Maybe you’ve had the nightmare yourself, or perhaps you’ve heard of someone having it. The details differ, but the punchline is that you find yourself standing stark naked in a public place. And that is typically as far as the nightmare goes. Well, the first people to live this nightmare were Adam and Eve.

After they had eaten the fruit that God had forbidden, Genesis 3:7 asserts, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” This is in contrast with Genesis 2:25’s assertion that “they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” They did not accidentally forget to put on clothes as they left the house; rather, in an immediate consequence of disobeying God’s commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they had this new experience called shame. They gained knowledge all right, but it was clearly a type of knowledge that God never intended for humanity to experience—that of shame.

This psychological phenomenon of shame concerning their aberrant behavior had a physical manifestation in the first humans’ desire to hide their bodies. Apparently, perfect conformity with the law of God provided them a covering without which they now found themselves exposed and vulnerable. In addition, their sin altered their environment, degrading it from the ideal habitat that God had created for perfect homeostasis, further increasing their need to protect their bodies.

Nakedness is now fraught with undertones of shame and vulnerability. The thought of being fully exposed, not just in a physical sense but socially, emotionally, and spiritually, is such a terrifying concept that many of us go to great lengths to avoid it. We fortify ourselves behind screens and usernames to avoid being seen.

The connotations extend to the conversation surrounding sexuality. Even when pop culture showcases explicit sexual material, it is an effort to remove the shame surrounding the topic. As we shall discover throughout this study, these efforts are misguided at best, and actually destructive in reality. It was never God’s intention for our nakedness to cause shame, and it is His ultimate purpose to remove the shame of nakedness from His people.