How Nakedness Affected the Fall

God Made Nudity and Sex to be Exhilarating

God made nudity, and God made sex. The One true and living God purposed that sex and nudity would drip with captivating passion (Prov. 5:18-19). God so fashioned a curvaceous woman that the mere sight of her caused the man to erupt in a poem cram-packed with excitement and anticipation (Gen. 2:23). So God made the man to be drawn in by the beauty of the woman and the woman to be drawn in by the man’s desire for her. Furthermore, because God made the man and the woman to multiply and to fill the earth (Gen. 1:28), God created within them corresponding sexual desires powerful enough to drive them to fulfill the monumental goal of populating the entire earth.

After blessing the man and the woman with this powerful magnetic draw, God, who does all things well, pronounced that all He had created was “very good.” His declaration did not merely approve of His work in the aesthetic sense of affirming the sights, colors, sounds, and smells of creation as reflecting the wonder of His beauty. Rather, God called creation “very good” in the sense that in every detail it conformed to His will of bringing Him glory. And that glory was most carefully reflected in all that God had created in the man and the woman who (above all of creation) reflected a likeness to the invisible God and thereby His glory.

The full intimate unashamed union between the man and the woman (in part) was designed by God to reflect the mystery of God’s ontological complex unity in oneness: God made the man and the woman become one flesh.

The Deception of the Woman

As those who live outside of the perfect pristine world of the Garden of Eden, we know: all that God created as good didn’t stay good for very long. From all of the sermons we have heard, we also know all too well how the woman believed the serpent’s lies. She believed she could be her own god, independent from her Creator, free to determine right and wrong for herself. The NT confirms that the woman was thoroughly deceived by the serpent (1 Tim. 2:14).

The Defection of the Man

Surprisingly, scholarly opinion is silent about the nature of Adam’s sin, with most venturing only to say that it was a “sin of acquiescence.” The narrator, however, does give evidence to warrant the conclusion that man’s sin can be understood in terms of a breach of covenant duties with blessings and a curse (Gen. 1:28; 2:15).

When God judged the man and the woman, His sentence is predicated upon the man’s listening to the woman rather than to Him. “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you,’ saying, ‘You shall not eat from it;’ Cursed is the ground because of you” (Gen. 3:17). It is the phrase “You have listened to the voice” which directs the reader to understand God’s indictment of the man (in terms of covenant unfaithfulness).

God had charged the man with the responsibility of refraining from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and God held him chiefly accountable to comply with that prohibition (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21-22). In the narrative theology of Genesis 3, the narrator describes Adam’s sin as a gross breach of covenant against God. His sin is the sin of treacherous covenant unfaithfulness (Deut. 8:20; 9:23; 11:28). God, therefore, held him liable to the consequences of covenant unfaithfulness—alienation (spiritual and physical), exile, and ultimately, physical death (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:23-24).

The Seductive Allurement of the Serpent

The question I want to explore is: What led the man to reject his covenant commitment of allegiance to God (to listen instead to the woman)? The narrator of Genesis 1–2 uses common literary devices to uncover the seductive attack of the serpent (whom the Bible later reveals is possessed by Satan (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). The narrator forms a bridge that thematically connects the God-blessed exhilarating sexual union of the man and the woman in Genesis 2 to the God-cursed defection of the man seduced by the woman in Genesis 3.

First, the narrator uses Hebrew wordplay: The serpent is described by the narrator in the Hebrew text as being arum “shrewd,” and the “nakedness” of the man and the woman is described by the Hebrew word arom. For the original recipients (which were actually hearers: they didn’t have personal copies of the Torah), the homonyms would have alerted them to look for interrelatedness between the shrewdness of the serpent’s attack and the nakedness of the first couple.

Secondly, the literary devices of selectivity and repetition are primary tools which narrators use to lead their hearers to theological points: In the narratives of Genesis 2 and 3, we are not told much about the woman, so what we are told is very important;  we are told that she is naked, and through the man’s poem we are told that her nakedness greatly excited him; then in Genesis 3, after the narrator uses a homonym to link the shrewdness of the serpent’s attack to the nakedness of the man and woman, the narrator dramatically emphasizes the Hebrew word for naked by repeating it four times within the span of 12 verses, in Genesis 2:25–3:11. The narrator directs the hearer to recognize that for both God and the man, nakedness was a big deal in the Fall.

So what went wrong? Through Moses’ pen, God indicted the man—in a covenant context—for choosing to listen to his wife, and hence, the evil-serpent, rather than to Him (Gen 3:17a). Moses’ original readers would find this description of the man’s sin of covenant unfaithfulness quite familiar. For the Hebrew person listening, an OT synonym for ‘faith’ (in a covenant context) means ‘loyal love’ (Deut. 10:12-13). This is a prerequisite (duty) for enjoying the promised blessings of a covenant.

Genesis 3 records the choice that man made not to love God, a choice that all men would embrace (Rom. 3:10-12). This is clearly what must be deduced from the Genesis 3 record. The man chose the naked woman, who used her allurement to entice him to follow the evil serpent rather than his God. Accordingly, by his idolatrous act of making his enjoyment of the naked woman his primary love, the man proved himself worthy of the condemnation personally prescribed to him by God (Gen. 2:17).

Conclusion

It is not by accident that the human race is plagued by pornography. According to 1 Corinthians 7:5, Satan is directly involved in seducing men and women to explore sex outside of the God-blessed bond of marriage. Therefore, beware! The narrator of Genesis 3 used the man and the woman as titles to indicate that what he says about each is axiomatic of men and women in general. There is vulnerability within a woman to use her beauty to seduce a man, and there is a corresponding vulnerability within a man to desire the unlawful pleasure of the nakedness of a woman. It is with reason that God thoroughly clothed the nakedness of the man and the woman (Gen. 3:21). As living witnesses to the utter devastation of the Fall, by the grace of God, mustn’t we do whatever is necessary to avoid the allurement of forbidden fruit of illicit nudity (Matt 5:27-30)?