It is within the marriage covenant that our hearts deepest desires find their rest and peace: "At last," says Adam, and when we reach that state, so too can we. It is our natural home, our resting place. And as poet T.S. Eliot says, "The end is where we start from." If we are to make it safely home, we must know where we're going. We must have a positive vision for marriage. Kass's question-to marry or not to marry-demands an answer from us if we are to successfully navigate the rest of our romantic lives.
While the absence of shame hints at the freedom Adam and Eve enjoyed, their ‘nakedness' suggests that their relationship is oriented around intimacy. The idea of ‘nakedness' implies that their entire person, body and soul, is open to the other's exploration. But here again their experience is necessarily different than our own: there is no indication that they had to self-consciously uncover themselves. Instead, in their nakedness they seem delightfully unaware of their own selves. Upon seeing her, Adam's first impulse is not to think of himself or his own state, but to praise Eve. Their intimacy is entirely unforced and natural.
The experience of intimacy, then, is not built on "self-revelation." The phrase is too active for what Scripture communicates about their experience. Rather, it is built on the freedom to be themselves without fear of rejection or isolation. The activity comes not from their self-revelation, but from their inquiry into the garden and into each other. They become self-conscious only through their confrontation with the other and the world around them.
Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.