Adam and Eve were naked before they realized they were naked. In the state of original innocence, they looked upon each other in wonder and gratitude. In this way, they shared the vision of their Creator, who saw all that he had made and declared it “very good” (Gen. 1:31).

“Nakedness” signifies the original goodness of creation in God’s eyes. It characterizes the fullness of God’s vision, through which we see the high value of man and woman and the purity of sex and the body. At the time of creation, there was no opposition between the physical and the spiritual. There was also no opposition between male and female—the two existed in unity. Adam and Eve looked at each other not just with the exterior gaze of their eyes, but with the eyes of their hearts.

Shame limits our ability to see each other fully. But Genesis 2:25 tells us that Adam and Eve were unashamed. They were not afraid to open up to each other, to become vulnerable. They saw and knew each other intimately, in the peace of their interior gaze. Because they were complementary—Adam’s masculinity and Eve’s femininity completed each other—they had a special understanding of the meaning of their bodies. They became gifts for each other.

At the beginning, Adam and Eve shared a particular understanding of their bodies as gifts. This is the gift-giving or “nuptial” meaning of the body.

As Christ reminds us, God is the Creator, man is the creature. Genesis uses this word, “create,” time and time again to describe God’s activity. Why does God create? Why did he call all things from nothingness into being?

Because he is love (1 John 4:8).

We do not find this word—“love”—in the creation story. But the narrative tells us repeatedly, “God saw what he had made, and it was very good.” This gives us a glimpse of God’s motive in creating, because only love gives birth to goodness and delights in what is good (1 Cor. 13). Creation is a gift. It is a radical form of giving, because God calls forth this gift out of nothingness.

Every creature bears the mark of God’s original and fundamental gift. With any gift, there is a relationship established between the giver and the receiver. We see this relationship most clearly in the creation of man—God gave us his image, and this puts us in a unique position with him. Among all creatures, only man is really capable of giving and receiving a gift. Only man can understand that creation is a gift, and offer himself to God in return.

Creation is God’s gift, bestowed on man. But man is not only the recipient of a gift—he is also a gift himself, with the freedom to give himself to another.

Originally posted 2019-05-21 12:29:23.