The Fig Leaf


Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25, NIV)

In the Garden of Eden, there was no shame. Theologians have talked about how the glory of God clothed them. But I propose that it was more than just that. Adam and Eve lived in a state of being known.

Intimacy is the act of being known. It is state of being understood on more than just a surface perspective; it is more than just a physical relationship. Intimacy is the experience of being truly known on the deepest levels.

This is the atmosphere that Adam and Eve lived in with each other, and also with God. They lived in the perfect harmony of being known without any fear of rejection or shame. They were open to each new experience found in the Garden and in relationship with their Creator.

Until sin… Until rebellion…

The moment they disobeyed, sin entered the human experience and with it came shame, fear and separation.

They immediately recognized that they were naked. They took fig leaves and began to cover themselves. This was the first time they had any separation between them. Then God comes into the Garden in the cool of the day for their normal time together…and they hide. Now not only they are separated from each other, but they also are separated from their God.

Shame drives a wedge between us and those we love. It will create a “fig leaf” that we use to separate our real selves from each other.

Author John Eldredge says that our fig leaves are our “false selves,” those personalities that we present to people, protecting ourselves from really being known.  The problem is that we all deeply, truly want to live in a state of being known by someone.  This is a root of the rampant sexual immorality we see in the world.  It’s not about the sex…it’s about being known.

But even sex doesn’t create the intimacy we’re really looking for, because even in that act we can still “wear a fig leaf.”  We hide behind the carefully constructed self we present to others and inside we still are looking for someone to know us.

This is the price of shame…separation and loneliness.  It comes to destroy trust and break what real intimacy we have.  It is not God’s desire for us to live with shame.  What will it take to reject shame, and lay down our fig leaves?