“God saw all that He had made, and it was good” (Genesis 1:31) and He enjoyed what He had created and blessed it. In this state of creation both “Adam and his wife Eve were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). Adam was there before Eve came about to be ‘his companion’ and after initial introductory exchange of Genesis 2:23-24, Adam would have explained the laid down rules for the Garden. Eve was thus well aware of the rules, though certain amount of corruption in second hand communication of God’s commands may have taken place. The intriguing question is about the need for her to listen to and communicate with ‘the serpent’- why did she?
The Hebrew word translated serpent is ‘nachash’ in its root form is translated as ‘the shining one’. In Numbers 21 when the wandering Israelites were plagued by snake bite, Moses was directed by God to make a fiery serpent and mount it on a pole. The serpent was a shining one made of brass believed to represent the Lord Jesus, the light of the world, crucified on the cross. Apostle Paul mentions nachash, who deceived Eve as “Satan himself transforms himself in to an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:3, 14). The nachash that attracted Eve to make conversation was firstly, not some inferior being but something/someone fascinating enough. Secondly, it had knowledge of the Word/ directions of God and thirdly it had extraordinary intelligence to distort these commands to deceive. Satan is described with certain superlatives in the book of Exekiel chapter 28 as ‘perfect in beauty’ (Verse 12) and ‘was in Eden, the garden of God’ (verse 13) and through to verse 17.
It is evident that the serpent was the shining one- Satan, since his heart was lifted up and he corrupted his wisdom by the reason of his brightness. Eve could thus have been attracted to approach and converse with not a snake but an angel of light or the shining one or an angelic being with great knowledge. A serpent does not eat dust and the curse of God was on Satan to further push him down to under the earth in hell/Hades in perpetual disgrace before other angels and heavenly beings.
What does ‘naked’ imply? The effect of the same physical state is drastically different in Genesis 2 and 3; in the first case there is no shame involved while in the second there is shame, a futile attempt to hide from El Shaddai and even self efforts to cover the shameful condition. The word ‘naked’ has been used in the Bible in various places with different connotations and the same Hebrew word is used with diverse meanings :
- ‘Arom’ implying a state without any sense of shame attached to it and is a factual position. It is used in Genesis 2:25 for Adam and Eve; 1 Samuel 19:24 for King Saul prophesying among the prophets; Ecclesiastes 5:15 while describing the birth and death of man- naked a man comes; Job 1:21after the news of loss of children and possessions is received- Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart and in a similar manner by the Prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Micah and Amos.
- Erom used to reflect a sense of poverty and lack of protection and this is the state of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:10; Israelites being warned of curses on them “therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you in Deuteronomy 28:48.
- Arah most importantly used about the Lord, in the sense of being naked or bare like emptying out, exposure, being made vulnerable or uncovered, about ‘pouring out His soul’ Isaiah 53:12. Psalm 141:8 lists a cry “do not leave my soul destitute” and in like manner in other places.
- Ervah to depict being naked in a disgraceful/ shameful manner like Noah’s state after getting drunk Genesis 9:21; repeated usage in Leviticus 18 to prohibit sexual relations with near relatives.
- Eryah used by Ezekiel 16:6-8 depicting nakedness through ignorance as of a child or carelessness that needs to be covered.
The condition of Adam and Eve was of those devoid of protection, a sense of spiritual poverty and helplessness brought about by their own acts of “attempting to be equal to God” thus giving up dependence on Him to manage through personal efforts alone. The sinful act of disobedience caused their being pushed out of the ‘hedge of protection’ available from God in His presence, denial of bounties available through grace of God and empowerment due to God’s hand being on them. God just yet loves also and His Divine act of looking for them despite having known of their sin, He being the All Knowing Omnipresent God, was to seek confession and repentance to forgive them. They were created in a glorious state and though they became ‘wise’, they lost their original position.
Their first act was to hide from God and cover their shame with tree leaves through self efforts. The merciful God sacrificed animals as atonement for their sins and provided the animal skins to them to ‘cover their shame’. The glory having gone they used the animal skins to cover themselves rather than their shameful state. This new covering not only covered the original human state they were born in but also covered their conscience, mind and heart to fill them with animal instincts, emotions and thoughts drawing them away from their inheritance in the Lord God. The resultant transformation of man caused him to shift from the ‘light and abundance into darkness and void/ emptiness. This resulted in them and mankind through them being exposed to various debilitating conditions with animal instincts and desires.
King to laborer– God had made man to rule the earth as His representative and have dominion over everything on, under and above the earth in the sky. Adam and Eve were set up as caretakers in the Garden of Eden where every animal, bird, fish or tree was to reproduce itself without their efforts and they and their future generations were blessed to enjoy as ‘caretakers’ of the place. His destiny changed with the curse to get food from the earth with painful toil and sweat and to reap thorns and thistles with the good crop. The ruler was expelled from the Garden with no chance of entry except through Divine mercy.
Partner to competitor– God created Eve to be a companion to Adam and the two ‘became one’ through personal union and bonding. In the changed state the same Eve was blamed by Adam to be the cause of his fall and the protector became accuser by default. The woman was cursed and the relationship was to become troublesome forever and the NLT Bible clearly spells it out “You will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). God had created both sexes equal ‘in His image and likeness’ but sin brought in competition between the two and harmony in relationship got compromised. A woman has to make an effort to be otherwise, despite the restoration of the situation by the Lord in the New Testament.
Protection withdrawn- Satan had no control over man before this and by submitting to his lies and allurement, man subjugated himself to this new master. From a ‘light yoke’ a heavier burden was exchanged and after being pushed out of Eden, the Divine protection was not available to only the chosen ones, considered righteous to some degree. The resultant state left man to be:
- Physically weak and susceptible to diseases and death through various plagues affecting him. The Tree of Life was now out of bounds and sickness prevailed causing pain and untimely death.
- Spiritual death resulted with the human spirit becoming quiet and suppressed with no illumination to guide since the ruling prince of the world “has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes; lest they should understand with their hearts and turn” (John 12:40). The same position is stated by Apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians in 4:4. Sin not only pushed man into darkness but also barred him from getting access to light of God’s Word. With blindness of the heart and mind, whatever communication was initiated by God through His prophets was neither understood nor accepted.
- Social strife due to demonic control with animalistic behavior patterns causing inter-personal disputes within families and with others.
This sinful state would have continued till eternity but for the merciful effort of God to redeem His creation from the clutches of Satan to reestablish the broken relationship. For this God put on the skin of man to come and live with us as ‘Immanuel’ and die for and in our sin. Jesus died for our sin and paid the full penalty to meet the just demands of the Law to redeem us from the clutches of Satan. He died in our sin on our behalf to enable us to enjoy the fruits of His resurrection and ascension to come before God having been washed spotless with His sacrificial blood offering on the cross.
The words used in describing the state of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 have been accepted to mean ‘wise’ by some scholars thus implying that they became wise in their own eyes and that there was no shame involved in this. Rather that they did not remain in that state of glory and wisdom due to the guile of nachash- the serpent. But this view appears to be misplaced in view of the usage of the same words in other places in the scriptures.
“Adam, where are you?” is the question that must haunt most of us in our present state for we still try to remain hidden from the searching eyes of the Lord. The Cherub placed to guard the approach to the ‘Tree of Life’ also has a ‘flaming two edged sword’ to deny the advance of a man in his sinful state to partake of its fruit. One edge of the sword has been blunted by the Lord Jesus by His sacrifice on the cross while the other edge requires our stepping out in faith to approach Him to get eternal life. There was and is no compulsion on anyone to eat the fruit of this life giving tree and it is a free will offering. The question desires a clear contemplation by us to assess our position vis-à-vis God; how far or how near to Him are we. The ‘Good Shepherd’ laid down His life for His sheep and is looking for the one lost to bring it back to His fold but we need to recognize His voice and come out from hiding.
Lord Jesus put on the skin of man to help us get out of the sinful skin of animals and has provided us with a mirror depicting the holiness of God on one side while providing us with an opportunity to change into the new look with guidance from the indwelling God. Apostle Paul goads us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts”. He cautions us that “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the words of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:14, 12). Like Adam we are not to be afraid of approaching God for the Lord has opened the gates for us and He has the keys with Him. The only need is for us to come to His throne of grace in confidence and faith and be clothed with His righteousness to cover our nakedness and shame.
He comes knocking at the door to bless us with His splendid robe of purity, peace and abundant life and fill us with heavenly Manna to nourish our impoverished souls. The need is only to step forward and say, “Here I am, Lord Jesus”.
Are you ready to get adorned and step into the new and eternal state of glory!!