The Naked Truth About Sin

In the last section of this study, we read how the disobedience of Adam and Eve resulted in man’s loss of communion with God, and banishment from the Garden of Eden. We also examined the specific tactics that the Devil used to achieve that sabotage--techniques he continues to use to this day. In this section, we’ll examine the details of the actual events that brought sin into the world, and the tragic consequences left in its wake.

What exactly is sin? In the KJV, the word most often translated into the English, “sin” comes from a root word in both the Hebrew and Greek that that denotes "missing the mark." The original word conveys the truth that man, in his fallen condition, is inherently incapable of measuring up to God’s standards of holiness. The Apostle Paul refers to this spiritual deficit many times in his writings, including these familiar verses from his letter to the saints in Rome:
As it is written, There is none righteous,no, not one: (Rom 3:10)
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom 3:23)
Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned: (Rom 5:12)

Indeed, according to the Scriptures, even the finest robe of human righteousness amounts to no more than pathetic, filthy rags before God (Isa 64:10).

What was the first sin? Disobedience to God’s command, of course; but at a more fundamental level, it was rebellion—the deliberate opposition of one’s will against the will of God--an offense that can only be committed by a creature with free will, such as the angels and man. Honestly, when you consider that the very universe itself came into being in obedience to God’s command, disobedience by a creature made of dust is audacious. Scripture declares that rebellion is just as bad as witchcraft, and that disobedience is as bad as idol worship (1 Sam 15:23).

In their original state, Adam and Eve had no more a concept of nakedness than any creature of the field:
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. (Gen 2:25 NLT)

Immediately upon breaking God’s commandment however, they saw their bodies in a very different way:
At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. (Gen 3:7 NLT) Why? What was different?

Their very perception of themselves had changed, at a spiritual level--suddenly seeing with fleshly eyes rather than spiritual. No longer arrayed in the garment of innocence and purity afforded by God’s Spirit, they experienced a sense of exposure and vulnerability, and the crushing burden of guilt.

When Adam and Eve willfully disobeyed God, they essentially declared themselves to be gods unto themselves, rebelling against God’s authority and disavowing His sovereignty.
Further, by committing the same sin as Satan and his rebellious angels, Adam and Eve brought upon themselves—and consequently upon the entire human race—the same condemnation and eternal punishment.

Instead of the glorious, godlike wisdom the serpent had promised her, Eve discovered she had acquired only cognition of sin and a very guilty conscience—as did her partner in crime, Adam. Both were cut off spiritually from the Creator. God had clearly warned them that they would die the very day that they ate of the forbidden fruit; and He neither lies, nor is given to exaggeration: they died the very instant they bit into the fruit—not physically, but spiritually. (If we consider that “one day is unto the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” then Adam--having died at 930, also died physically the same “day” he ate of the fruit).

Upon the entrance of sin, God’s Spirit immediately withdrew from the rebels, and they experienced a terrible sense of separation from Him--perhaps the same sense of separation that made Jesus feel forsaken upon the cross. As the sins of the world were laid upon His frail humanity, Jesus was overwhelmed by unimaginable emotional distress when--for the first time in His life--He was unable to feel His Father’s presence:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt 27:46).

Indeed, Isaiah speaks of the way sin alienates us from the God of holiness:
Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear,
but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
(Isa 59:1-2 ESV)

Though God had not truly forsaken Jesus, sin did indeed cause a separation. Jesus had to experience the same separation that all of us would have suffered--eternally--if not for His selfless sacrifice. That was part of the price He paid.

Adam and Eve lost the spiritual garment of innocence and righteousness when they disobeyed God, and it manifested itself as a sense of nakedness and vulnerability. Their eyes were opened in the sense of their becoming flesh-conscious instead of Spirit-conscious as they had been in their sinless state.

Frightened and confused, the man and woman began to string fig leaves together in an effort to fashion some sort of covering for their new-found shame:
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Gen 3:7)
(It’s probably not a coincidence that they used the leaves of the fig tree as a covering—the very tree that would come to symbolize the nation that produced the Lamb of God, whose sinless blood would one day clothe the faithful with the righteousness of God).

Wearing their crude apparel and still grappling with the fearful consequences of their disobedience, Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord calling them as He walked through the garden, and hid themselves.
Fully aware of what the two had just done, the Lord gently called out to Adam, no doubt longing to hear a tearful confession and plea for forgiveness:
8And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:8-9 (ESV)
And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10).

Think of an adult, aware of the guilt of a child who is unaware that he is acting guilty, and you get a better sense of the setting: Adam explained that he was hiding because he was naked—oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t supposed to know what “naked” was. Not getting the remorseful confession He wanted to hear, the Lord asked Adam point blank if he had disobeyed Him about the forbidden fruit—still allowing him space for repentance:
11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:11 (ESV)

While admitting what he’d done, Adam refused to take full responsibility for his actions, blaming not only his wife’s influence, but indirectly, blaming even the Lord—since it was He that had created the woman:
12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Gen 3:12 ESV)

Eve likewise shifted responsibility, blaming her actions on the serpent’s trickery:
13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13 (ESV) Again, there was no remorse or repentance.

So then, the serpent is sentenced, followed by the woman, and then the man. (We will examine the details of the serpent’s punishment in greater detail in a later segment of the study).
Adam and Eve were banished from the garden paradise of Eden—losing the idyllic life they had once enjoyed. Moreover, Adam was consigned to farming the land outside the garden; laboriously tilling the ground, planting and harvesting crops for food—no longer enjoying the luxury of freely plucking luscious fruit from the trees. Immediately after the expulsion, God addressed the nakedness issue—making it clear that the makeshift garment simply would not do.

The perception of nakedness experienced by Adam and Eve upon sinning, resulted from the protection and security of God’s Spirit being removed; and the aprons were an attempt to cover that feeling of nakedness. It obviously did not accomplish that purpose, since Adam told the Lord that he was hiding because he was naked—even while wearing the apron that covered his nakedness. The nakedness he sought to cover was but a physical manifestation of his spiritual nakedness.

The Lord replaced the aprons with more suitable garments. Probably in front of them, God killed two innocent creatures, shedding their blood; and from their skins, fashioned acceptable garments for Adam and Eve. From the very beginning, the Lord was instilling in man, the truth that our own works cannot atone for sin--that atonement can only be accomplished through the shedding of innocent blood that He alone is able to provide.

Here then, for anyone willing to receive it, is the reason humans are the only creatures on earth who wear clothing: the perception we have of nakedness correlates to a spiritual nakedness--a condition that resulted when the souls of Adam and Eve were stripped of the spiritual garment of faith and sinlessness they were created with. The physical nakedness is simply a symptom of a spiritual condition only God can take care of.

Consider that we are born without the shame of nakedness—it must be learned. The average toddler has no qualms about running around naked in front of people; they start out unashamed of the natural state in which they were born. Only later do they develop the sense of shame at being naked. The experience of Adam and Eve is therefore replicated in the life of every child who learns modesty.

This sense of nakedness will be a source of shame for every soul not provided with the blood-washed robes of righteousness only God can provide:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thynakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Rev 3:18)

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (Rev 16:15)

The Apostle Paul alludes to our being clothed with the righteousness of God in Christ, as if it were literally a garment:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:26)
Note that the Greek translated “put on” means to literally wrap a garment about oneself. Paul is telling us that those who are baptized into Christ’s death are literally robed with His righteousness.

These robes alone are able to effectively cover the shame of our spiritual nakedness, and make us acceptable before God. And they are made white by the cleansing power of the blood of God's Lamb:
...And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev 7:14-17)