By Teena Myers
The first man and the first woman were nudist. If you find that statement offensive consider Genesis Chapters 1-2 paying particular attention to 2:25. God created the heavens and the earth. Then he created flying creatures to inhabit the sky, swimming creatures to inhabit the sea, cattle and creeping things to dwell on the land. On the sixth day, he created man to be the steward of planet earth, but he did not clothe the man, who he called Adam.
Apparently, God did not plan to be around 24/7 to keep the nude steward of his creation company. He created a woman as a suitable companion. Then he brought the nude woman to the nude man, and they were content to rule God’s creation in the buff.
Adam and Eve were not ashamed of being naked. They lived in a simpler time. God alone was their conscious. He told them what was good. He told them what was evil. At this point in humanities existence, God had taught them one evil and its consequences. If they eat from the tree of knowledge they will die. They were naked and unashamed because God had not yet taught them it’s shameful to be naked.
Adam and Eve where hanging out by the one item in the garden that could bring evil into their lives when the serpent joined them. Erase from your mind the image if a snake slithering into the garden on his belly and climbing up the tree of knowledge, so he could have an eye level conversation. God had not yet condemned the serpent to eat dust. This serpent had the ability to communicate with the stewards of creation and it is possible he stood upright.
The serpent had a problem with his creator (Gen 3:1). He also had an agenda; prove to the rulers of God’s creation that God is evil. Adam and Eve were little more than a means to an end. The serpent may have sensed a weakness in Eve, therefore he addressed her first. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen 3:1).
Eve proceeded to instruct the serpent on what God “really” said. “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die'” (Gen 3:2-3, emphasis added). God never told Adam and Eve they would die if they touched the fruit. Eve put her words in God’s mouth. Now you know humanities weakness and the definition of arrogance. We attempt to improve on what God has said and claim God himself said it.
The serpent responded to Eve’s explanation with a malicious accusation about God. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:4-5). In sum, the serpent said God is a liar. He has withheld something good from you.
God had already made Adam and Eve in his image and likeness. God rules the universe, and he gave Adam and Eve a planet to rule. God made humanity as much like himself as he could without bringing harm into their lives, and then gave them a choice about the attribute of a God that he withheld from them. The ability to know good and evil without anyone telling you what is evil. They were free to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge and become even more like God, but if they exercised their freedom, they would also bear the consequences – death.
Now Eve must decide who lied – God or the Serpent, the creator or his creation. If Eve had loved God, she would have believed the best of God and given him opportunity to defend himself before she condemned him as the liar. The serpent deceived Eve by appealing to something she desired – to be wise like God. In the end, it was her desire that deceived her not the serpent (James 1:14-15). The only way to fulfill her desire to be as wise as God was to believe God is a liar.
Why didn’t Adam stop her? He was standing next to her. He could have slapped the fruit out of her hand and demanded her to wait until God faced his accuser. Instead, he joined her. Their sin ran deeper than eating fruit God forbid them to eat. They failed to love the one who gave them authority over every good thing he had created.
Now, let us return to the naked issue. After they ate the forbidden fruit, neither one of them dropped dead, but God never said death would be immediate. The immediate result of acquiring the knowledge of good and evil was shame. Without anyone telling them Adam and Eve knew they were naked, and they were ashamed. Their effort to clothe their nakedness failed. When God looked for them, they were covered with leaves yet still hiding because they were ashamed of their nakedness.
Adam and Eve were not ashamed that they believed the worst of God. The blame game that followed proves it. God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen 3:11). Adam blamed his wife. Eve blamed the serpent. The serpent didn’t have anyone to blame. God didn’t let him speak. The serpent had already said enough.
God judged each guilty party beginning with the serpent. I wonder what judgments God would have decreed if Adam and Eve and admitted their sin rather than blame someone else. What would have happened if Adam had said, “What have I done? God, I have sinned against you. You entrusted to my care every good thing you created. I rewarded you by believing the worst of you. Please forgive me.” Would Eve have followed Adam’s example of repentance? Would the serpent be the only one suffering for his sin today?
We don’t know what God’s judgments would have been had they sincerely repented. We do know the serpent eats dust, women bring forth children in pain and men struggle to provide for their families. The serpent is exposed for the liar he is because everyone dies. We also know that God did not abandon his stewards. He promised a seed who would destroy the serpent’s wisdom and then an animal paid the price to cover Adam and Eve’s shame. God tossed the flimsy leaf clothing and covered them with leather (Gen. 3:21).
Did Adam and Eve ever repent for treating God with contempt? The Bible is silent on that point. We do know Adam and Eve taught their sons how to bring offerings to God. Therefore, it is possible their broken relationship with God was healed. Is yours?
Today, God covers us with a better sacrifice than shedding the blood of an animal. Jesus shed his blood that God might cover us with his righteous deeds. Yet, many continue to flee from God’s presence for the same reason Adam and Eve did. We don’t want him to see our shame. Hiding is futile. Trying to cover our nakedness with a patchwork of leaves is vain. “[T]here is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). If we come to God he will cover our shame and forgive us for our sins, but that is only half the battle. We must overcome our sin. We must stop believing the worst of God to justify the wrong we do. Then and only then will we find peace with our creator.