From the very beginning, we have been trying to remedy our spiritual nakedness with physical solutions, which no matter how creative and “symbolic” – will always be inadequate.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
When God created Adam and Eve, He filled them with His “breath of life” (Gen 2:7), created them in His own image (Gen 1:27). So then they carried His Holy Spirit literally, and therefore did not need redemption since there was no sin on earth.
I’ve always read these early passages in Genesis with a western lens. I was thinking about Adam and Eve’s nakedness, and asking – why did they hide from God after the fall? My answer had always been, they hid because they were naked… duh!
Then I thought about the indigenous tribes still littered all around the world today. Despite all man’s “advancements”, these pockets of communities still choose to wear little or no clothing, without any shame. So in some cultures physical nakedness doesn’t necessarily equate to shame. Genesis 2:25 reads “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed”. So Adam and Eve were aware of their nakedness. But after sin, their nakedness brought them shame, before the One who created them.
Could it be that Adam and Eve’s nakedness wasn’t just physical?
Could it be, after the fall, for the first time Adam and Eve became conscious/aware of their spiritual poverty. God’s covering of holiness had been removed after they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Now they knew good, but they also knew evil.
For the first time, they were spiritually naked, exposed and confronted by their sinful humanity.
God is holy in His very nature, He embodies holiness, He is the definition of holy. His free fellowship with Adam and Eve was because they were made in His image. So they were able to communed together, in unlimited intimacy because they carried His Spirit and were sanctified by Him. (It’s the reason why today when we are born again by His Spirit, we can grow in intimacy with God).
But after eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that covering of holiness – the constant indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit departed from them, and they became spiritually naked.
Then the eyes of the two of them were opened [that is, their awareness increased], and they knew that they were naked; and they fastened fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Genesis 3:7 (AMP)
They quickly discovered that their new state of spiritual vulnerability needed a remedy. Just like in the world today. We have journeyed through the age of enlightenment, the information age and now we are in the digital age where knowledge is at our finger tips – literally. We know so much, but to know doesn’t mean we can cure. So they sought their own inadequate “fix” of fig leaves – a physical cure for a spiritual problem, just as we still make attempts to do today. From the very beginning, we have been trying to remedy our spiritual nakedness with physical solutions, which no matter how creative and “symbolic” – will always be inadequate.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
But the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten [fruit] from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Genesis 3:8-11 (AMP)
In the old testament only the appointed High priest could enter the Holy of Holies, within the tabernacle – once a year on the day of atonement. They would have to sanctify themselves in preparation, because if the priest was not as “sanctified” as he thought, he was in no position to appear before God to make appeal on behalf of the children of Israel and he would die. The presence of God’s holiness would not condone even the High priest’s sin. See
So Adam and Eve hid from God’s holy presence. Because indeed as God said, the day you eat of the tree you shall surely die (Gen 2:16-17). Man could not be in God’s presence again as in Eden. The nature of sin made it impossible for them to remain where God’s presence freely visited.
Think about a new born baby. Pure, innocent, but as he or she grows, that childlike innocence is relinquished to human lusts – and suddenly we “see”, but our seeing only condemns us the more.
But the beauty for God’s love for us is that Just as God came looking for Adam and Eve in the garden – He has never stopped pursuing that restored communion and friendship with us.
Thank God Almighty for Jesus Christ the great Redeemer, who is able to purge our sins and stand as our righteousness before God.
We all share that same spiritual nakedness with Adam and Eve, and the desire to be covered; but only God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ, can adequately clothe us again.
To quote the chorus from a song which gets me excited everytime I hear it.
“Only Christ can truly satisfy”.