ask questions that we know the answer to, which is exactly what God is doing in Genesis 3:9. We do this in order to cause the person to reflect upon the question and learn something as a result of this reflection.

What did God want to teach Adam with His question?

God wanted to teach Adam something by asking the question, "Where are you?" The context of Genesis 3:9 is that Adam had just sinned by eating the forbidden fruit and was hiding from God.

So, the purpose of God's question to Adam probably also had a spiritual aspect to it. Perhaps the intent of God's question to Adam was something like this:

"Why are you hiding from me? Are you still in fellowship with me, or are you in rebellion against me?"

Conclusion

There is clearly no contradiction between Genesis 3:9 and God's omniscience. God simply had a reason why He would ask Adam such a question.

"I don't buy that explanation"

Some people have trouble accepting possible explanations to alleged contradictions in the Bible, especially ones that they consider a stretch. For example, Dan Barker, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says this:

I have received numerous replies from Christians who think that these contradictions are either trivial or easily explained. Yet not a single "explanation" has been convincing.

Fact vs Opinion

The fact is that there are plausible explanations for every alleged contradiction in the Bible. That there is a plausible explanation for an alleged contradiction does not mean that it is definitely the correct explanation for the alleged contradiction.

However, as long as a possible explanation has been suggested, then it has been objectively demonstrated that there is no necessary contradiction regarding the Bible verses and passages brought up.

When people like Dan Barker say that they don't find a particular explanation for a contradiction "convincing," then that is merely their opinion. A plausible explanation has been suggested that eliminates the necessary alleged contradiction. They simply don't like it, which is not at all a relevant argument against the explanation.

Additional Resources

To read more about solutions to Bible contradictions and difficulties, check out Norman Geisler's The Big Book of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation. While we do not agree with some of Geisler's theology, particularly concerning his view of predestination, this book is still an excellent resource. It is thorough and filled with research.

Another book to check out is Tim Chaffey's Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions: Exploring Forty Alleged Contraditions, which also answers many alleged contradictions in the Bible.

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