Who Told You That You Were Naked? by Robert Pedersen - HTML preview
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Who Told You That You Were Naked?
An exploration of “The Fall of Man” NoticeThis document is provided solely for your exploration, consideration and enjoyment. As such it is not intended to be a definitive treatise on any of the topics discussed herein. It is likely that you will find some of the ideas expressed herein to be an affront to some of the beliefs you hold most dear. If this happens you have the opportunity to choose your reaction and response to these ideas. I would recommend that you sit with them and sense within your spirit whether these things are so. Then, if they seem right for you accept them and if not reject them.
Either way you will have invested time in consideration of some of the most important issues we humans struggle with – and no effort in that regard is wasted.
Please share this with anyone and everyone you think may enjoy it. You may publish it on your own blog or website. As you share it please leave it as it is and include links back to:www.bestillknowgod.com I'll leave you now to begin. Blessings,
Who Told You That You Were Naked?By Robert Pedersen
It could be argued that The Bible is the most important spiritual book ever compiled. It is the basis for many of the religious doctrines on earth today.
Contained within its pages is wisdom and edification for any and every reader. It has been called a "living" book with good reason. Perhaps no other book offers support to every reader in his unique journey as does The Holy Bible.
Very near the beginning of this great book is a story about the first man and woman - Adam and Eve and what is oft referred to as "The fall of man".Within that story is a question that God asked Adam and Eve: “Who told you that you were naked?” Scripture doesn't indicate that Adam and Eve answered the question. Perhaps it was left that way for us to uncover the answer for ourselves. That is exactly what we're going to do here. The answer to this question will allow us to discover the source of all the problems and suffering of the human condition.
That's a bold claim and we have a some work to do so let's get started! Here is the story as recorded in the New International Version of The Bible.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" 4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" 10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
There's a very good reason that The Bible preserves this incident for us. This story provides the details of the fall of humanity. So we know why we find ourselves in the state we're in.
More importantly, this story demonstrates the natural tendency of the human mind to fall into judgment and condemnation and the result of that course.
Many stories have been told of Adam and Eve's failings.
Humanity for the most part has accepted the failings of the first parents as their own. The cycle continues as we live out or days experiencing separation from God, feeling our own inadequacy, sin, failure, etc in spite of God's tremendous efforts to show us the way of escape.We propagate this cycle by teaching our children the same judgments we have accepted and so it goes.
True understanding of this story provides the answers needed for rising again to the original created state that God intends for his children – perfection. That's what we're going to uncover here.
The Usual Conclusion
The usual conclusion from reading this story is that Man is fallen and requires some emergency measure to be reconciled to God. As we read on throughout The Bible we find numerous instances of God providing "emergency measures" to remedy man's fallen state.
Throughout the Old Testament sacrifices of various kinds were made to appease God and win His favor. They were never enough to really satisfy the terrible inadequacy of the human condition.
Then, in the New Testament along comes another sacrifice. The voluntary sacrifice of the only Son of God - a perfect life offered up to God was the ultimate sacrifice - after which no more sacrifices would be necessary. We find however that it wasn't enough either.
Somehow humanity still feels so bad and wrong that more sacrifices are made each and every day in the hope that God will be appeased, we will gain His approval, and our relationship with Him will be restored to what it once was.
As you've likely notice it still isn't working. Here's where a closer look at the fall of man can help.
Let's go back to the beginning and examine the story of Adam and Eve a little closer and see if we can find something to help us in our present situation of being separated from God by our sin.
According to the story recorded in Genesis 2, God told Adam "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die".Adam and Eve apparently tested the truth of God's command fairly quickly – they ate the fruit and what happened? They didn't die. Or did they? They didn't experience the separation of their spirits from their bodies. So they didn't die in that sense.
What they did experience was the separation of their spirit from God which is generally thought of as spiritual death and when the condition exists forever - eternal death.The indicator to our first parents that there was a problem was an awareness of being naked. In that state they didn't feel comfortable communicating with God so they hid themselves. God didn't wish them to remain afraid of His presence and so He made them coverings of skins to wear.
The TreeLet's spend a few moments examining the tree next.
And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (NIV)
Some like to concern themselves with whether or not the tree of knowledge of good and evil was an actual tree. I don't pretend to know and it does not matter – nor does it change the story or its meaning either way. Think of the tree as you like.
Now, to have knowledge of good and evil from a purely human standpoint seems like a good thing, right? We humans are enthralled, even addicted to the idea of knowing right and wrong – and being right. If we're going to be right then we must know right from wrong.We are taught as children what is good and what is evil. It is an essential part of our learning and growth. When we have children of our own we pass that learning on to them. Knowing good and evil is critical in all aspects of our society.
Governments are concerned with knowing good and evil. Legal battles are fought in courtrooms all around the globe as we search out and define good and evil. We have systems - justice, health, business, insurance, religious, educational, economic, etc. designed and established to provide guidelines around the knowledge of good and evil.
The point is that knowing good and evil is very important to human beings. One could even argue that knowing good and evil is essential to our existence.
The FruitNow let's examine the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Here we have the characteristics of the fruit that grows on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
It's good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom. The serpent told Eve:
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
The ResultNow let's examine the result of eating that fruit.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
If you've ever had a dream where you couldn't find your clothes or perhaps you were in a crowd and suddenly realized you were naked, you have a sense of the urgency our first parents must have felt.The thing is, they were naked before they ate the fruit and naked after they ate the fruit so what happened?
Did they not know they were naked before eating the fruit? Of course they were familiar with their condition – they may not have called it nakedness but they were naked before eating the fruit and comfortable in their nakedness.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (NIV)
Now after eating the fruit they're still naked, but ashamed of their nakedness – and not just ashamed, but wrong, and unworthy to stand in God's presence.
The question is what actually happened? Sure, they realized they were naked, but why was that a bad thing? They weren't ashamed before, why now? Their physical state was that they were naked – perfectly naked – just the way God made them. They were perfectly naked before and after the fruit was eaten. What exactly was this realization that caused them to believe their perfect nakedness was a bad thing?It was nothing more than a shift in perception. How could this occur from eating a piece of fruit?
Simple – remember the fruit was a product of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – something to be desired to make one wise – something that would make one like God, knowing good and evil.
Here's how it works: When you gain the knowledge of what is right or wrong, good or bad, innocence is lost and you're compelled to make judgments. That knowledge isn't concrete – it's subjective – it always varies according to who is eating the fruit.That knowledge demands a choice to be made and that choice reflects your judgment. Their perception of their own perfect state of God created nakedness shifted from acceptance to judgment.
I like to explain it like this: partaking of the knowledge of good and evil always creates a shift from acceptance to judgment. Before the knowledge of good and evil we're in a state of acceptance of what is. There is no other choice because one thing is no worse or better than another. After the knowledge of good and evil we go into judgment – using our new found knowledge to decide what is good, bad, right and wrong.We have seen why that is. Now what happens?
After The ShiftSo once that shift is made, what happens? There are at least 4 things that occur.1. The eater of the fruit experiences fear for the first time
2. The eater of the fruit discovers they have something wrong with them.
3. The eater of the fruit must act quickly to cover that which is wrong.
When you first gain the knowledge of good and evil you are immediately thrust into the position of having to make a choice and a right one at that. This brings with it the element of fear: “What if I don't make the right choice?” “This doesn't seem right but I know it is and so I must do it but what if it turns out that it's not?” “How can I be sure that this is the right thing to do?” “I know this is right but I really want to do this other thing. How can I do what I want and not get caught?”
These thoughts and many more rush in bringing with them the uncertainty and fear of making wrong choices, going down wrong paths, doing the wrong thing. That's fear – and it ties into the next one – where you were once fine, now something is very wrong.2. Something is wrong with me. When you are naked and in complete acceptance of your nakedness you have no problem with being naked. When it's not okay to be naked and you're naked then you have a problem.
As previously stated, eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil puts us in a position where we're forced to make judgments. It cannot be otherwise. When you know good from evil a choice is required and that choice represents the judgment you have made.
Once we were naked and everything was fine. Now we're naked and because we've judged nakedness as being wrong, we have a problem.
Once we begin to partake of the fruits of knowledge of good and evil we judge everything.
Nothing can escape our judgment once we begin eating that fruit. The enlightenment we feel is divine - we think. Indeed we do feel like God – knowing good and evil. It suddenly seems that we know so much about everything.There's only one tiny problem. We're guilty of just about everything we have decided is evil. Oops. Poor Adam and Eve suddenly see their nakedness in a new light and it's not good. Something must be done.3. Act immediately to hide the wrong. Scripture tells us they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. It was a quick solution to the problem. This is the big cover up. No one wants to be wrong. Yet we all feel there is some aspect of ourselves that is bad or wrong. When we become aware of the wrongness of that particular aspect, we start gathering the fig leaves. This is the human response every time. It's natural.
Even when our "wrong" is like everyone else we still have to cover up. Adam and Eve had never known anything other than being naked. Now because of a judgment they must cover up their bodies. What a shock to the first couple to feel uncomfortable being the way they were created.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day.
This verse is the last one in the creation story. God had created man and woman in His image and evidently was very satisfied with the result of His efforts.
However, when judgment enters perfection is no more. Now that judgments are being made about God's perfect creation it's no longer perfect. Something must be changed, fixed or covered and hidden.Excuses must be made. Apologies given. Shame and guilt are the norm now that judgment has invaded the Garden of Eden.4. Separation from the Creator. God came walking in the garden and called out to Adam and Eve and they hid themselves. How could they face their gentle, loving Creator?
There is nothing more devastating to the human heart than the shame that comes as a result of realizing their "wrongness" - a wrongness that is a product of the way they were created.This sense of shame separates the Creator from the created.
Adam and Eve had to wonder how God could stand to look on their nakedness. They must have felt a terrible distrust of this God who came every day and walked and talked with them in the garden. How could He be so cruel to not tell them they were naked.
On and on their judgments would have gone creating ever increasing division, separation, hurt and frustration - to the point that God himself couldn't resolve it.After all, God didn't create the judgment and therefore He couldn't dissolve it.
The Fruit Of JudgmentThe fruit of judgment is separation. If you continue reading, Adam and Eve were separated from the Garden, the tree of life, easy living, painless childbirth, etc. There really is no end to the damage judgment makes in our lives. All human suffering has its root in judgment.
The QuestionAt last we get to the question.
And God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
It was a conclusion Adam and Eve arrived at based on their recent grasp of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan may have helped – I have some ideas about that but that's for another article.
Not only did they come to the conclusion that they were naked, they judged that being naked was bad – bad enough that they had to hide from God.
Judge NotThere are some words of Jesus found in Matthew's Gospel that I want you to consider now.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Jesus was issuing the same command that God gave to Adam and Eve: Do not partake of the knowledge of good and evil. Do not get involved in judgment.From the story of Adam and Eve and their first judgment we see that judgment begets judgment and it's consequences are instantaneous. Jesus wasn't talking about some future "Judgment Day" when he spoke those words.
In the moment you make a judgment, you are judged. You are justified or condemned in that instant and you are the creator of your own separation in that moment.So we cannot escape this judgment if we are participating in it. We cannot be free of the shame and guilt of our own condemnation while eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
A DistinctionAn important distinction must be made here. When I speak of judgment I am speaking of the decision that a thing is right or wrong, good or bad.
Choosing what you desire over that which you don't isn't judgment. We all make choices every day – choosing to be safe, to get the things we like, what we're going to eat, etc. - without making those choices good or bad, right or wrong. That's not judgment.
If you're making those choices right and wrong and deciding that those choices make you right or wrong, then perhaps you are turning them into judgment.
To Judge or Not To Judge?
Just as the serpent contradicted the command of God in the Garden of Eden, so advisors today will tell you that you must make judgments and that it's the right thing to do.
You'll hear it from religious leaders. You'll hear that you must make judgments – people have no problem directly contradicting the command of God.There are reasons beyond what I have presented here that indicate that judgment is not a field for us to play in.
Consider these verses: Our best efforts to make good judgments based on our best understanding of all the perspectives of any issue that we might confront are still inferior to God's thoughts on the matter – as high as the heavens are above the earth – that's the kind of difference we're talking about.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We as human beings are not equipped for making judgments and determining good and evil because it's not necessary for our peace, joy and well being on this earth. God did not intend for us to play in that field.
We've been given everything we need to live in harmony with one another and with our Creator and we consistently choose that which brings separation into our experience.We consistently choose separation from one another and from our Creator as we indulge ourselves in our addiction to judgment.
Choosing the knowledge of good and evil and judgment supplies us with more suffering, distrust, anger, hatred, pain, anguish, guilt and shame than we can handle – and yet we keep it up. It really is an addiction.
Now It's Your TurnSo consider: Who told you that you were naked? Who told you that there was something wrong with you? Don't skip the question like Adam and Eve did. What IS the real answer? Likely you've been living so long with the belief that there is something wrong with you that you have no idea where it came from. It really doesn't matter. What does matter is that you believed it.
Now I'm telling you that God doesn't believe it. God made you perfect. Made you just the way you are – and He saw that you were good – just like every other part of His great creation.Perfection is your created state. All deficiencies are your own judgments about your perfect condition.
Be PerfectI offer another scripture for your consideration:
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NIV)
You see becoming perfect or perhaps I should say “recovering our former state” is a shift in awareness really. When you realize that perfection is your created state and there's no amount of judging or learning about good and evil that will improve your condition you can let go of your addiction to judgment.If you have a problem with that ask yourself these questions: “Would I rather be perfect or right?” “Would I rather be one with God or separated from Him?” Consider this scripture:
This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes."
But men have consumed themselves with judgments and thereby have hidden from view the path home. Even man's religious systems that are supposed to lead back to God are so filled with judgment that people still cannot find God, or become comfortable with their relationship with Him. Causing much uncertainty at best – and absolute terror at worst. Indeed we don't have far to go. Nothing has really changed – we've just judged it that way.Here's an exercise: Let go of your judgments for a moment. You'll likely have trouble doing this – old habits are hard to break – and judging is an ancient habit. But give it a try. Don't worry you can always pick them back up when you're finished!
Allow yourself to become still and quiet and just let all judgments go. All your judgments about yourself, your spouse, kids, boss, friends, God, everyone and everything. Pretend for this exercise that they don't exist.Now notice how you feel in your soul. Sense within your spirit and see if you can detect pure peace and love.
In this state of stillness and quietness we find God and communicate with God. Here is love and peace with God, others, ourselves and all that is. Separation doesn't exist in this state.
As you retrieve your judgments you'll notice the peace will fade, love will diminish and you'll feel again the separation from God, others, and yourself that you're likely accustomed to – that old comfortable uncomfortable feeling.Now you know the way of escape. As the Psalmist writes:
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
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