I wanted to start this particular piece by considering the heart and mind of little child. It is well known that little children are notorious for jumping through public fountains, shedding their cloths, and running around naked, especially in the warm weather of summer (not through this bone breaking cold we were exposed to over this winter). But there is no argument here that this type of behaviour is done with total innocence. In fact the two year old, to an extent, cannot comprehend the physiological difference between his elbows, knees, face and the other parts, which us adults insist that the child covers. Only adults feel that certain parts of the body should not be exposed. This guiltlessness and blamelessness of the young pure hearted is paralleled through the characters of Adam and Eve, prior to the fall. In fact prior to their sin, they had never actually internalised any type of evil or lustful inclination.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:7 NKJV
In utter shame, and for the first time, they covered themselves and very foolishly they tried to hide from God in the garden they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.” For the first time, they would feel that their hearts were heavy, they would almost feel burdened, their emotions mixed. What had changed?
Firstly the serpent promised Eve new eyes to see what God sees. Adam and Eve definitely without a moment to spare, were exposed to a new perspective but it was most definitely not God’s perspective. The serpent taught them to doubt God’s goodness; to see convoluted hidden agendas beneath the straightforward commands God gave their happiness. The serpent taught them, in short, to find misery where God had intended only goodness for them. No longer comfortable in their own skin, Adam and Eve hid from God. They believed that the shame they were experiencing must reflect God’s true view of them. The serpent, after all, had told them that eating the forbidden fruit would open their eyes. The terrible irony is that the serpent actually took away the very thing he promised to give.Since that day in the garden, our perspective has been skewed.
We find it very hard to believe what may be the simplest, most fundamental truth of all: God loves us, and he wants what is best for us.
The second fundamental point to address here is that, when Adam and Eve had ‘willingly’ eaten of the tree of knowledge, there was no longer the requirement of an external tempter, as the tempter now resided within their hearts and minds, taking control. The evil inclination became a part of them.
Adam and Eve are most certainly held responsible for their choices, because like every human, we are all given free will and the choice to do right and wrong. But the urge to do evil, to become self reliant, and to disobey, did not come from within. The serpent – the external tempter, was the cause of that “urge”. Since, they were “good” by nature, their nakedness was in no way sinful and was infact utterly innocent. Furthermore, they could not differ between the mouth that shows gratitude to the creator, the hands that tended to the garden, and the other body parts, which are used to “be fruitful and multiply”, so no organ was shameful and nothing was required to be covered. It was only until post fall, that it was inappropriate for them to be unclothed, the eyes of the both of them were opened, and now they became aware of physical lust, and their sexual passions almost became instantly misused.
The third point I would like to mention, is the realization that God is so tenderhearted and that He loves us so much, he was looking out for us from the beginning. Without a doubt, after the fall, humanity becomes lost, and it doesn’t stop there, man continues to get lost.
When I first dwelt on the idea of Adam’s spiritual disorientation, I was mistaken to think that the fallen Adam was initially looking for God, when in fact it was the exact opposite of this. If we consider the laws of inertia for all you science lovers, when mankind fell through because of the sin of Adam and Eve, a type of spiritual inertia had occurred, there was a forced that kept Adam moving in the same direction, moving in a direction away from God, this is what is meant when defining Adam as being lost. And being lost, he had no power of himself to reverse the moment and the force pushing him further away from God. God primarily would have to take the initiative, and seek out man, if humanity had any chance of returning to the Creator.
This is very clear and literal in this particular biblical story. All the heirs of Adam after the fall, including us all, would still be hiding in the bushes, escaping the reality in our shame, if God had not sought us out and said, “Where are you?”
And this question precisely was intended to shake Adam to the real situation at hand. It was by the merciful word, the true word of the Gospel, that initiated the reverse of man’s direction and existence at that point, and in the long run, it was the first step towards the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Also as mentioned by the church fathers, God was so merciful at this point; that God understood and acknowledged the mistake man had made, and in fact promptly provided a covering for man’s nakedness. This was the initial step toward man’s final and glorified clothing, which is “to put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14) as explained by St Paul.
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Adam and Eve failed to anticipate what was to come, which is the downfall of many people even today. They didn’t see the big picture and were apparently oblivious regarding all that was at stake – The paradise, living eternally with God. Had they obeyed, God would have provided all the knowledge they ever needed, when they needed it. Instead, their failure of focused faithfulness to God cost them everything, and brought sin and death into the world.
Thankfully, God had a plan to restore to mankind all Adam lost through the righteous sacrifice of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.
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SAYG ~ Michael Soliman.