‘Who Told You That You Were Naked?’ By William Combs. A Review


Two lovers in a most glorious setting. They have everything they want. And much more.

For a while life is wonderful for them in the Garden of Eden. No couple could be happier. They are in ecstasy. They stroll and roam the Garden of Eden doing what lovers do. Now and again, the Lord comes visiting. They hear him coming and they delight in his company.

Theologian William Combs recasts in “Who Told You That You Were Naked the story of Adam and Eve, against the background of conventional criticism and explanation. “Adam stooped down, picked up a flat pebble, and tossed it playfully at a tuft of reeds just out from the river bank. The sound of the soft splash was quickly swallowed up in the turbulence of the river (which in time would be named the Euphrates)."

In the opening sentence of the first chapter Combs sets the tone and the pace. Adam is alone in the Garden of Eden. Despite the awesome setting, Adam is bored. He feels lonely. He feels all alone. He tries to make friends with one little animal. But this falls short of his need for a soulmate. God understood his predicament. God casts a spell that sends Adam to a deep slumber.

Moments later Adam awakes. By his side, stood the most wonderful creatures Adam had seen. For Adam and Eve, it was love at first sight. So, began history’s first romance.

Enter the smart and guileful serpent. Which in Combs explanation is Satan himself. The serpent chose his moment carefully when Eve was by herself. The serpent persuaded Eve, who later persuaded Adam, to breach the only one regulation in this realm of bliss. Adam and Eve gain the knowledge the serpent promised. But this knowledge brings them nothing but wore.

Possessed of the knowledge of good and evil Adam and Eve grow suspicious and dissatisfied with each other and with God. Their dissatisfaction and suspicion, Combs carefully notes, occurs at the point at which not one, but both had tasted of the forbidden fruit. It was the moment of disaster for them both. Combs writes “Suddenly, they felt embarrassed and naked in front of each other. Even more distressing, they were ashamed of their nakedness.”

And now the Lord comes visiting. Now unlike before, the couple run and hide from him. God asks them, why? “Because we are naked”, said Adam. According to conventional wisdom, the Lord grew angry and threw them of the Garden of Eden.

William Combs explains. Up to the point where they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were the most innocent people in the world. The action of eating the fruit was not rebellion, Combs explains. It was out of their desire to be like the Lord they so loved and admired. Following the fall, Gods response was not a punishment. In their moment of despair, when they hide from him and he has to seek them out, God seeks way out for Adam and Eve.

This author’s language and grammar are flawless. I give this work a rating of 3 out of 4. Because of its crisp arguments and because of its easy prose. Although there is at times a tendency in the work to be preachy, William Combs has written an engaging work. I recommend this work for students of theology especially.