“The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made…” (Genesis 2:25–3:1)
As with all great literature, the Bible is full of subtle nuances of language easily missed in translation. We find an interesting one here: the words naked and crafty are the same words in Hebrew (arum). Adam and Eve were naked, and the serpent was more naked.
Some commentators believe that the author simply created the trope as a homonym to connect the two accounts of creation and the fall.
That may be, but I think there’s more. Linguists suggest that the original concept of being naked included the idea of “having no veil.” In that static sense, Adam and Eve are pictured as pure and innocent.
The active sense used for the serpent, on the other hand, is descriptive of one who removes veils, one who reveals. The serpent promises that Eve’s “eyes would be opened” if they ate the fruit (3:5). And later their “eyes were opened,” and they saw their nakedness (3:7).
Satan craftily convinces us that God is holding something back from us. With just a little outside help and a little more information, we believe like Adam and Eve that we, too, “shall be as gods.”
That’s the big lie. God withheld nothing from Adam and Eve. With one notable exception, everything on the planet was theirs. They needed no more information, no extra knowledge. They were created to live life without a veil.
The enemy comes along and tells us, in our innocence, that there’s more. He convinces us that we have a veil over our eyes that we should remove. He tells us that with a little more knowledge, our eyes might finally be opened.
This is nothing new. We see it here with the first couple in Eden. Paul describes it vividly in Romans 1. And we’re seeing it on a grand scale today. We’re constantly pushed to have our “eyes opened” and recognize our biblical values are behind the times, in need of updating.
Like Adam and Eve, our eyes will be opened to our nakedness. But we won’t be innocent any longer. We discover that we were, in fact, duped so, we spend the rest of our lives trying to be crafty enough to cover our nakedness.
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and online. Visit www.newlifedenton.org for more information or www.drjimmann.com.