In the Beginning Was the Word in Eden

Word Made FleshAnd 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.  Genesis 3:8 (ESV)

When reading this verse in English it seems only natural to interpret the passage as Adam and Eve hearing the sound created by the LORD walking in the garden.  However, the Hebrew allows for a far different and more profound conclusion.  This is that Adam and Eve heard the sound itself walking in the garden.  The English above actually allows for this understanding as well if the verse is read carefully and without jumping to conclusions (albeit natural ones).  The interpretation of the walking sound (or word, voice, etc.) is so old that it is likely to be the original.  Consider the targum translation of Genesis 3:8:

And they heard the sound of the Word of the LORD God walking in the midst of the garden…

Targumim (singular targum) are Aramaic translations of Hebrew verses.  By their nature the targumim are expository paraphrases that were intended to teach the audience truths or nuances that would otherwise be missed by the layman.  In the case of Genesis 3:8 the word word was added.  This was done to make it clear that it was the sound or Word that was heard walking and not the sound made by the LORD walking.  The Aramaic for word in this verse is מימרא or memra.

Memra is the Aramaic equivalent of λόγος or logos in the Greek.  The apostle John famously identifies the Logos as Jesus in John 1:1 and 1:14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Surely the Word of the LORD God in Genesis 3:8 is the same as the Word that was with God and was God.  Therefore, it was a preincarnate Jesus that Adam and Eve heard walking in Eden.  With this understanding in mind many other verses can be more greatly appreciated.  Suggested verses to start with include Ps. 33:6; 56:4; 107:19-20; 119; 147:15-18; and Is. 55:10-11.

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