“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Written By: Nancy Houston
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” – Genesis 3:6-13
How did the Fall affect our view of relationships and sexuality?
First, the Man was passive. Passivity paralyzes a man and leaves him feeling inadequate, feeling less than; in extremes, he begins to believe he is a loser. Some men get stuck in either one of two shame-inducing extremes. Either too fearful to even approach a female or, if he happens to find a woman, he hides himself from her, believing if she knew the real him she would run. Or he spends his life trying to prove his masculinity through sexual conquests—proving to himself and others that he is indeed adequate.
The story continues, “When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything! —she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6). Yep, now we know it all. Lucky us, instead of male and female having paradise and a lot of sexual fun together in a committed, covenantal, safe relationship, now we have a lot of heartache; because when she ate, we all ate, and our eyes have been opened to evil, and sometimes it looks pretty tempting, especially before we count the cost of the consequences of shame.
Having sex with someone who doesn’t care about you eventually leaves you either hurt and lonely, or hard and closed off or both. Before I sound like I am judging Eve, let me say if I were in her shoes, I most likely would have made the same choice. I hate to think that given what we know now, but let’s be honest; we all have a tendency to do what seems like a good idea at the moment without counting the cost.
And we are easily sold.
Immediately the two of them […] saw themselves naked. They sewed fig leaves together, as makeshift clothes for themselves. Naked was normal and naked with no shame was their shared normal. Yet they eat of evil and the first awareness is one that radically shifts their sexuality. I often wonder if our sexuality is at the deepest core of who we are as human beings, and if that is why the enemy of our God goes after it with dirty vengeance. You might wonder, why was their nakedness the first thought? Why not, “My heart hurts, or I feel somehow different, or the sky is a different shade of blue, or where is Father—help, Daddy!!” No, what hits them is, “You are naked and I am naked and that’s not good, so let’s cover our sexual parts and let’s hide.”
There is a radical shift in their once joyful, vulnerable, creative relationship. Now the focus has changed to hiding from their shared shame. They cut parts of themselves off from each other and the process of isolation, hiding, and independence becomes their new normal. They move from a position of “we” into an “I” stance with themselves and with God. “When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God” (Genesis 3:8).
We have been hiding ourselves from each other and from God ever since. God made us for relationships; the biggest lie of the enemy of our soul is we are grossly inadequate and we must figure out life on our own. He says we are shameful for not knowing.
It’s no wonder we are lonely and one-night stands, casual hookups, and sexual withholding in married life have become the norm. People who hide are lonely. It doesn’t fit our DNA, because we were made for knowing and being known. What was meant to be natural to us humans—relationships and genuine knowing and healthy sexual relating—becomes unnatural. Lest I sound like a total pessimist, let’s not forget Jesus came to set it all right for us. What we made a mess of, He came to totally redeem and to put back in place the Father’s original plan.
Nancy Houston is a sex therapist, professional counselor, and leadership expert. She lives with her loving husband in Texas. This excerpt was taken from her groundbreaking new book, Love & Sex: A Christian Guide to Intimacy, available now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.