These last words of today’s reading reflect a wonderful understanding of the beauty inherent in the sexuality of men and women. Man and woman were naked before each other and had no shame. This original innocence is in sharp contrast to the shame at their nakedness they experience after disobeying God’s command not to eat of the tree in the center of the garden. What does it tell us about human sexuality?

 

God created humanity male and female – therefore there are two ways of being human – one with a male body, the other with a female body. These two ways of being human complement one another. In one sense there is something lacking in the individual that is only made complete with the addition of the other. It is this complementarity that forms the basis of the relationship of husband and wife who together can fully image the creative love of God through the act of sexual intercourse which then gives rise to the possibility of the creation of new life. Nakedness without shame expresses a certain unity of the two that is broken when sin enters into the world. One of the first consequences of sin is that the relationship between man and woman turns to one of distrust – Adam blames Eve for the sin and refuses to take responsibility for his own action.

 

In the punishments of Gen 3 we see reflected the experience of humanity whereby man tends to dominate the woman. The relationship of unity and trust is gone forever and only the Sacrament of Marriage remains as a remnant of the original innocence and unity. The beauty and freedom of human sexuality gives way to an experience of domination and lust that damages both the individual and the couple and even wider society. The fundamental health of a society is directly related to the health of family life. If family life is not protected, then it will not be long before there are big problems in the wider society.

 

The first three chapters of Genesis have much to commend to us in the way of material for reflection. How can I better come to understand the truths that God is presenting to me through these chapters and apply them to my life?

 

Holy Spirit, incline my mind to the truth and my heart to the Father’s love so that I will be both formed by God’s Word and immersed into his love and truth.