Questioning God’s First Question

by | Jun 3, 2022 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

In this Mindwalk, I would like to question “God’s first question.”

Do you remember God’s first question? It’s one parents often ask their children. But it is also one that has many meanings according to the context.

God asked Adam and Eve “Where are you?”

I subscribe to Bob Tiede’s blog “Leading with Questions” He describes himself as passionate about helping people, especially leaders, shift their paradigm from the pressure of having to have all the right answers to simply having a few of the right questions.

(Regular visitors to Vincentian Mindwalk will immediately understand why I am a fan of his and his always intriguing “guest” posters. He invites me to think.)

This Mindwalk is inspired by a number of posts from his blog “Leading with Questions”

God asked Adam and Eve “Where are you?”

Adam and Eve were hiding in the garden when God asked the first recorded question, “Where are you?”

Why did God ask? If God is all-knowing, God already knew where Adam and Eve were!

So, if God already knew where Adam and Eve were, why ask? Why didn’t God just tell Adam and Eve he knew where they were?

Could it have been for their benefit God asked the question? Could God have thought it was more important for Adam and Eve to think about what just happened? Could God have been “Leading with Questions” as Tiede is fond of repeating?

What was God really asking?

Sometimes when you are asked, “Where are you?” the one asking wants to know more than where you are physically.

Think of the dad who calls his son or daughter after curfew and asks, “Where are you?” He not only wants to know literally, “Where are you?”. More importantly, without saying so, he wants to know, “Why aren’t you home?” He hopes they will show some insight into the situation.

I think it might be obvious God is asking Adam and Eve to think about “Why are you hiding?” “Why are you hiding in this beautiful garden? “Why do you have to hide behind fig leaves? God is asking them how they see their relationship with God… and ‘why”

“Where am I?

Often when we are asked, “Where are you?” is not asking where you are physically, but “Where are you” in some deeper sense? Again, parents wonder what is going on in their child’s mind. Their hope is that question will wake them up.

Where are you in

  • your life?
  • your career?
  • your vocation – as a married person, parent, evangelizer of the poor and marginalized?
  • overcoming challenges you face?

Where are you

  • emotionally?
  • physically?
  • spiritually?

Two further questions

Which of your many questions is most important to you now?

Bob Tiede is fond of pointing out that it is more important to ask the right questions than have all the answers.

No less than the great genius Einstein said “When I have one week to solve a seemingly impossible problem, I spend six days defining the problem. Then, the solution becomes obvious.”

Who helps you ask the uncomfortable questions.

Many times we are too close to a situation to see what is obvious to another. Just think of the person who is looking for his or her glasses. Sometimes it takes another to point to the obvious… they are on the top of your head.

This is when we need to be attentive to questions we are asked by those who love us… and those who may not love us. Their questions can help us focus.

Which question is God asking you … and who will help you understand its importance?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk


1 Comment

  1. Sr. Mary Jo Stein, DC

    This is an excellent formation tool for us at every age! Thanks for sharing this reflection, Fr. John!