Monday, August 13, 2007

Genesis 3:7-8: lost intimacy with God

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they’re eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked. They immediately made clothes to cover their nudity.

Clothes conceal our private body parts and our physical imperfections. They also protect us from the heat and cold. Adam and Eve know that something has changed in the universe, and they prepare themselves against the coming changes by getting dressed. It is also a great symbol of our flawed attempts to cover our sin. Adam and Eve become very concerned with being naked – but the problem wasn’t their nudity. It was that they’d eaten of the forbidden tree. Don’t we often do the same thing? Our sin may be wanting to usurp God’s throne or to worship creation rather than the Creator, and our self-fashioned remedy will be to say we’ll pray more or memorize more Bible verses or do more of this or less of that not go to that place again or not do that thing again.

Also, this shows another typical reaction to sin: hiding. Often, our first reaction to our sin is not to repent, but to conceal the sin. Our first concern is not always that we have sinned, but that we’ll get caught and punished. It is almost comical how Adam and Eve go about this: sewing fig aprons seems certain to draw attention to their sin rather than to conceal it. But this too is an accurate depiction of human nature – we often give ourselves away as we stumble about in our sin, like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment. Perhaps this is because Man is not meant to lie, and thus looks unnatural and unhappy doing it, just as many sins give themselves away by the misery they create.

Why is their nudity a source of shame? It does not appear that their physical appearance has changed – they haven’t grown scales. Instead, it’s something about what they already were – naked – but had not previously known. Nakedness is a state of vulnerability, intimacy, trust, and safety. However, Man can no longer feel safe with God because of his disobedience. Man, with the serpent’s help, has inserted a distance between himself and God. And we continue to feel this today, that things between us and God are problematic due to who He is and who we are and the things we’ve done.


jose said...

Nice observation about fig leaves being a feeble attempt to conceal their shame, having the opposite effect.

Have you ever heard the notion that Adam and Eve perfectly reflected the glory of God, in effect being clothed in his glory. When they sinned, they lost this and were naked.

Kenny said...

That's really interesting, re 'being clothed in his glory.' I could see that being true, but I've never heard it before.

I guess, on second thought, I do recall the text pointing out they were naked, when if it had wanted to it could have pointed out they were clothed in God's glory.