Last post in this series, I wrote about creation myths with the note that I would return in this post to talk about creation from the Christian belief system. Again, as always, the whole point of looking at this is to investigate the human psyche as a naked psyche – our human psychology beneath our clothing and even our skin. Though it took six days for God to finish creating everything out of chaos, I want to focus only on the last, sixth day:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
This is the story of creation that all Christians know well and believe. This creation of the human species did not include the creation of clothing or the necessity of wearing clothing. Our stories of creation tell us that both Adam and Eve were naked in this perfect world, this Garden of Eden.
In this perfect garden, there is no shame, no need for modesty even though both Adam and Eve are without clothing. After all, they are crafted in the image of their creator. The nature of this Garden of Eden, a place where there is nothing but purity tells us that goodness does not come with clothing, that evil does not come with nudity, is a statement of what perfection looks like and acts like. That these two first humans were the images of God made manifest in material form tells us that God, also, is not a being wrapped in layers of clothing as all, an idea that would shock and disgust almost all Christians.
The typical image of God has him wearing long flowing robes that disguise and hide his skin. Other than the fact that this God is fashioned to appear in a male body, there is no hint of his gender other than the beard on his face. Of course, no one has seen this God, so our images of God have him caught in the same mental complexes as ourselves, ashamed of nakedness, disapproving of nudity,
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. [Genesis 3.6]
And so began humankind’s introduction to clothing. With awareness, the dawn of consciousness, there was a corresponding awareness of the human body. That first awareness can be equated with the dawn of consciousness in humans in general. When a baby is born and for quite some time, there is no sense of panic in being naked. Being unclothed is natural and clothing is only a necessity in terms of protection from the elements. With consciousness developing, the messages of parents and society teach the child that nudity is nasty business, that one needs to learn modesty, shame and even fear of their own natural condition. The wounding of humans began with consciousness. And that wounding destroyed our belief in ourselves as perfect beings crafted in the image of a perfect deity.