Terrorized by a Leaf

Genesis 3:8

“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.”

Luther’s Commentary
“My mind is that we should receive breathing (spiritum) here, as simply signifying “the Word,” and understand the passage as meaning that after the conscience of Adam and Eve were convinced by the divine law, they were terrified at the sound of a leaf. Just as we see to be the case with all fearstricken men, when they hear the creak of a beam, they dread the fall of the whole house. When they hear a mouse moving they are terrified lest Satan should be at hand with an intent to destroy them. For by nature we are so wholly filled with alarm, that we really fear even those things which are perfectly safe. Adam and Eve therefore, as soon as their consciences are convinced by the law and they are brought to feel their depravity in the sight of God, and of themselves having lost their faith and confidence in God, are so filled with fear and alarm that when they hear a breeze or breath of wind, immediately imagine that God is at hand as an avenger, and hide themselves from him.” 
“When Adam and Eve heard the rustling of the leaves as if shaken by the wind, they thought on a sudden within themselves, Hark, there is the Lord coming to take vengeance upon us! This terror therefore, with which Adam and Eve after their sin were struck in the very broad light of day, is indeed a manifest proof that they had fallen utterly from the confidence of faith. This I believe to be the true sense of the present passage, and it fully agrees with that threatening of Moses, Lev. 26., where he is speaking of the punishments which should assuredly follow the commission of sin, that the sinners should be chased by the sound of a shaking leaf and that they should flee from it as from a sword, Lev. 26:36.”
“Here therefore you have another sight of the magnitude of that original stn which is born in us at our birth, and implanted in us by the sin of our first parents. And this sight, as I have said, enables us to understand negatively or by a comparison of contraries, what original righteousness was. It contained in it such a beautiful confidence in man toward his God, that he could not have feared even though he had seen the heavens falling in ruins upon his head!” 
“Before their sin therefore Adam and Eve sought no hiding-places; but stood upright in all their created wisdom and righteousness, praising God with uplifted eyes. But now they are terrified at the sound of a shaking leaf. O! how awful a fall. To fall from the safest security and delight in God into fear and dread so horrible, that man can no longer endure the sight of his God, but flees from his presence as from the presence of the devil! For it is not the devil from whom Adam and Eve are now fleeing. They are rushing from the sight of God their Creator, whose presence is now more dreadful and intolerable to them than that of Satan; Satan is now more congenial to their feelings than the adorable God; for from Satan they flee not, nor are filled with his dread. This dread therefore, is actually a flight from and a hatred of God himself.”
Martin Luther. Luther on the Creation: A Critical and Devotional Commentary on Genesis [1-3] (Kindle Locations 4942-4983).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s