The unarrival of the rapture on May 21, 2011 got me thinking about how the rapture would actually appear if it ever takes place. We are told that when the rapture occurs believers will be whisked away to heaven with their clothes left strewn on the ground where they were located at that exact moment. I imagine heaven would then be filled with numerous naked devout Christians.
It’s hard to reconcile the common interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve and the fall from grace in the Book of Genesis with a rapture that results in numerous naked believers. After all, the first thing Adam and Eve did after eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge (of right and wrong) was to hide their nakedness in shame.
To be shamed by one’s behavior requires a knowledge of right and wrong. One may be embarrassed by doing something incorrectly but only can only be shamed by doing something immoral. The first image of shame in monotheism’s first holy book is of Adam and Eve hiding their nakedness. Christian and Jewish philosophy has taken this story to find shame in the naked human form. That the rapture involves myriad naked believers is quite ironic.
I find it quite unfair that Adam and Eve were condemned by both God and posterity for disobeying God. If they had no knowledge of right and wrong, how can their disobedience be morally culpable? Only after eating this forbidden fruit could issues of moral culpability be relevant. Still, one can understand their sense of shame now that they understood their behavior was disobedient of God. However are we learning a slightly inaccurate lesson from Adam’s and Eve’s first actions after eating the forbidden fruit? Perhaps their act of using fig leaves to hide their nakedness isn’t a recognition that their nudity was shameful. Instead the use of these fig leaves to cover up could be seen a metaphor for “covering up” their shame. After all, it is common human behavior to “cover up” actions when one is ashamed of them.
I’ve never understood why nudity is shameful. The rapture seems to have no problem with nudity. Perhaps we are taking the metaphor of the fig leaf coverings in Genesis 3 as more literal than it is intended to be.