There are many physical things that are shadows representing spiritual realities. One such shadow is with regards to nakedness.
When God created everything, he made a two very important statements at the end of it all. The first one he said after the sixth day when he said "it was very good." (Gen 1:31) The second important statement was that "on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made..." (Gen 2:2) Physically, his work was complete and satisfactory to him.
Knowing this, now let us turn our attention to a seemingly insignificant statement with regard to the first man and woman. It's at the end of chapter 2, where God brings the man to the woman he had just made out of his side. The writer makes this observation, "They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (vs 25) Why does Moses throw this statement in here?
This statement seems a bit odd, almost out of place. Ask yourself this question: Out of every living thing that God created, all of which was complete and satisfactory, were any of them naked? Think about it. Are dogs naked? Apes? Squirrels? Fish? Worms? I could go on and on and you would have to say that no, not one single living thing is naked. God clothed each one how he wanted. Why would man and woman be any different?
And yet, isn't it usually thought of that the man and woman originally were naked, missing clothing, when they were first created? I mean, the Bible itself says that they were naked. But consider that Moses was writing this from his vantage point many generations later. To him, being without clothes was to be, in fact, naked. So, in his mind, man and woman were naked. But were they really? I would say that they in fact were not, not in reality. To be naked would imply that they were missing something-namely, clothes. I believe that they were complete physically speaking. They were not ashamed because they had no concept of anything other than what they already had as their reality. They were "clothed" in their own mind.
However, I believe this physical thing we call nakedness, which they later became aware of, teaches a spiritual lesson that is still in existence today.
Let's pick up after sin entered the world through Adam. The account says that "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." (Gen 3:7) So the first thing they become aware of is nakedness. They did not have any children yet, so they were the only two humans on earth. So why all of a sudden did they feel the need to cloth themselves? What had changed?
The scriptures tell us that they died when they disobeyed God. Outwardly nothing changed. They looked exactly the same as they had before. However, in dying, they perceived themselves to be naked, and in need of something with which to cover themselves. This had to do with their mind.
Did they feel a sense of shame with each other? I don't think so, because married couples, those intimate with each other, do not feel that sense of shame. Also remember, they were the only two humans on the earth at that time, so no need to cover up for anyone else. I believe the motive for covering themselves was because of God.
You see, apparently God was in the habit of walking with them on a regular basis in the garden. I say this because when God's presence walked in the garden after their sin, they hid themselves and he asked "Where are you?" This implies that they routinely walked together, in community.
Why did they hide from God? "The man said, 'I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'" (Gen 3:10) They did not want to be seen by God. But why? They were just as "naked" before when they walked with him as they were after, so what was the difference? The difference was separation, or rather, the mind of separation. They no longer saw themselves as intimate with God. To them, he was totally separate from them and in that state of mind, they saw themselves as missing something. By their own hands they tried to fix that problem by making coverings out of fig leaves, a very itchy fix if you have ever touched them.
The reason I said they "perceived" themselves to be naked was not only because they were physically the same after sin as before it, but also because of God's response to their hiding from him. "Who told you you were naked?" Interesting question. Who told them? Was it the serpent? Not a hint of it in his conversation with Eve. It certainly was not God. So that left only one answer...they themselves said they were naked. The state of nakedness is something that man perceives in himself. I believe that in God's eyes, they were not naked. They were naked in their own eyes.
So far what we see changing with regards to man when he sinned was that he saw himself in a state of shame in the presence of God (pictured by nakedness) and in need of something to cover himself. Man tries to make something on his own to cover himself, but to no avail. He still feels shame and needs to hide from God's presence. Notice that God himself came down desiring to walk with man just as he always had. He had no sense of shame toward man, it was man's shame toward God.
Before I begin this part, I want to clarify something that perhaps I did not make clear so far. When I speak of man perceiving himself to be naked, I am only referring to physical nakedness. The physical nakedness is a shadow of a spiritual nakedness, which is the true nakedness at the crux of the matter here. What I see happening with Adam and Eve is that they feel that they cannot approach God as they are, so they need to do something to make themselves presentable to him. However, in trying to do that, they still end up feeling shame and thus in need to hide from him. Their human attempts to cover themselves failed miserably, because they are trying to dress up the flesh, and that is what most in the world are still trying to do today.
However, God already had in mind what he was going to do about this situation. In shadow, "Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them." (Gen 3:21) Why animal skins? Here is the reason, I believe. Those animal skins pictured the fact that originally man was covered spiritually by the presence of the Lord God. When he sinned, he died, which introduced a state of mind where to him, he was separated from God, thus naked. Therefore, by covering man physically with an innocent life taken from an animal, God was showing that one day another innocent life would be taken from God himself in the person of Jesus Christ to cover man once again spiritually, and permanently.
This is spoken of in scripture as putting on immortality. Since the only one with immortality is God (according to 1Ti 6:16), we are in fact putting on God when we put on immortality. This was accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ, "who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News." (2Ti 1:10)
I said in the last article that Paul spoke of this to the assembly in Corinth. Let's consider that now.
For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eonian, in the heavens. For most certainly in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we will not be found naked. For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit. Therefore, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are courageous, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. (2Co 5:1-8)
Notice the imagery here. Our mortal earthly existence is spoken of as a tent. Tents are temporary dwellings. Our mortal existence is only temporary. While in this mortal body we are absent from the Lord. It is true that he is in us and we are in him, and that we are his one body; but there is another sense in which that state of existence has not been fully revealed to us yet, because we do not yet see it; and so in the meantime we are in that sense absent from him while here. This is why the spirit is given to us as a down payment of that which is to come, as a guarantee.
Also notice that to be naked is here defined as being without a body. We were created to exist in a body. First, a physical body, and then now, the body of Christ. First in seed form, then fully, when we see him as he is. Again, he is our dwelling. He is the covering for our nakedness.
Paul defines being clothed as being swallowed up by life. That life is Christ. We have it now, but it is "hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in esteem. " (Col 3:3,4) This revealing is what Paul is speaking of to the Corinthians.
This same revelation of what we will be is also spoken of by John in his first epistle where he writes: Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is. (1Jn 3:2)
When Paul said there was for us a house in heaven, he is not speaking about spirit bodies all lined up waiting for us to jump into when we shed this mortal body. The imagery Paul used is the same used by Jesus when he told the disciples that he was going away to prepare a place for them, which is recorded in John 14. That place is us. We are the many room in Father's house. Jesus and the Father would make their home in them by his spirit. This happened at Pentecost, when the Separated Spirit filled the 120 in the upper room. By that spirit we are in the Father and the Son, and they are in us. The result of this spiritual reality is that we are not naked.
Thus, like so many others things in scripture, Jesus is the reality of the physical shadow, in this case gradually revealing himself to us as our true covering. We do not yet see ourselves this way, but by faith we know it is true. This is why Paul said "we walk by faith, not by sight." (2Co 5:7) This can be illustrated by a simple seed.
A seed contains everything that the plant will be, packed inside it. Over time and under the right conditions, the plant is revealed out of that seed. That seed is only the temporary housing for the plant. It is the same with us.
We are clothed in mortal bodies. Now, in this body of death, we who are alive in Christ are having His Life revealed in us-in part at present, fully when we see him face to face. As I mentioned earlier, spiritually speaking, to be clothed in this way is to be swallowed up by life-His Life.
In seed form we are indeed clothed, but we, like Paul, long for the full revelation when we put off this tent and put on our permanent dwelling in the fullest sense of the word, that dwelling being the Lord himself. With that revelation coming to completion, there will truly be no more sense of nakedness, not physically or spiritually.
In summation: As I understand it, to be naked physically and all that comes from the awareness of it is, in spiritual reality, to have a mind that is separated from God, to be self-conscious; resulting in shame when approaching God. To be clothed is to be have the mind of Christ, to have an awareness of total union with God. It is also to be God-conscious, to know he is ever present, and that we can approach him as we are, without shame. We have this now, by faith, as a down payment by the Spirit given to us by Father. When Christ is revealed, we will experience it fully, as our mortal bodies are swallowed up by Life, and we are fully revealed to be as he is, in his esteem.
I have been working through scripture with the idea of finding Christ as the reality of all the physical shadows. Very enlightening thus far for me. Any thoughts?
Last edited by gregoryfl; 07-08-2008 at 06:24 AM. Reason: Wasn't sure if this was something worth posting on this board, but after reading other posts have decided to repost this.
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