Barry Newman's Blog

May 9, 2011

Science and Genesis 3: 1 – 24 (part VII)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 12:09 am

The immediate outcome from eating the fruit

As the serpent had said to the woman, that her eyes would be opened, they were.  But she is not alone.  The man and the woman are spoken of as together – both had their eyes opened and they were able to discern their nakedness and such self awareness brought them shame. They tried to do something about it and chose fig leaves, the largest leaves found in Canaan (Walton, p. 206), in order to sew them together to make some form of covering.

We may find it a little odd that awareness of nakedness should be the immediate consequence of their disobedience, given that in some parts of our world, nakedness is exploited in various ways and sometimes highlighted apparently without shame.  This may also have been true to some extent in the ancient world.  However, both now and then, a general societal perspective is to treat certain sexual characteristics of an adult man or of an adult woman as private to the individual concerned.  Without privacy there is embarrassment – the experiencing of being ashamed. The man and the woman in the account, becoming self aware, immediately strive for privacy in order to alleviate their embarrassment.  However, not only are they themselves the source of their embarrassment, God appears to be an embarrassment to them as well – so the narrative develops.

It may be maintained that now the man and the woman know the difference between “good” and “evil” or at least that they were aware of evil.  Certainly we are to see that “evil” has now come into existence. Disobedience has occurred. Perhaps the hearers/readers are to detect the irony of their “knowing good and evil” in that discernment has become knowing good and evil in a moral sense. However the text itself seems to focus on the man and the woman discerning their nakedness and we should not ignore this.  And we need to keep in mind that their sin was their disobedience, not their nakedness or becoming aware of their nakedness.  This awareness – the discerning of their nakedness came about a consequence of their disobedience.

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