The first three chapters of Genesis recounts the events which took place during the creation of the heavens and the earth, including the creation of man and their subsequent fall from glory. In Genesis chapter 2 verse 7, “God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being”.
From this man (Adam), he created the woman (Eve), and both were given the task to manage the earth and its resources. In Genesis chapter 2 verse 25, we learnt that both the man and his wife were naked and unashamed.
At first glance, we could interpret this scripture to mean they were physically naked and unashamed; however, a more careful examination would provide us with profound insights into their pre-fall attributes and great perspectives about the extent of their fall.
Let's examine the keywords in this scripture: naked and unashamed. The word naked in the text is synonymous with the words uncovered and unguarded. The word uncovered means to be visible; not hidden from sight or knowledge. When we choose to leave something uncovered, we do it with the assurance that it will be safe from harm or damage.
A similar thought goes behind the act of leaving something unguarded—the word unguarded means to be without protection or guard. Now let’s examine the word unashamed. Unashamed means to act openly without guilt or embarrassment. The scripture says both the woman and the man were naked and unashamed; in other words, they were both uncovered and unguarded and were not embarrassed about it.
The word uncovered suggests they were true to themselves and authentic in their portrayal of self. Unguarded suggests they had no walls up, nor were they defensive and unashamed suggests they had no guilt or fear of being themselves.
From this, we can infer that both individuals knew their identity, were secure in their identity and did not fear how the other perceived them. Overall, it would seem they were all together complete—being secure in themselves and their relationship, dwelling in the presence of God, having an abundance of provision, knowing their assignments (purpose) and functioning effectively in them.
One word that could describe their existence is the word whole—meaning they were complete, with no part missing from their lives.
All this changed, however, in Genesis chapter 3 when the serpent beguiled the woman to eat of "the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil and blessing and calamity” (Genesis chapter 3 verses 1-6 AMP), which God had forbidden them to eat from. After eating the fruit and giving some to her husband, Genesis chapter 3 verse 7 says “... the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apronlike girdles”.
But the question is, which eyes were opened and why couldn't they see their nakedness before?
Eyes symbolise the ability to see, perceive or to know. When one's eyes are shut to a matter, it means that one is ignorant of or unable to perceive it. The opposite is true when one’s eyes are open. The fruit they ate was from the tree of the knowledge of the difference between good and evil and calamity and blessing.
This suggests that before they ate of the tree, they could neither perceive evil nor calamity, more specifically the evil within themselves and their proneness to calamity. In my opinion, the opening of their eyes to their nakedness was symbolic of them becoming aware of their carnality.
The word carnal in the greek is sarx, and it means of the flesh; the sensuous nature of man. God created man with a body (flesh), a soul and a spirit. The flesh which is the physical body has a nature which is described in details in Galatians chapter 5 verses 19-21.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…” Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV)
The soul of the man represents his mind, will and emotions, and the spirit is the life force of God in him and gives him the ability to access the spirit realm. Like the flesh, the spirit has a nature. This nature, described in Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control...” is directly opposite to the flesh, which, according to Paul, wage war against each other within the man. It would appear that before the fall, his constancy in the presence of God, caused the subjection of his flesh, to the point where he was unconscious of it—allowing his soul to thrive in righteousness.
But when he partook of the fruit and was conscious of his carnality, being separated from God, he was unable to master it—which according to Genesis chapter 4 verse 7, must be mastered, else one would be mastered by it.
“...sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7 NIV)
The carnal nature can be summed up in three (3) words: wicked, fallible and weak. The nature of the words wicked and weak are almost diametrically opposite as the word wicked suggests an ability to harm, while weak indicates the ability to be harmed. The result is that man was both victim and villain all in one—turbulent in nature, deserving of both wrath and mercy.
As he grew in knowledge of his weaknesses and wickedness, he became increasingly insecure and fearful of the judgement of others. This broken view of himself led to a breakdown of the human relationship when he began to suspect and fear the same nature within others.
As descendants of Adam and Eve, we all have inherited a broken view of ourselves and of others. And like them, who sought to cover their nakedness, we too have covered ourselves in numerous ways, to safeguard ourselves from the judgement of others and to counter our own perceived weaknesses.
Examples of things we use to cover ourselves are, wealth, associations, accomplishments, education, physical attributes, talents, anointings and gifts. Our brokenness has not only affected our human relationships but far more significant; it has affected our relationship with God. Like our ancestors who hid from the voice of God in the garden, many of us continue to hide from God.
Kerron P. Young is a Kingdom Empowerment Ambassador, who is passionate about seeing individuals find and walk in their God-ordained purpose. She is a mentor, singer and songwriter, an aspiring book writer, praise and worship leader at her local church and founder of Empowered for Purpose Jamaica an organisation dedicated to empowering youths to pursue their God-ordained purpose.