The first chapters of Genesis force us to reconstruct the elements of man and his original experiences, if we're to get anything out of them except for another set of ancient myths. Looking at the original experiences we can begin to gauge their basic significance and perhaps applicability to man throughout the ages. They are archetypal, and being so, are so bound up in the fabric of ordinary life that we fail to see them being extraordinary at all.
We've come now to the comparison between man before the fall and man after the fall, and his nakedness. *Woowoo!*
Prior to the fall, man is described as being naked and not ashamed. What makes us feel shame? When we're kids, we run around buck naked any chance we get. Or at least all the kids that I know do. Clothing is something that the adults force us into, and as we get older, we accept that clothing is necessary as a part of the culture, and adapt what we wear accordingly. For the most part, of course. There are always those who go outside of the accepted norms of society. But that's neither here nor there, for the moment.
But shame is, I think, subjective. From culture to culture, things which are 'shameful' vary. They even vary within a culture, and on down to the family unit. So, talking about actions that are shameful is, I think, less than helpful, in this case.
If the story of Adam and Eve is meant to be universal, then their 'nakedness' and 'shame' or lack thereof, has to have a more universal meaning.
I'm thinking, when, poetically, a person stands 'naked' before another, they are baring their all. Not their physical nakedness, but their soul. They have no secrets. They are out there, in the open. So, perhaps, when the Bible says that they were naked, does it refer to a simpler time, when man and woman had no secrets between themselves and God? The relationship was purer then. A matter as simple as existing. And, since they had no secrets, since all was known about each other, there was no 'shame'.
Once they had disobeyed, however, they knew that they were naked, and they felt ashamed. I think it's important that the phrasing is 'Then the eyes of the two were opened, and they knew they were naked.' (Gn 3:7) It was the knowledge that changed things. They now had a secret. When they looked at each other, they knew that they had done wrong. They knew that when God saw them, He would know. Which is why they hid when the heard Him in the Garden.
It's like, when you've done something wrong, and you're trying to hide it from another person, everything takes on this extra level of meaning. You know that you've done this thing, and your fear that the other will find out makes you think that they already know, and so you view them suspiciously. And your suspicious behavior makes them *actually* suspicious, which feeds your paranoia...you know what I mean.
Of course that metaphor doesn't really work with God, since He does, in fact, already know. But that's what comes to mind, anyway.
It's not about the nakedness of the body, but the whole hearted nakedness of the soul to one another which is only possible in original innocence. Which we don't possess, which makes it impossible for us to ever 100% bare ourselves to another. We *want* to, but we have so much trouble trusting, because we know how untrustworthy we ourselves are, and can't imagine that another will be any better than us, or that they would love us despite our flaws.
And, wow. Sometimes, these posts go nowhere near where I thought they were going.
I feel I should add that I have done something to my neck which means I can't turn it to the left, and have taken muscle relaxers to correct this painful and annoying development. So any lack of coherency will be blamed on the fact that I am, in fact, drugged.