Summary: Nakedness is equated with sin in Scripture and Adam and Eve tried covering their nakedness with fig leaves. Do we do the same? And, if so, how successful can we be at doing that?
The true story is told of a banquet where a famous religious leader found himself seated next to an extremely beautiful woman who was wearing a gown with a perilously low neckline. He introduced himself to her… and then offered her an apple.
She was a little surprised, but he explained with a smile,
"Please do take it, Madame. It was only after Eve ate the apple that she became aware of how little she had on."
APPLY: Someone asked me recently:
Why was it, that after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, the first thing they noticed was that they were naked?
Weren’t they ALWAYS naked?
But before they ate of the tree they didn’t think about it.
They were innocent. Their hearts were pure.
Genesis 2:25 says “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame”
ILLUS: Have you ever noticed little children in the summer time? Sometimes they’ll strip off all their clothes and run naked across the yard. Have you ever seen them do that?
They’re not worried about being naked. They have no shame.
One commentator noted: “Two-year-old don’t see any difference between (their) face, (their) knees, and the parts of (their) body which we adults insist that (they) cover. Only adults feel that certain parts of the body must be covered. Because those parts are connected with physical lust and passions.”
(Chaya Sarah Silberberg, Chabad.org)
You see, before Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, their hearts were pure.
That same scholar noted:
“Their nakedness was innocent and in no way sinful.
They saw no difference between a hand, whose purpose was to do good deeds, a mouth with which one praises God and says kind words to others and the parts of the body which are used to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ With every organ they could fulfill the will of God or vice versa so no organ was shameful, nor did anything need to be covered.”
But once they ate of the fruit… that all changed.
Their hearts were now tainted with sinful thoughts they’d never have considered before.
Jesus said: “… out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:19
You see, there were NO evil thoughts inside them UNTIL they ate of the fruit.
But after they’d eaten, the knowledge they gained… shamed them.
And worse than that, their new-found knowledge separated them from God. The final punishment of God upon Adam and Eve was for them to leave His presence:
“(God) drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24 (ESV)
God kicked them out!!! He evicted them from their home.
But God didn’t completely turn His back on them.
Before God sent them away, He gave them a special gift.
“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
Now this is interesting for several reasons.
1st – Adam and Eve ALREADY had clothes.
What kind of clothes had Adam and Eve made for themselves? (fig leaves)
Genesis 3:7 tells us that “…they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
You know I’ve seen many different kinds of leaves, of various shapes and sizes, but I have yet to see any leaf that I’d feel very comfortable wearing out in public. And apparently, these leaves didn’t do much more for Adam and Eve.
When God comes walking in the Garden and they hide themselves. And when God calls out and asks Adam where he’s at, Adam replies:
"I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid BECAUSE I WAS NAKED; so I hid."
Think about that! Up until that moment they thought their fig leaves were doing the job. But suddenly the leaves leave them feeling naked. WHEN did Adam realize his fig leaves weren’t doing the job? (when God came visiting)
It was when Adam found himself in God’s presence that he began to realize his man-made coverings weren’t enough.
Nakedness has been the symbol of our sinfulness ever since the garden.
Whenever a person’s sins are discovered, we say they have been EXPOSED.
Jesus warns us not to be found “naked and exposed” when He comes again.
"Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."
Now, people understand this reality. They know their own nakedness… they know their own sin/shame personally. They’ll be blithely living their lives, working out in the garden, doing something in the house, or working down at the factory and suddenly it hits them out of the blue: a thought will overwhelm them reminding them of a something they’d said, done or thought in the past that brings a sudden wave of shame over their lives.