Ever wonder why God made Adam and Eve naked? I initially, cynically, thought that God turned ‘off’ the shame in their brains and that they were more like children than adults. I left that question alone because I didn’t think it really mattered to living everyday life. Yeah so Adam and Eve really screwed over the human race and they started wearing clothes, what’s the big deal?
It turns out it is a big deal – and it can change your everyday living. Ever heard of a guy named Karol Wojtyla? Well he gave a series of lectures called the ‘Theology of the Body’ and his thoughts on Adam and Eve’s nakedness are eye-opening. In his lecture he says that there is an ‘Original Nakedness’. Now you and I can experience nakedness by just taking off our clothes but that’s not what St. John Paul II (JP II) is talking about. In his book, ‘The Theology of the Body made simple’, Fr. Anthony Percy writes, “Original Nakedness…is a symbol of freedom in communication.” Confused? Let’s break it down.
In the beginning…
God created humans to be perfect. That means we could communicate perfectly. Think of the last conversation you had. It may have been with a friend, parent, sibling or a stranger. Do you recall the mental hoops you had to jump through to speak to this person? You probably don’t because it happens in a split second. Most of us, if not all, tailor our words, actions and reactions to the person to whom we are communicating.We are constricted by others in how we speak and act. The way we dress is a form of our communication to the world and the clothes we wear are, in part, a reflection of how we want others to see us. You and I may not consciously make these choices everyday, or else we wouldn’t get past the front door, but why do we make them anyway?
The answer is love. John Mayer wrote a song called ‘My Stupid Mouth’, lamenting over a date he had with a woman during which he said something that offended her. In the song, as he reflects on how he should think before speaking, he asks himself:
One more thing
Why is it my fault?
So maybe I try too hard
But it’s all because of this desire
I just wanna be liked
I just wanna be funny
Looks like the jokes on me
So call me captain backfire
I’m never speaking up again
It only hurts me
I’d rather be a mystery
Than she desert me
Everyone craves acceptance. But not everything we say or think is accepted. So we filter our thoughts based on the person and what comes out is what we believe to be acceptable. I have very few people with whom I can share most of my inner thoughts with – but even then the only human who knows all my thoughts is me.
But Adam and Eve weren’t like that. They were in perfect communion with each other. Imagine being able to tell all your thoughts and feelings to another person – and that other person accepted it all. Eve knew every single thing about Adam and Adam knew every single thing about Eve. They hid nothing and shared all. It didn’t stop at their thoughts. ‘Now, both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame before each other’ (Genesis 2:5). I used to think that this meant that our first earthly parents felt no sexual desire for each other but I couldn’t be more wrong. They were most definitely hot for each other! And that’s the key word – ‘other’. Adam and Eve weren’t just interested in each other physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. When God created perfect humans, those humans could communicate their emotional and spiritual selves through the medium of their bodies in perfect harmony. Their nakedness was an outward sign of their complete acceptance of each other – mind, body and soul.
So what happened? As the story goes, this couple made a costly decision. In Part II, we’ll examine what exactly humanity lost as a result of that moment.
Naked Communication Series
Naked Communication (Part II of III)