William Blake Gets It
In my prior post on marriage and creation, I noted that this last line of Genesis 2 is not discussed in my 6th grade class: 'And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.' But I want to comment on its importance, as I used to when teaching adults the same material.
As we know, this verse closes the Creation story, which ascends from lesser creation (light, earth, plants) to the highest: men, women, and their oneness in marriage. Chapter 3 starts right off with the Fall, so the last words of Chapter 2 are as good as it gets in Paradise.
The Fall, of course, made a mess of all Creation: we endure sin, killing, tornadoes, death, disease, misery of every stripe. Still, within this broken world, a man and his wife can both be naked, and not be ashamed. This last-described characteristic of life in sinless Eden persists beyond Eden into our world of sin. And for me this is a big, big deal. Obviously in Eden, Adam and Eve were sinless in every way. But Genesis specifically mentions just this one particular way that they were sinless, i.e., 'not ashamed.'
Through this verse I imagine marriage as an 'Eden bubble' where there is still a real link to the prior state we miss, and to which we hope to return. A real link, not symbolic. That's why, ummm, marital relations are so otherworldly, transcendent: it's how humans maintain a physical continuity with our ancient sinless existence. In a world separated from, and driven out of Paradise, this one thing isn't. And by no accident, it's the thing that continues the creation that started there.
It's too bad I haven't figured out a way to say this to the kids.
Coda: (music) A passage which brings a movement or piece to a conclusion through prolongation.