As you may already know, I do not necessarily enjoy reading the extra-biblical works from my classes. I find that the scholarship world has made the bible into a much more difficult book to read when in reality, it is not. Every now and then I find some good stuff. It might be awkward to discuss it, but honestly, I find it beautiful.
(Side note: concerning my last post, feel free to include Ezekiel 16-23. It further shows the pain of God with his chosen people. It was part of my reading.)
Naked in front of a mirror.
Did that make you think good thoughts or bad thoughts? Were you confident in what you saw, or did you cringe in insecurity? I am reading a book by Douglas Knight and Amy-Jill Levine called “The Meaning of the Bible.” It’s a pretty bold statement! It was revisiting the Garden of Eden and this all in the context of sexuality. Nothing was out of the ordinary with the whole chapter I read, but the first part made me tear up (on the inside).
Lets rewind to the Garden. This was a place where man and woman walked with God. There was no being ashamed, no clothes, and no badness. When God created Adam, God wanted to find Adam a suitable partner, but all the animals would not do the trick. Lets not dig into what it meant to find a suitable animal partner, because we might discuss procreation or the process of it, but instead lets focus on how man was not meant to be alone. No animal would be suitable for him, so God made him fall asleep and took a rib from his side. With that rib he made Eve, the perfect companion for Adam. She was not made from his head, or else she would try to be over him; she was not made from his foot, or else she would have been walked on; but she came from his side, so they could be by each others side. Now Adam found the one he could be with without shame, and she, being from him, completed him. This was paradise.
Now man was made in the image of God. Is that not cool? Before the fall, Adam and Eve did not cover up – they were not ashamed. They knew the glory of God. They saw him face-to-face.
Naked in front of a mirror.
We came back to that image. The book suggested that if we are able to be naked in front of a mirror, and not be ashamed but saw the image of God – a creation in his likeness – then we experience a bit of that confidence of Eden. Now I thought that was beautiful, but it was not all.
Think of Adam with Eve. They were both together and not ashamed. Perfect for each other. They completed each other. They were one. Now think about marriage. You are face-to-face with someone you love, both naked and not ashamed. You show them a part of you that is not public. You have given into the vulnerability of this intimacy. This is more of a sliver of Eden.
You are together with the one you love, both joined by marriage, face-to-face, naked in all of your glory, not ashamed, but proud. And maybe even the act of making love is just another another larger sliver of Eden. That is part of the paradise we get to enjoy in Heaven. A wise person once told his class during an awkward bible study “Sex is like a slice of Heaven on Earth.”