There were no masks, posing, or facades between Adam and Eve before the brokenness of sin entered the world. This is hard for us to imagine. Adam and Eve’s exterior and interior were naked and unashamed. They could intuit each other’s humanity. They could see the real in each other. They saw into each other’s depths.
How wonderful to have nothing to hide, no diseased introspection or interior dialog wondering how they appeared to one another. The only mirror that existed was that which was in each other’s eyes. The gaze Adam had longed for was now fully and completely returned in the eyes of Eve.
God is not a sexual being and yet we can see the significance in how He biologically created those who would bear His image. Because He is a Triune God and in relationship with Himself, we can know that He delights in companionship and He surely took great joy in presenting Adam and Eve to each other.
In giving Eve to Adam and the knowing they both experienced with each other, Adam experienced an intimacy he had previously not known. This intimacy was expressed and experienced in all aspects of their lives. They were integrated, completely connected not only with each other but also with God. There were no barriers or veiling between the two of them. They affirmed, blessed, and called forth each other’s masculinity, femininity, and honored each other’s personhood.
Unfortunately, the word “intimacy” in our culture now has a narrowed association to the sensual, to sexual activity. Its wonderful nuances and breath of meaning has been lost. In the Garden, intimacy was true and real. It was experienced on multiple levels. Oneness went beyond mere sexual union—it was a key part of life experienced mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. True intimacy is at the core of our existence but has been lost. We are always seeking it. True intimacy, in-to-me-see, was intricately woven into the tapestry of our being from the beginning of the world.
This intimacy that we crave, seek and long for is the culminating result of God being love.
Think about the relief your idols provide: Is your desire truly and deeply satisfied, or does the relief come more through the temporary absence of desire?
– John Eldredge, Journey of Desire
God IS love…not merely the concept of love or a cognitive principle. And for love to be genuine, it cannot be unto itself. Love, if it is real, has to be expressed and therefore must be in relationship. God’s Trinitarian expression reveals the very essence of love. Love is being constantly experienced in all its dimensions, as giver and recipient, between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Can you imagine that? And we have been invited into this amazing relationship through Jesus, the One who walked through the doorway of eternity and entered into our history to bring us again true intimacy and relationship with God.
To know and be known
God desired for His creation to know Him, not merely know about Him. I can read an autobiography and know facts about an individual, but in reality I truly do not know them.
Innate to “knowing” is being in relationship and this takes us back to the reality of God being love. Because we as humans are made in His Image, the expression of love relationally is at the core of our being. Our deepest desire is to know and be known by God. That which Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden was buried after the fall and has been passed down to us. If we look at ancient cultures, why did so many create gods and goddesses? I think it is an innate expression of searching to be known by God.
A second desire passed down to us is the desire to know and be known by others. Of course this manifests itself physically, but it goes far beyond the physical. The true intimacy experienced in the Garden is the deep desire within all of us to be in relationship. We cannot know the depths of relational loss Adam and Eve felt after they were expelled from the Garden. The loss of intimacy they had previously experienced with God must have been devastating to them, in addition to the barriers that now existed between the two of them.
There is a quote attributed to G.K. Chesterton which paraphrased says “Every man knocking on the door of a brothel is knocking for God.” I firmly believe a misdirected love for God is at the root of every sexual and relational brokenness. I have heard noted author and speaker Leanne Payne say many times that at our core we were designed to be worshippers. If we do not worship God, then we will worship someone or something else. It’s part of our DNA! Everyone is searching for true intimacy but many go to the wrong sources.
Our hearts yearn for fulfillment but we settle for instant gratification. We are distracted by the earthly, the finite, when our hearts are hungering for the divine infinite. The ache deep within is what drives us but we lack comprehension of what lies beneath. In his book The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge says “Think about the relief your idols provide: Is your desire truly and deeply satisfied, or does the relief come more through the temporary absence of desire?” That desire is the ache within us to be known.
The drive for intimacy and worship are what opens us up to the divine or the earthly, to the infinite or finite. TV Reality shows are extremely popular and perhaps their popularity is connected to the desire to know others. As we watch others live their lives before us, we vicariously are trying to know them. There are a plethora of these kinds of programs which place people in fantasy settings but that’s all it is. The result is false intimacy. The art of knowing is counterfeited and condensed into a methodical, non-reality and choreographed illusion.
We must become spiritually aware of our true hunger. We must understand what was lost in the Garden and what Jesus has done to restore it. When the draw to addictions or broken relationships arises, we need to stop and recognize the true drive behind the ubiquitous urge and go to the One who can help us.
Jesus, help me to recognize at the core of this temptation is the real desire to know You and others. Help me line up my desires with Yours. Help me to not settle for false intimacy but lead me to the source for true intimacy. Fulfill my desire to know and be known. Help me not to settle for the finite! Meet me in this place and satisfy that which You imparted to the core of my being.
We seek true intimacy with the One who knows us better than we know ourselves and who desires to be in relationship with us. He desired it so much, that He came Himself to restore it. When you are tempted to seek intimacy in other sources, invite Jesus instead and seek to know Him as He knows you.