Originally, man was created with free will. Adam and Eve could choose to obey or disobey God. While they obeyed God, Adam and Eve were without sin. Neither wore clothes; they were naked in each others presence and God’s presence yet felt no sense of shame or embarrassment (Genesis 2:25).
When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God’s command, they lost their innocence or sinless state. It was their choice to disobey to God — not solely the act of biting into, chewing, and swallowing a fruit — that introduced sin into the world. Disobeying God word is always a sin. Immediately after disobeying God, Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness. Adam was ashamed and embarrassed for Eve to see his naked body; likewise, Eve was embarrassed and ashamed for Adam to see her nakedness. To hide their nakedness and shame, Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together to make an apron-like girdle.
Chagawr is the Hebrew word used for the apron-like girdle in Genesis 3:7. When compared with other Biblical references using the word (chagawr), a picture emerges of a belt tied around the waist with fig leaves sewed to the belt and each other that hung down and created a cover for the lower abdominal and genital areas. The underside of fig trees are rough. When disturbed or punctured they exude a y gel-like substance. Fig leaves sewed together and don for coverings would have been very sticky and uncomfortable to wear.
Adam and Eve were wearing fig leaf aprons when they tried to avoid God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8-10). In God’s presence, Adam blurted out, “I was afraid (to come before you) because I was naked.” In reality, Adam was not naked; he was wearing a fig leaf apron. Adam saw the fig leaf apron as adequate to cover his nakedness front of Eve, but not in front of God.
The fig tree (Ficus carica ) is a deciduous tree indigenous to the Mediterranean Sea area and eastward into Afghanistan. Figs were identified in written records as early as 9000 BC in the area of Jordan. Fig trees grow as tall as 25 – 30 feet and develop a spreading canopy of branches and leaves. Fig leaves are plentiful and typically 5 – 10 inches long and 4 – 7 inches wide. Leaves contain 3 – 5 deep lobes. Given the size of fig leaves, Adam and Eve would have used multiple fig leaves together to create aprons.
When I read that Adam ascribed his avoidance and fear of God to nakedness, I was skeptical. Adam knew he disobeyed God; probably Adam’s fear was more related to awareness of his disobedience than of his nakedness.
Today wearing clothes is the norm. Opting to be naked versus being clothed is not something we think about. Automatically, we dress for the day soon after getting out of bed. I don’t know about you, but I want to look good to others. I don’t want them to see the naked, unadorned parts of me. I want to present myself as a person who is attractive and together physically, psychologically, and spiritually. In reality, often I have enough baggage to fill my closet and then some.
Perhaps worse than projecting false pictures and hiding ourselves from others is trying to hide ourselves from God. Do you lie to God? I do, when I attempt to obscure my true motives from Him in my prayers; often I try to “white wash” my behavior or rationalize my motives. God wants us to be naked and unashamed before Him. He knew us before creation and when we were in our mother’s womb. He knows our circumstance and behavior. God knows us so well that He can identify the exact number of hairs on each of our heads. There is nothing we can do that God doesn’t anticipate or know. Yet, He still loves us and calls us into a personal, intimate relationship with Him. There is no need to hide ourselves from God or to put a “spin” on our behavior when we talk to Him.
Reflection: Are you hiding yourself, to include your motives, from God?
I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/
Copyright December 9, 2010, Carolyn A. Roth; all rights reserved.