THE SOCIETY OF GOD - PART 2
"When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings." Genesis 3:6, 7
The Society of Man Begins
First of all, I suggest that if you haven't already done so, you read the first part of this article located here. In that article, we saw that God wanted a society; an image that would be like Him. This would not be an image in the same way that we think of an image, like a photograph, but that it would contain the very life of God and be a multi-dimensional, living entity. It would be a community of individuals who would share the same life, interact with one another, and be one, just like God. They would be His image out of their own free will and would choose every day to live by His life and walk out the resulting lifestyle. This image would not only be a community but it would also be a society that would interact with the world around it.
This was God's hope for Adam and Eve and the creation of mankind. Of course, we know what happened. The society never got off the ground because man chose to go his own way. Instead, a new "society" was formed; the society of man. This happened because man chose to be an independent, separated, individual self rather than be the image (or society) of God. For a more detailed account of this incident, please see the article called "The Image of God."
The Result of Separation
As soon as man fell away from God, three things happened. Their eyes were opened. They knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Their decision to obtain their own independent knowledge of good and evil apart from God changed everything. They had been created and destined to be God's image and to contain His life and glory. But instead, they chose to have their own life and glory apart from the Source of Life. Their purpose was for God to be their All. Instead, they chose to be their own "all" within their own individual selves. Because they chose to be independent, they were given that independence and the separation that goes with it.
After they ate of the tree, they were immediately separated from God and one another. Then their eyes were "opened." They saw that they were naked. Notice with me that there was no thought of nakedness before their separation. Were they physically naked before the fall? Yes, Genesis 2:25 says that they were both naked. However, they didn't know that they were naked until they were separated as a result of the fall. So the fall brought knowledge of nakedness. When God was their "knowledge," there was no thought of nakedness because He was their covering. When they chose this "new" way of knowledge, they immediately discovered that there was no covering in it at all and they proceeded to manufacture a covering for themselves. Before the fall, God was their covering, after the fall, they were separated from God and one another and therefore lost their covering.
The Loss of Covering
There are two ways in which I can illustrate this loss of covering. When a baby is still in his mother's womb, he is completely covered and protected. His is not naked (in a sense) until he is born and is separated from the womb. Even though he was technically naked in the womb, he did not realize his nakedness until he was separated from his covering. The separated self is always "naked" without God and will always seek to cover itself in some artificial way.
Perhaps a better way to illustrate this is in a house. You don't really need to wear clothes while you are in your house. What I mean is that you are covered and protected as long as you stay in the house. When you leave the house, or are separated from it, you will need a protective covering from the elements.
The Damaged Society
This separation left irreparable damage to God's vision for His own society. Now mankind could not accurately be His image because each individual considered himself to be a community within himself. God banned Adam and Eve from the Garden because He did not want them, in their perverted states, to eat of the Tree of Life. God wanted a society that would contain His own life and live by that divine life. However, Adam's race had fallen into a state of independent selfhood and the image was damaged beyond repair. God could not allow this contaminated race to eat of His life.
The society of man immediately began its spiral downward as we see in the story of Cain and Abel. Self became the all consuming master. Relationships took second place to selfishness as the race quickly became a "me first" society. This "society" was made up of individual rebels all fighting one another with some always dominating others. The dog pile would continue to grow until someone ended up as "king of the hill." Cities and eventually nations were built by this wayward society that was separated from intimacy with God and with one another. Even though this race had been damaged beyond recognition, each individual still had a spirit that had been given to them by God. This spirit instinctively knew that something was wrong and still longed for intimate fellowship with God and with one another. Loneliness and isolation plagued the individuals of this society and most were depressed, oppressed, and felt very alone in the world. Attempting to compensate for this emptiness, they were continuously sewing together fig leaves to try and cover their nakedness.
A Fig Leaf Society
Mankind has always been trying to artificially create a society like the one God wanted. We have our associations, clubs, support groups, and group therapy sessions. We have our towns, cities, nations, political groups, special interest groups, health clubs, business clubs, and clubs of all kinds. We are still sewing fig leaves! What about our "churches"? What about all our Christian clubs, organizations, bible study and prayer groups (ministries)? What about the Tower of Babel? Boy, was that ever a big fat fig leaf!
The harder we try to be together and to fill that void, the more isolated and lonely we become. The church doesn't seem to help because the problem remains the same; just a bunch of isolated individuals who happen to come together for a meeting once or twice a week. There are many lonely people who belong to a church!
So for the last 50 years or so, we have seen the rise of a new "sub-society" within the society of man. I am referring to the corporation. Huge businesses are conglomerating to form the financial entities that will take care of all the individuals needs. Right? Sure, until the business needs to downsize or is bought out by another company. Then the individual is laid off and left out in the cold. So now, because of the abuse of "corporate America" we are seeing the rise of a new kind of society; the virtual community. More and more people are working at home in their own businesses and their only interaction with the society at large is via the internet. Online communities such as chat-rooms, bulletin boards, portals, and so on are flourishing. We are becoming more isolated than ever. Now we don't even have to leave our homes. We can now sew on virtual fig leaves!
None of these attempts at covering ourselves will be successful because nakedness is a result of separation. Only God's society will remedy the situation. In the next article we will take an in depth look at life in the society of God.