Adam and Eve were completely known by each other, and they were not ashamed.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Have you ever had one of those ‘underwear at school’ dreams? They’re so humiliating! In those hazy moments before your mind is awake, shame grips you, and you think, “I can never go back to school again.” Then, as your mind begins to wake, the realization that it was all a dream rushes in with a wave of relief. Nakedness is one of the most vulnerable situations a person can be in. Brené Brown, a shame researcher and outstanding voice on the subject, tries to help people understand the difference between humiliation, guilt, and shame. A humiliating moment is when one thinks, “I did something bad” whereas a shameful moment is when one think, “I am bad.” There is a huge difference.
This week, we’ve explored intimate relationships in the ideal. Today’s text shows us that God designed us to be “naked and not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25). But, before we all move to one of those strange nudist colonies, let’s find out what is really going on here. I believe reducing this passage to a text about the appropriateness of physical nakedness between a husband and wife would be a mistake. When reading biblical narrative, especially Old Testament narratives, it helps us to remember the importance of every single word. In a time when parchment and ink was expensive, writers would only include the most important details. We must ask ourselves why the author of Genesis includes this sentence in this account of creation.
I believe this sentence is less about physical nakedness and more about vulnerability. Adam and Eve were completely known by each other, and they were not ashamed. Remember the context of this sentence. God just declared everything about creation as good or very good – all accept Adams alone-ness. The creation of Eve was God’s answer to Adam’s need for human relationship and this sentence is part of God’s answer as well. Evidently, Adam needed to be vulnerable, and so do we. Adam and Eve were vulnerable before God and each other which fulfilled something deep in their humanness. We also need to be fully known and loved in a place of vulnerability. One of the ways we can fight for God’s ideal in our lives is to seek healthy places to be vulnerable. For further contemplation on this, find some time to watch this Ted talk about the Power of Vulnerability.
By Aaron Bjorklund