4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Who Told You That You Were Naked? A Refreshing Reexamination of the Garden of Eden By William E. Combs.
When first viewing this book the title alone should lend some good clues to its content. The words Who Told You That You Were Naked? will be used in a repeated theme that “Reexamines” the definition of original sin throughout the book. A theme that is indeed a Reexamination of the Garden of Eden and the story of Genesis given by a well written and knowledgeable author. One with a “Refreshing” new view to some very old ideas. I would say that this book is acceptable for all audiences as well. Though religious titles and books may turn off some individuals with the possibility of judgmental, fire and brimstone or the opposing, more pollyannish ideas. This one may not as the author is able to make God, Adam and Eve more relatable to us as regular humans. This also lends a more relaxed feel and positive viewpoint to the book which may help people feel more comfortable with the subject matter. William E. Combs experience as a minister comes across as warm and educated and his writing is very good.
The title is better explained in the first four chapters where sin and the relationship between Adam and God is described. Once the sin is committed, Adam is asked by the Lord “who told you that you were naked?” pg. 27. The author proceeds to explain this question by use of a more gentler and patient, fatherly God who does not condemn but asks Adam to question his own assessment of himself. The point is not that he is naked, but why he thinks it is shameful since the Lord had not told him being naked was bad. For example, in the quote below, the author could not say it any better.
This theme of the explanation of sin continues throughout the book and leads the reader to begin to develop a new viewpoint about the Biblical story of Genesis. What God actually meant, what the sin actually is defined as, and what the punishment really entailed.We need to hear the Lord asking us, “Who told you that
you need to be thinner, younger, healthier, prettier, more athletic,
more intelligent, one who speaks with more confidence,
have a better sense of humor, with fewer zits, a bigger home
in a more upscale neighborhood, a more important job with
a larger paycheck, a newer, faster, or classier car, more stylish
clothing, more influential friends, or more time to devote to
the things you want to do?” pg.51
As I read I realized I had questions about certain areas of the author's interpretations. For example, in Chapter 2 I wondered why Eve did not hide her nakedness or think she was bad until Adam did as well. Surprisingly, the author addresses this very question later on page 25. Another example would be the question of a child's involvement in the arena of sin and this is addressed in the chapter on God's truth. Not only were my personal questions answered as a reader, but the author has provided study guide questions at the end of each chapter. This was nice as the book flowed more like a text book where you can refresh what you read after you read it.
The author also touches on the various steps to bring oneself closer to God. Even in these sections, these steps are gentler explanations as to why God would act in calmer and more forgiving manner towards His children. In Chapters 5 through 10 the reader is not only given these steps, but examples based on Biblical and scholarly references, and personal testimonies. In fact, while reading the chapter on faith (page 82 to be exact) I came to a revelation that many may already have found. I was reminded not to ignore the revelations that God would reveal after the works or during the works as encouragement to continue. The works being those things one has to do like school, work or charity. Sometimes continuing on in the way you feel God wants you to is not always pleasant and one can get mired down or depressed if things are not happening as fast as one would like or expect. In these instances it is easy to miss small things coming from the Lord that would pick you up and keep you going. It was the author's explanations which led me to this revelation.
In the chapter on the freedom that is gained by faith in God, Combs once again made me think. After reading the explanation which came after the following Bible passage,
I thought of possession. Possession of an empty human vessel (us) by the spirit of Jesus Christ. I also believe that it would be much better to let the spirit of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit to fill any holes that a demonic spirit could possibly fill. I appreciated this visual by the writer and will definately keep it in mind for the future. If your a person who never quite understood the Holy Spirit in general, the author gives a wonderful interpretaion of it with this quote found on pg. 108. “Jesus said both He and His Father will communicate their perception of the situation we face to the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit will direct our paths by revealing to us what He hears.” Also interesting is a concept brought into play in the first paragraph on page 127 where the author points out that Jesus may be talking to you and you just don't recognize His voice. In the author's explanations, God speaks in different voices to different people and I found this to be as refreshing as the title would initially imply.I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20) pg. 101.
The peace that belief in God is another one of the many topics addressed in Chapter 7 and here the Combs provides us with yet another new or possibly unnoticed perception. In the following quote he addresses the concept of peace as a shield or guard.
“Paul asked those reading his letter to follow Christ's example and work out their own salvation roles -their own walk in the way- in fear and trembling” pg. 143. This quote further emphasizes the need to reexamine the story of Genesis. The story of the very beginning of it all, the very perception of sin and God Himself, and Combs does it wonderfully. From Adam and Eve's first perceptions of what God meant when He told them about the consequences of eating, or even touching the fruit; to the different ways a person could hear God's voice. To the way they will be guided by Him to walk in His ways... Each is individualistic and I really appreciated the way the author emphasizes this in many areas of the book. I can see where the story of the garden would need to be revisited as the common view of God is that He will only speak to you if you do certain things, or act in certain ways involving sin. In Who Told You That You Were Naked? A Refreshing Reexamination of the Garden of Eden, William E. Combs gives a more humanistic view of our Lord as a father figure and definitely lends common sense to the equation. The writing was creative and well done. I give it 4 out of 4 stars.because the Lord is with us in the circumstance we are facing.
Instead of being anxious, he encourages us to present our requests
to God by prayer and humble petition with thanksgiving.
If we do, the peace of God—the same peace Christ promised
His disciples—will guard our hearts and minds in Christ
Jesus pg. 136.
Who Told You That You Were Naked?
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like Blackbeez's review? Post a comment saying so!