This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.The Koran records the temptation, deception, and fall of mankind. Recording it from Satan's perspective, Muhammad writes,
"Then Satan whispered to them, to reveal to them that which was hidden from them of their shameful parts [nakedness]. He said, 'Your Lord has only prohibited you from this tree lest you become angels, or lest you become immortals.'" (Koran 7:19)The Jewish scriptures tell us nothing of the intent of Satan when he appeared to deceive Adam and Eve. However, the Jewish narrative of the event does not seem to support the claim of Muhammad that the Devil's motive was to reveal to the man and the woman that they were really naked, as if they did not know it already. It appears from the scriptures that the Devil had a two part plan, first to get the man and the woman to doubt God and then to get them to disobey God; the end result being their forfeiture of life, their separation from God, and their expulsion from the Garden. When Satan came to Eve, he asked her, "has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1) something he well know God had not said. Eve responds by correcting the Devil's error, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" (Genesis 3:2-3) At this point, the Devil openly charges God with lying and lying for His own purposes and to the harm of the man and woman. "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4-5) The temptation was never that they would become angels for they could no more become an angel as they could become a fish. Nor was the temptation that they would live forever for they had eternal life as long as they partook of the Tree of Life which was also in the center of the garden with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The temptation he used was that they would be like God in wisdom and knowledge; knowing right from wrong.
Muhammad records the actual fall and its immediate results as follows.
"So he led them on by delusion [deceits]; and when they tasted the tree, their shameful parts [nakedness] revealed to them, so they took to stitching upon themselves leaves of the Garden." (Koran 7:21)
"Let not Satan tempt you [bring you into trouble] as he brought your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their garments [raiment] to show them their shameful parts [nakedness]." (Koran 7:25)Muhammad implies that, though they were naked, somehow their nakedness was hidden from them. He refers to their outer raiment being stripped from them as they partook of the forbidden fruit, and that, as they discovered they were naked, they were ashamed and tried to hid their shame by covering up their nakedness.
The scriptures in no way indicate that Adam and Eve were somehow deceived about their nakedness, that they did not know they were naked, or that they had some kind of outer clothing that covered their nakedness prior to their fall. The scriptures clearly say that, "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:25) No mention of not knowing they were naked and no mention of any clothes to cover their nakedness. After their sin, it says that, "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 3:7) This is a fairly enigmatic scripture and hard to understand being nearly six thousand years separated from the events which it records. For one scripture seems to indicate that they knew they were naked and were not ashamed, yet the other speaks of their eyes being opened and them seeing their nakedness. What did they see which they had not seen before? How did their perception of their nakedness change from when they saw it and were not ashamed? I think the secret lies in their action and their reaction.
The result of them seeing their nakedness was to sew fig leaves together to cover their private parts. This reminds me of another man who covered himself lest people should see him. "It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai... that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him... When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face." (Exodus 34:29-31, 33) Paul says that Moses veiled himself, "so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away." (2 Corinthians 3:13) I believe that, in the same way, Adam and Eve, prior to their sin, shown with the glory of God and, in this glory, they were not ashamed of how God had made them, for He had made them naked and they were not ashamed. However, after their sin, this glory failed and the recognized what they lost. Their naked flesh apart from the radiant glory of God testified to them of their sin and they sought to hide their unradiant flesh lest everyone should know what they had done.
I believe this is further evidenced by their response to God when they heard Him passing by. They hid themselves and when God asked why Adam said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." (Genesis 3:10) Their response was not shame but fear. They were not ashamed that they were naked but they feared God for their nakedness testified of the sin they had committed. The end result was not, as Muhammad claimed, the revelation of their shameful parts (how can one be ashamed of what God has created) but the fear of judgment that was the result of their sin. Any shame that was there was not the shame of nakedness but the shame of sin, the shame of failure, and the shame of disobedience.
More to come...