It Had Been The Simplest of Commands

It had been the simplest of commands—
You can eat all this, but not that.

And with their disobedience,
Adam and Eve demonstrated
Once and for all that humans—
Even the ones made directly
By the very hand of God—
Do not come ready-made
To live with God, but need
Some preparation.

It was not a Fall, but a discovery—
As far as Adam and Eve were concerned.
And as for God’s part in it,
I believe he let it play out as
A perpetual demonstration—
As a tableau for all time—
On which we may reflect
And from which we can learn about
Why we are here—
If we are so disposed as to want
To know the actual truth of the matter.

It was after they sinned that they would realize
They had been created naked—
And not just in the one way, but in two—
For they would need to put on
Some clothes right away for this world.
And for the next, they would need to put on
The Garment of Righteousness.

And I believe the tree from which
They had stolen the fruit
Had been named for what
They would get when they sinned—
For sinning here is how humans
Learn for themselves
What is good and what is not—
That is, until they learn
To learn such things simply from
Listening to God instead—
Which Adam and Eve did not
Know at first.

And it continues to this day—
This test of every man and woman—
Whether they will learn from
Listening to God’s words—
Or at least from what happens
When they do not.

And so it goes, down to this very day,
That everyone born of woman
Still needs two kinds of clothes
If they are to go on after his life on Earth.

The metaphors of being naked versus being clothed, and of having new clothes versus old clothes, are very common throughout the scriptures. Throughout the millennia, God and his prophets have been counseling humans to clothe themselves with righteousness. This plays out in the various sayings of Jesus, as well as in the writings of the apostles. Here are a few passages from which we may learn such things, if we are interested.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:11-14. NIV

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:14-24

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c]7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:5-17. ESV

17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

Revelation 3:17-18. ESV

(“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)

Revelation 16:15. ESV

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:2. ESV

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