“The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” [Gen 2:25]
Sin introduces a multitude of problems. The right relationships Eve had with God and with her husband were grossly perverted the second she took a bite of the forbidden fruit. I constantly, along with the rest of humanity, wonder “Why on earth did she take a bite?”
But honestly, I think I would have done the same. She believed the age-old lie: that God is withholding something better. She doubted that the garden God had given her was truly his best. That resonates with me, too. I question God when he withholds something from me. And I usually get a little help in that questioning process.
“The woman said to the serpent ‘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.’
‘You will not surely die,’ said the serpent. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it too.” [Genesis 3:6-7]
Sometimes I wonder exactly why God withheld that tree, why he made it the only one that they couldn’t touch. So I decided to dig a little bit.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” [Genesis 2:16-17]
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the only tree that God prohibited. Some say that God gave them boundaries because he wanted to teach them how to obey. Other say God forbid them this tree because he wanted to test their obedience.
But I think it was because He wanted to teach us to pursue Him, not the knowledge of Him.
As the man and woman recognized their disobedience, they simultaneously realized their nakedness. As soon as they tasted the fruit, they realized they were sinful. And they felt shame. So they covered up their nakedness. And in turn, they covered up their shame. And they hid from God, from the creator of all things. Their shame caused them to hide.
And then God asks one of my favorite questions in all of Scripture.
“Who told you that you were naked?” [Genesis 3:11]
When the man and woman tasted the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, it was revealed to them that they were naked. And God rhetorically asks them – in order to show us sin’s power – how they knew they were naked.
We can read about God all day long. We can learn about good and evil by reading the facts in the Bible, or listening to sermons where someone else tells us what God has deemed morally right.
But that’s not what God wants.
He wants your heart.
God wants us to draw nearer and nearer to him, and in turn be stirred toward righteousness. He wants the intimacy of our relationship with him be what makes us recognize our own sin, our own shame, our own nakedness.
We can pursue the knowledge of him all day long, and discover what is good and what is evil.
But I think he wants us to find out from a closer vantage point; his heart. And the way to his heart is through relationship with Jesus based on him dying for our nakedness.
As we are sanctified and become more and more like Jesus, we are stirred toward good, and we are compelled to hate evil.
The evil one wants us to believe that God has withheld something better.
And the evil one wants us to be reminded of our nakedness over and over again.
But God’s redeeming truth is so, so different.
Jesus died so that I wouldn’t have to hide anymore.
Jesus died so that I would no longer feel shame in my nakedness, knowing that it is by GRACE that I have been SAVED, through FAITH.
Jesus died to give me an opportunity to be closely knit to God’s heart.
So let’s stop hiding.