Once upon a time, I wrote about the Sin of Perfection and how I thought maybe part of the reason Eve was successfully tempted to eat the fruit was the sudden idea that she was less-than – she began comparing herself to G_d and a gap was perceived.
Nothing about Eve changed – she was still the woman G_d created to complete Adam and G_d’s creation, she was still meant to be the mother of humankind, and she was still in relationship with G_d as his creation whom he sought to walk with on a regular basis. But now… a different perception of herself as compared to G_d was there. And she sought to equal things out.
Recently, I started wondering what it was like before all this forbidden fruit-eating. We know Eve was created out of Adam’s side to be by his side – after a very, very long time between when G_d recognized Adam’s loneliness and that there was no creature yet suited to be his “helpmate”. In that very, very long time, G_d has Adam exploring the world, finding and naming all the living things – none of which were right for him. Genesis also says that G_d and Adam had a habit of walking together in the evening.
All this time, by the way, Adam is naked. Imagine strolling through your favorite park with your closest friend, and you’re stark naked. Going about your everyday work stark naked. When G_d creates Eve, she’s naked, too. And none of it matters. That’s just the way things are then – the vulnerability is natural, and it’s no big deal.
All this time Adam and Eve are walking around with G_d, and it doesn’t seem to mean much to them that G_d’s different. Maybe like how all the animals were alive, conscious, but different. Adam perhaps came across the primates when he was in the naming biz and saw some similarities, but he couldn’t talk to them. And G_d he can chat with, but G_d is still this Other Being that doesn’t occupy the same level, or maybe does but also in such a way that Adam can’t share it, like while occupying infinite other levels at the same time.
Again, no big deal. There’s nakedness, there’s wildlife, there’s the Divine, and it’s all simply the way things are.
Enter the serpent, and he names at least one difference that makes G_d so Other. G_d knows good and evil. And suddenly this relationship with G_d becomes complicated. Suddenly, it’s what G_d has – this possession of knowledge – and no longer simply who G_d is. If there’s something within reach, something that would make us more godlike, more wonderful, then why not reach for it? Perhaps being on the same level as G_d is something to be attained. It can be identified. It can be consumed.
And the first thing this new knowledge brings is not glory but shame. They see their vulnerability, and they misidentify it as evil. They hide. And we know the rest of the story, because we live it everyday.
The challenge, for me at least, is to stop falling so often – my own Falls for comparisons, and possessions. I need to stop falling for what I think G_d has, and begin falling in love with who G_d is. Because G_d is not lording over me all the knowledge and power of the Divine, but continually inviting to lead me in practicing love, faith, and humility. G_d’s Otherness is not consumable for attainment, it is all-consuming.
And for this consumation, I need to get naked.
Inspired in part by Donald Miller‘s Searching for God Knows What.