My grandmother, the formidable Myrtle May, could point out a hussy when she saw one. The hussy would be described as brazen or shameless. The last descriptor sounded rather attractive to me. My grandmother used it to describe a woman who had no sense of wrongdoing, I thought of it as ‘being without shame’ or being in a condition where the self-defeating emotion was absent. There is a sense in which the condition of Man and Woman before the fall has both aspects. The individuals are free from understanding that their actions may be right or wrong. They do not know what sin is and they do not experience the burden of self-loathing which comes with a knowledge of right and wrong after lines have been crossed.
Imagine a marriage lived without shame. Imagine the joy. Rather than fear rejection because of shame, we could be bold in walking naked together. I do not mean that in an entirely physical sense, but also in the emotional. A bond becomes deeper when a person feels the confidence to reveal their heart. The environment is safe and the God of Creation protects his children. In the Garden of God mankind could walk fully exposed to each other and to their maker. There was no fear in their love because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). When we look back past Genesis 3 we see a world of vulnerability. We should imagine open conversations and mutually fulfilling conversations. When we imagine two, young, naked lovers walking shameless through a green arboretum and by rivers bordered with flowering plants we need to ask ourselves a question: How do we return to The Garden? How do we find the strength to walk without hiding ourselves?
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[h] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
May we find the strength to be vulnerable. Can you lead us along a path to a Garden free from shame? Give us the strength to be honest, transparent and true. May we return to innocence.
- How does the last verse describe the man and woman?
- How does this set up chapter 3?
- What ideals regarding relationship does the passage communicate?
- To whom do you reveal yourself and why?
- How do we find a path back to a world free from shame?