Thursday, January 31, 2019

God and Nakedness

"The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame" (Genesis 2:25).

It may seem strange to us that Adam and Eve were not ashamed of their nakedness. This statement needs to be understood with what follows in Genesis 3, where we read that after they sinned against God, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked” (v. 7). Consider for a minute what this verse does not say. It does not say that their eyes were opened and they realized they had sinned. Rather, the first change in their psychology was the overwhelming realization of their nakedness, and their first impulse was to cover themselves.

When God asked Adam why he was hiding, Adam said it was because he was naked (v. 10). But he had been naked when God spoke with him before. What was different now? Adam was sinful and no longer comfortable being naked in God’s presence. A deep psychological connection exists between nakedness and shame.

Two things stand out in this passage. The first is that all of us have a deep need to find a place of security where we can be naked without shame. We long for a place where we can bare our souls to someone. We need to have a close relationship with a spouse with whom we can be naked in more than one sense of the term. Here is the Good News of the Gospel: in Jesus Christ, we are able to draw near to God, opening our hearts to Him without fear and shame.

Second, God permits us to cover ourselves. He made clothes for Adam and Eve because He recognized that we do not want to expose ourselves. Sin’s continuing reign on earth requires that we cover ourselves physically, spiritually, and psychology. The “let it all hang out” attitude that was popular in the 1960s and 1970s has no foundation in biblical Christianity. Other people are untrustworthy, and if you bare your soul to another sinner, be prepared to pay the consequences. There are only a few people with whom we dare become intimate enough to bare our souls, and the Bible forbids us to join in one flesh with anyone except our spouses.

Since the 1970s it seems that most “serious” motion pictures must have at least token nudity. Other avenues of artistic expression are increasingly more brazen in their flaunting of nudity. Think about whether such “artistic” nudity actually is a form of active rebellion against God—an attempt to lose our shame and guilt by searing the conscience. Evaluate your own exposure to such expression and ask God to reveal any struggle you may have with it.