Genesis 3:7 says,
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, (New International Version).
There’s something about a naked body that is sacred. There’s something about a naked body that is secret. I think society knows this, which is why our society really prefers to cover it up. Regardless of what it may look like.
Our culture is now being understood as being “pornified” by some — that is, sexuality or sexual exposures are being centralized in media and popular culture. Casual sex, scantily-clad fashion, lewd speech and physical nakedness is becoming more and more normalized. We’re becoming desensitized to these things and porn companies and Hollywood producers are profiting from our adoption of them as “normal”.
Nakedness is a big deal, and the world is becoming more accustomed to it. But the nakedness presented in today’s popular culture isn’t true nakedness because it’s presented with an angle of “perfection”. Naked or near-naked images often depict men and women without blemishes, unwanted marks or scars. Everything is symmetrical. Women are most often “tens,” with picture-perfect bodies. Men are hunks with rippling abs and everything perfectly proportioned.
The pursuit of lust and sexual exposure once was understood as perverse, but is now often considered as virtuous. Sex is now casual, a means of achieving perfection for the one we are ready to commit ourselves to for the rest of our lives. Why would we want to present an amateur sexual performance to a future lover when we can engage in sex to gain experience and not be received with disappointment? The idea of naked “perfection” has evolved into the idea of sexual “perfection”.
But the concept of naked “perfection” is a falsehood with its many digital touch-ups and edits. Glossy images and pin-ups don’t present true nakedness, but computer generated images. In the so-called ‘exposure’ in these images, there remains enough unexposed to leave people with the idea that nothing is sacred, and nothing is secret either. Ironically, the true exposure of nakedness is covered up.
But what does true exposure of our nakedness bring? Shame to ourselves. Why? Because to be truly naked is to expose all of our imperfections — our blemishes, our flaws, our scars. This is true of physical nakedness, indeed, but also of emotional, and spiritual nakedness. Whole nakedness (that is physical, emotional and spiritual nakedness) is truly the exposure of our imperfections, the exposure of our humanity.
We read from Genesis 3 and the concept of exposing our humanity in marriage. You see, our whole nakedness is reserved for marriage commitment, the commitment of a husband and wife to not only expose their physical bodies to each other, with all of their blemishes and imperfections, but it’s the commitment to expose our character flaws, our emotional scars, our sinfulness to each other. How many of us, before we enter marriage, consider these things? Why is it that our society is so ready to accept the exposure of physical nakedness, even outside of the marriage bed, without regard to the whole exposure of our humanity? True nakedness is IMPERFECT, rather than perfect. In marriage, a husband and wife commit to be fully naked before each other, not covering up imperfections. By this I am not saying we justify our imperfections, but we allow the unveiling of our fallen-ness, our setbacks and our failings, as well as our physical blemishes.
If we aren’t willing to be wholly naked before a future mate, we ought not to consider physical nakedness before him or her either.
Vulnerability attached to whole nakedness is sacred and must be intimately kept between two persons, a husband and wife. There must always be room for God to bring understanding, forgiveness and healing to the imperfections of our naked lives.Tweet
Genesis 3:7 tells us that Adam and Eve discovered that they were naked only after they sinned. Why was this so? They felt no shame before this. There was no imperfection before this. The shame they felt wasn’t merely because of their physical exposure, but because of their character exposure — their sinful character. That’s why they covered themselves up, to leave their imperfections unexposed as to hide them from God.
This is why we often cover up our sins, like digital editors cover up the blemishes of naked images. Imperfections aren’t ideal, but they are real. We prefer the ideal, so we cover up the real.
But even though we are really blemished, and try to cover this fact in various ways, God in His goodness knows that we cannot be made right with Him on our own.
Genesis 3:21 says, “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”
God took the initiative from the beginning to cover our sins. This is how He forgave the man and the woman in the garden. But it took the death of an animal, spilled blood, in order to cover their nakedness. And later, Jesus spilled His blood, which is able to cover all our nakedness, our imperfections, our sins. But we need to expose our imperfections to God so that He can cover them by the blood of Christ. In marriage, we are privileged to expose our nakedness with our spouse and with his or her help, come to Christ to cover us with His redeeming blood.