5 minute read

How Nakedness Affected the Fall

Last Updated: April 10, 2015

Bobby Scott

Bobby (Robert) Scott is the Pastor-Teacher of the Los Angeles Community Bible Church and general editor of Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity. He received a BS from UCLA, and an M.Div. and Th.M. from The Master's Seminary. He is also an instructor at the Los Angeles Bible Training School, and a visiting lecturer at The Master's Seminary in Biola University's BOLD Program. Bobby cherishes his wife Naomi and six children. He blogs at Truth In The City, where he addresses the burning questions of urban culture with biblical truth.

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)?

  • Comments on: How Nakedness Affected the Fall
    1. JohnnyChristlike on

      I would agree with this assessment 100%. Another thing that scholars are now pointing out is the fact that Adam was RIGHT THERE with Eve as she was being tricked. When we were kids in Sunday School, they made it sound like Adam was elsewhere in the garden while Eve was being tricked and that she came to him with the fruit she had already tasted. However, if you read the scripture it says clearly that he was with her in the garden.

      That being said, your question is all that more relevant. Why would he just sit there and allow that to happen? The Bible says that she was deceived. She was tricked. But he was not. He knew full well what was going on and he chose not to obey God. In the grand scheme of things, the reasoning behind his disobedience is irrelevant, but for purposes of discussion, we can dive further into it. As a married man, I know that my wife has the power and ability to use her charm, beauty, and sex appeal to get me to do things that I don’t want to do. Now, my wife isn’t devious. She doesn’t hold sex over my head like a price of being a good boy. But, I know full well that my likelihood of getting sex is always at it’s highest when she’s pleased with me. So, if she asks me to do something for her, generally I oblige – even if I don’t want to, because I’d rather have her happy, which in turn makes me happy. However, as a man of God and the spiritual leader of my house, I need to be able to draw the line and know when what she’s asking me in benign and harmless or if what she’s asking me contradicts God. If she asking for a special something for Christmas and we have the money for it, fine I’ll do it. It makes her happy, which in turn makes me happy. But if we didn’t have the money, and I had to use our tithe money to do it, that’s where I have to draw the line. I’d rather have my wife upset at me and God pleased with me than the other way around, and I think that’s where Adam screwed up. He wanted to please his wife instead of God.

      In our situation, 95% of the time God and my wife can both be pleased with the same decision. However, when the opportunity arises that God’s happiness and my wife’s happiness are mutually exclusive, then I have to go with God, who is my first love, and eventually my wife comes around.

      Reply
    2. JohnnyChristlike on

      I also wanted to add that it’s important to notice that absolutely NOTHING happened when Eve at the fruit. She ate first, but her eyes were not opened until Adam ate. This is indicative to the fact that God placed Adam in charge. He was ultimately responsible. I believe that if Eve ate it, and handed it to Adam, and he declined, that sin would not have entered into the world. It was Adam’s disobedience that turned the entire system on its head, not Eve’s.

      Reply
    3. Bobby Scott on

      Well said, Johnny! God gave men wives to help them, and, therefore, God will use them like lady wisdom in Proverbs. God intends for a husband to listen to his wife. God charged Abraham to “listen to Sarah (Gen 21:12).

      Conversely, when Satan tempted Job to curse God, guess what Mrs. Job said (Job 2:9)? God wants men to accept the responsibility to lead according to His Word and most of the time our godly wives will give us godly counsel. However, when they don’t we must cling to God and in doing so protect them like Job protected his wife.

      To your point, where was Adam? I’ll discuss that in my next post (pt 2). I didn’t take a lot of space to develop that, but I do agree with your conclusion that God held Adam completely responsible. It was not until Adam ate that their eyes were opened. And then God called Adam, not Eve, or even Adam and Eve. All the “you” pronouns in Gen. 3:9-13 are masculine singular and can only refer to Adam. The theology of the Fall in the NT (Rom 5; 1 Cor 15:21-22) makes this theological point explicit.

      Reply
    4. Phil on

      I disagree with Johnny’s comment saying “I believe that if Eve ate it, and handed it to Adam, and he declined, that sin would not have entered into the world”.

      If that was true, then Eve’s eyes would not have subsequently opened up as was later recorded in the Bible. God’s command applied to both of them, just as it is to humans today. Could one say in today’s world that “your wife is allowed to sin in whichever way she wants, but as long as her husband does not follow her in sinning, then there would not be sin for that household?”. This is NOT logical at all.

      If only Eve ate the forbidden fruit and Adam declined to eat it, then the most likely scenario is that only Eve’s eyes would be opened and sin would only be confined to her alone (of course the serpent would still be cursed by God). That means when God later visits them in the Garden of Eden, only Eve would be hiding herself from God (& possibly Adam as well). Only Eve would then receive the curse and be expelled from the garden…and eventually die from old age presumably.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        @Phil – I think the whole matter is one of great conjecture. I agree with you that if only Eve was complicit in the sin, then only she would have been punished. But I also think that Adam was already guilty before the fruit ever touched Eve’s lips. He was with her the whole time (Genesis 3:6) and did nothing to prevent the temptation and deception. He watched her wander into sin and did nothing. He was silent.

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