Friday, January 17, 2014

What is Naked?


What is Naked?

Since Merriam-Webster has such a long definition, I'll just let you read the "text book" definition via the link.
I also like the Redneck or Urban definition: Naked: "Being without clothes." Nekid: "Being without clothes and up to no good."

But aside from that, what about the bible?

If I were to ask God what is naked, he would most likely ask me right back "You tell me!  What is naked to you?" (Jesus was famous for answering a question with a question)   Why would God ask me that?  Would God know what naked is? Or was that a word that really needs redefinition and we have the wrong one?

Let me pose this thought in a different way:

You walk in on your ten year old daughter and she is assaulting her face with her mothers makeup. 

You may find it humorous and decided she was trying to look like mommy, but after asking what she is doing she replies with "I am ugly!  I don't look pretty. I am trying to look pretty!"

How would you answer that?

One answer could be "You are right! I never knew that until you pointed it out! We need to take you to a plastic surgeon and get some work done right away!" Of course, you are probably being sarcastic and trying to psych the poor kid out. (and she may need therapy if that happened)

Another response could be "What makes you think you are ugly?"
 or "Who TOLD you that you were ugly?"

The child may answer, "Well, the reason I think I am is because several kids at school told me" or "I saw pictures in a teen magazine and I am afraid I won't look like that when I become a teenager".

We can go on with potential answers and responses and even antidotes to the problem,

But the REALITY is: The CHILD IS NOT UGLY! Period!  (Did I emphasize that enough?)

The awful idea that you would describe your child as "ugly" would have never crossed your mind!

God asking "Who told you that you were naked", (Genesis 3:11) was not a confirmation that they were naked, any more than us asking "Who told you that you were ugly" is a confirmation that our child is ugly. It is only a question to find the source of this horrific LIE!

Now if the child insists on trying to resolve her dilemma by putting on makeup to cover her face, even after our reassurance and outgoing love for them, then sometimes all we can do is teach her that globs of blue eye shadow is not really all that great and teach her how to use it "modestly". Being modest about using makeup is not a command to use makeup any more than being modest about clothing is a command to wear them (1 Timothy 2:9) . Just be modest about it if you insist on wearing it and believing you are "ugly" or "naked" without it.  It is noted that many women say they feel naked if they don't wear makeup even though they look beautiful to everyone else around them.  Is there a connection to this self referential conclusion with Adam and Eve?  "Who told you that you were naked without makeup?" This is usually how we feel (subjectively speaking) even though it is not true (objectively) from Gods or the parents perspective.

So God had a choice. Should he just right out and kill Adam and Eve? After all, he did say "On the day you eat of it you shall die".  What is death?  What was it before the "fall"?  Did it have a different meaning to what we apply it today?

What language is this?

Death, Fear, Naked, Suffering, Pain, War, Hunger, Hell, Loneliness, Divorce, Shame, Hate (you get the idea), are these all words that came from the result of the fall? Was it in the original language of Adam and Eve before the fall?  It seems our whole language changed when the wrong choice was made.   Words such as Arom (Naked) or Eyrom (Nekid and up to no good) were introduced when Adam sinned.  Even though the prefall explanation of Adam and Eve was that they were naked (Arom), does not mean that they were from God's perspective.  This was written by clothed people to a clothed people about the original state of Adam and Eve by comparison to their current state.  The writer could just as easily have wrote "They were free and happy with no shame or fear or need of clothing because God created them that way and wanted them to live that way".

Then again, maybe those words were in the original language because God did warn them of "death" if they took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But one thing we must always remember and KNOW within our hearts and spirit as well as our minds, is that everything, and I do mean everything that God says and does, is always, always, always, out of love. Outgoing concern for the welfare of others. That is God's nature. Threats, anger, selfish reasons, are never a part of God's language.  It is always love. God's perspective of death, sin, and even naked, is different from our perspective because God views those out of love, not from anger, shame or fear.

But God chose in his mercy (love) to let them live and their children live (though they tempted him many times to finish them off. See Noah and the flood, Moses and Israel).  God sent Jesus to resolve this issue by fulfilling the "death" part. We still want to think we are naked (Eyrom) when in reality, we were just in no need of clothing, and Jesus restored us to our previous "non issue" status with God. 

On a related note, as Christians, we tend to glorify the cross, which is considered as foolishness (or even shame) to the Greeks (1Cor. 1:18-25), yet we vilify Christ on the cross by covering him in shame!  After all, he was naked on that cross!  (See this interesting article on another site) What is this blasphemy? Who are we to cover Jesus' body because he was naked, and then expose the very tool of shame?    Jesus did endure shame, but that shame was not because of his physical state as nude, but because it is considered shame to be crucified on a cross.  See Hebrews 12:2 and Galatians 3:13 Is Jesus ashamed of his own body as if he were the sinful Adam himself?  In fact who told Adam that he was naked in the first place?  Satan?  Are we to listen to THAT perverse character from hell? What has Satan got that we need to hear?

Listen to God and his pure language of love.  There is no "naked" in God's love language. For we are not without!  God called on Adam and Eve when he walked in the garden in the cool of the day. What a beautiful scene!  That was not an angry God coming for vengeance for a divine rule that was broken!  God, taking a nice walk in the cool of the day calling out for his children to come visit him and talk to him!  Again, what a beautiful scene! What do you think God would have done had Adam and Eve come out still starkers, totally naked?  I'm sure the same thing he did before when he left them there naked in the first place! For he never said they were naked!  Again, was that even in his language?  Naked, without, lacking, incomplete, unfinished, not whole, missing something.  Like telling an artist he missed a spot on his beautiful painting.  Was that how God left them?   And God saw the work that he had done and said it was very good.  Gen. 1:31 and Gen 2:1 says "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them". Finished, complete, whole, satisfying, a wonder to look at, free of missing spots. This was not his original language.

Here is the original language or thought:
Gen. 1:26-28
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
While they were still naked?

God saw all that he created (emphasis on ALL), and pronounced it "very good".   Adam and Eve was still naked (using our broken sinful language) and had already been given the command to spread humanity across the globe! They were to take care of God's "very good" creation!  While they were naked! Now up to the point during the creation process, he said what he created was "good". Now, he left with a thumbs up and a wink saying ALL is VERY good!  See the difference?  So what changed?  God?  Did God suddenly realize he forgot something?  Did he miss a spot? Did God think Adam and Eve were naked? I can almost hear God ask "Naked? What is this naked?  What are you talking about? Who told you this nonsense?...just a minute here...did you eat of that tree I told you not to eat of?"

The only reason God covered us is not because we are "naked", but that we are afraid and about to face a big world while living in that fear. They are no longer living in the peace and love enjoyed previously.  And that is how we accept that love from God, (though it was a showing of love and compassion, but not THE Love of God himself which we hid from).  We hid from God's true nature which is love.  The only love we were willing to accept were "gifts" and "physical blessings" until the Christ.

Just because God clothed us, does not mean we MUST wear clothing.  It is not a law, there is no threat of hell or damnation, not part of the ten commandments, and even if we use God clothing us as a reason that we must wear clothing at all times, then when God put "clothing of skin" on us, why are we wearing plants again?  Cotton is a plant just like fig leaves are plants.  And if you believe apples are what Adam and Eve ate, the fruit which was forbidden by penalty of death, then why do we eat apples?  Why are we applying a penalty to something God didn't apply a penalty to?

Even Jesus said "Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son"  So why do we judge people to hell for something God created and called "very good"?

Are we naked? Are we ugly? Are we judging God's creation as bad, ugly, evil, missing something, lacking? All words related to our sin. Or, from God's perspective and language of love, are we just created in His image and His likeness?

One final question: Just what part of God are you ashamed of anyway?

9 comments:

  1. Great post. Personally, the answer to the final question is none. But that's part of the reason I don't fit in at the church I sometimes go to. (It's a Christian church that believes the same as Adam and Eve.)

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  2. I understand your situation. But sometimes we have to realize that the churches we go to are just as broken as we are. They just sometimes don't realize it.

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  3. Great follow-on article to your previous one. Thank you!

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  4. I really appreciate your approach on this asking a question rather than starting with a propositional statement. I also appreciate the exegesis. It is to simple to get at the crux of this question when we are pouring our modern day sensibilities into scripture. Thanks again will be reblogging

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  5. Great points, Boyd! Thanks for encouraging us all to think more deeply about the language that we use, too. Another point that can be made is that it was Adam and Eve who first covered themselves. After their sin, they determined what it meant to be "naked" (i.e. unclothed, uncovered). Their desire to hide from God came from shame in what they had done--disobeying God. They felt guilt for disobeying Him and they wanted to hide...to blend in with the environment...to hide and not be found. How often do we do the very same thing when we mess up and fall into sin? It's a common response, or at least it should be.

    We often hear and teach that afterward God covered them with animal skins out of mercy, since they would soon be exposed to the elements (thorns, a world that was no longer perfect, etc.) and would need tougher coverings. I think it goes deeper than that, and others have taught that there is a more spiritual significance--blood covering sin--and I agree with that. It makes you ask: why kill an animal? Why not just layer them in thick cotton layers (like layers of denim)? Why the animal skins? Some say that it was a better, thicker, protection, but that misses the spiritual point--that the innocent will die for the guilty, that only innocent blood can pay for sin, and that sin leads to death.

    God's act was more than simply providing better coverings than flimsy leaves. Remember that the entire globe was still in perfect condition when our first parents were banished from the Garden. Some want to think of the outside of the Garden of Eden as being rough and wild. Where did that idea come from? Genesis describes all of God's creation as being "good." It probably degraded quickly, yes, but I don't think that Adam and Eve went from a wonderful, warm Hawaii-like environment to a cold, rough Siberia-like environment when they left the edges of the Garden. The Garden was a special place for them to live, which included a tree that they needed--the Tree of Life. The Bible says that God forced them out of this home for one reason--so they would not have access to that tree and live forever in a sinful state. Banishment from the Garden was not an act of punishment, but an act of mercy! The punishments had already been given (thorns, a damaged earth, increased pain, death, etc.).

    Likewise, God's covering was an act of mercy, but not necessarily for protection in a "harsher" environment. Layers of thicker, plant-based cloth could have helped with that (again, why kill an animal?). Rather, God's covering was given to show that man's efforts to "cover" his sin and to hide from God would not work. Only God could, and would, take care of the sin problem--the blood of the innocent would pay for the sins of the guilty. It was another foreshadowing of Christ and His sacrifice and our salvation. Imagine the shock in Adam and Eve as they witnessed the death of an innocent animal, and then to be covered with its skin! They had never seen death before. Everything was perfect. Animals and humans were vegetarian. The animals were like beloved pets to them. Now, an innocent one was killed because of them, its blood flowed out, and its skin was wrapped around them. That symbol would be forever etched in their minds, and it would be continued in the sacrificial system of Israel and right up to the crucifixion of Jesus (the innocent dies for the guilty).

    As other Christian naturists before me have so aptly communicated: this is what the coverings in Genesis 3 were really about.

    Thanks for your own great insight!

    --Pastor Dan

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  6. Thank you so much Dan for your response and additional insight. There has also been the argument that they were clothed with skin (nothing about sacrifice was mentioned or that it came from an animal) so the assumption outside of sacrifice was our skin, the naked skin that covers our bodies now! I don't quite agree with this, and I tend to lean towards your thinking on the subject. Both are worth discussing further on.

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    1. Interesting. The original language does call it coats, or tunics, of skin, though, with the implication of leather or a somewhat treated hide. That also rules out hair. Anyway, it makes for an interesting study. Animal skins also play a part after this in covering the tabernacle. They were also used for other special clothing. Maybe someday when I get time I'll follow the trail through Scripture and see if there is a thread of symbolism there. I bet there is.

      --Pastor Dan

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  7. Please let us know your results. I will probably take another look at that as well. But I think another good study is the language. I was told that the Hebrew language was the one God was talking about when he mentioned a perfect language. I very much disagree. Hebrew was the language that they spoke, but they were still an unrighteous people, and God spoke of a new language and promised that to the Hebrew people and the world at large. So why speak of a new language or a better language when the one they are speaking was the correct one? And their language is loaded with words that were a side affect of sin. Sacrifice, fear, sin, death, war, and much more, are words that result from sin. Even the ten commandments are loaded with "sin" words such as adultery, stealing, coveting, etc. I think not only a new language, but a language that has no need for the laws that was given to the Hebrew nation. Interesting.

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  8. I love the Apple analogy at the bottom... Yes, Why do we eat apples ?

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