Monday, January 8, 2018


Having eaten the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, you would think that the knowledge of evil would expose to them the serpent's tricks. But, in fact, what actually happens is that Adam and Eve come to know part of God's good creation as evil.

They are naked.

Now, Adam and Eve have always been unclothed, and we know that when God had finished creating the world, He declared that it was "very good." Which means that an unclothed Adam and Eve were also "very good." Which means that the state of being unclothed must be "very good." (Don't go off down a rabbit trail here.)

Adam and Eve could not have known that they were unclothed. What in all of creation is naturally clothed? What is naturally covered? Nothing at all. When they looked at the flowers, there stood its fertility, as well, right there for all to see. When they looked at the animals, there were their reproductive bits, all out in the open. When they looked at themselves, they saw the same things. There is nothing in nature that is concealed; God created the world in open beauty. 

And this is very good.

But then they eat a bite of fruit and listen to the serpent's whisper, and all of a sudden, they are not merely unclothed; they are naked. And they are ashamed.

Something fundamentally different has happened here. Something fundamentally perverse. For it would not be enough, in an exposed and open world, for the serpent to simply have pointed and laughed, as if he were some bully in a middle school locker room. Exposure and openness were all that Adam and Eve had ever known; they knew it as good. They looked around them and saw what they saw of their own selves reflected again and again and again in all creation. 

No, what's under attack from the serpent is not Adam and Eve's exposure. It's their egos. 

God had given Adam and Eve this incredible instruction that He had not given to anything else in all creation. He had given them power and authority and being above all else that was in the world. He has elevated them to a certain status, a status that even permitted them to walk with Him in the Garden. From the very beginning, God had made clear to man and to woman how uniquely special they were. 

What the serpent whispers is not, "You're naked," as Adam has interpreted it just before diving into a bush. What the serpent whispers is, "You're just a creature." You're nothing special. You are just as all of the other created beings in all the world. Look at them - look how much you share in common with them. Look how exposed they all are, how they must live out in the open. You, too, are exposed. You're exposed! 

You are not, after all, special. 

And all of a sudden, what Adam and Eve feel is not the wind against their most intimate parts, but a betrayal in the very depths of their beings. God had told them they were better than all this, that they were above it all, but they are not; they are just as exposed, just as open, just as unclothed as the rest of all creation. 

Only, in the shadow of their own dignity, they are able to feel a shame that the rest of creation does not feel. Unclothed now becomes naked.

So they dive into the bushes and start to knit themselves cover, becoming unlike anything else in all of creation. And God Himself comes walking through in the cool of the day and finds them, and He grieves. 

He grieves not because Adam and Eve have determined to cover themselves, although that is part of it. He grieves because they have so easily adopted a different value system for themselves. He has told them from the very beginning how deeply He loves them, how much He treasures them, how firmly He holds them to something higher than all the rest of creation. Yet, here they are, convinced of nothing more in the entire world than their own nakedness. 

He has lost them, not to the fig leaves but to a false narrative. 

And from a broken heart, He weeps, Who told you that you were naked?

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