Hespeler, 1 May, 2016 © Scott McAndless
Genesis 2:25-3:11, 21, Hebrews 13:10-16, Psalm 40:4-11
he story of the creation of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis was always about much more than just the question of where the human race came from. Adam was never just supposed to be a historical figure. Even the earliest people to tell and pass down this tale knew, after all, that the name Adam meant man and that he represented humanity as a whole. They knew that his wife’s name meant living, and so they understood that this story was not about history or events that took place in the earliest mists of time so much as it was about what it meant to be human beings living in this world here and now.
For example, the particular selection of verses that we read from Genesis this morning seems to be preoccupied with one particular question about being human. The question is this: why do human beings wear clothes. I mean, think about it, the story originated in the ancient Near East which has one of the most temperate climates in the whole world. They didn’t have to deal with the extremes of a Canadian winter. Even rain was a rare event. Clothing, for them, was not a physical necessity most of the time, so they needed an explanation for why human beings, alone among all the creatures on the earth, wore clothing. So if you were going to tell a story about what it meant to be human, that mystery was something that, in their minds, you needed to tackle.
And the story makes it clear that, in the ideal world as God originally intended it, clothing was not necessary. “The man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.” The need for clothing, apart from protection from the elements, is, according to this story, actually a reflection of what has gone wrong with human life in this world.