This past Shabbos Rabbi Menachem Leibtag gave the Sicha in Gush. He made a fascinating textual point about last week’s Parsha.
When God seeks Adam in Gan Eden after the sin, he asks “איכה”.
בראשית פרק ג
(ט) וַיִּקְרָא יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהִים אֶל הָאָדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אַיֶּכָּה:
R. Liebtag noted that there are two words that mean “where?” The first is איה and the second is איפה. However, they have different connotations. איפה is used when you want to know someone’s location. For example, when Yosef is looking for his brothers, he says
בראשית פרק לז
(טז) וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת אַחַי אָנֹכִי מְבַקֵּשׁ הַגִּידָה נָּא לִי אֵיפֹה הֵם רֹעִים:
איה is used when the question is “why isn’t that person or thing here?.” For example, when Yitzchak notices that there is no sheep, despite the fact that they are going to bring one as a korban, he says
בראשית פרק כב
(ז) וַיֹּאמֶר יִצְחָק אֶל אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּנִּי בְנִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה הָאֵשׁ וְהָעֵצִים וְאַיֵּה הַשֶּׂה לְעֹלָה:
The absence of the sheep is conspicuous.
Similarly, when we say that we don’t want the nations to say איה נא אלוקיהם, we mean that we don’t want the nations to note a seeming absence of God.
With that as a background, he noted that God’s question was really, “why aren’t you here?” The story is about Adam’s loss of relationship with God, and the mending of it. Man is absent from God’s presence, so God re-initiates a conversation. The relationship begins to be mended, as is evident when God removes man’s shame by clothing him. Man should never be lacking from God’s presence – and the story of Gan Eden is a story of man’s distancing himself from God and the attempt to remove that distance.
 As a side note, I would add that Chazal seemed to have picked up on this linguistic cue in another context. When the angels come to Avraham as pagans, they ask
בראשית פרק יח
(ט) וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו אַיֵּה שָׂרָה אִשְׁתֶּךָ וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה בָאֹהֶל:
Rather than seeing this as a simple answer of where she was, Chazal provide an explanation for why she was absent:
תלמוד בבלי מסכת בבא מציעא דף פז עמוד א
+בראשית יח+ ויאמרו אליו איה שרה אשתך ויאמר הנה באהל – להודיע ששרה אמנו צנועה היתה.