“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings…Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.’”
Genesis 3:7, 9-10
You ever wonder why Adam and Eve still felt naked after clothing themselves with fig leaves? Perhaps because the Hebrew term for their fig-leaf “loin coverings” is “chagorah,” which literally describes a particular type of garment which back then was the equivalent of underwear covering only the midsection. So those paintings of Eve with fig leaves over both her midsection and chest are incorrect. Going solely by the definition of the Hebrew word translated “loin coverings,” Eve would not have been covered at all above the waist.
If underwear was all we wore when we went out in public, we would feel naked too, wouldn’t we? Keeping that in mind, though, how much difference is there between underwear and the overwhelming majority of today’s swimwear? Let’s be honest. Not much.
Our society increasingly has less familiarity with the concept of modesty and decency. Christians must be different. Christian women are directly commanded to “adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly” (1 Timothy 2:9). All followers of Jesus, both men and women, are told to not place stumbling blocks or temptations to sin in each other’s paths, not walk “in lewdness and lust” and to “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Matthew 18:6-9; Romans 13:13-14). Christians must realize and care that choosing to publicly wear increasingly little during the spring and summer months places lustful temptations in the hearts and minds of many around them.
The world understands. The Rolling Stones sang, “I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes. I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.” We know that intimate desire is awakened by dressing and acting immodestly. That desire is natural and its fulfillment is right within the bounds of marriage (Hebrews 13:4). Yet what happens when it is awakened elsewhere?
Years ago California prosecutors struggled to successfully prosecute some low-life who went to school football games, videotaped the cheerleaders dressed in their miniskirts and midriff-bearing tops as they performed gymnastic and dance routines, and then sold them to lechers on eBay. Since all he was doing was videotaping what they were doing publicly before thousands of people, it was hard to fault him for criminal wrongdoing. Elsewhere sociologist Michael Kimmel, while researching the startling rise of assault and the viewing of violent, hard-core pornography in many university campuses, interviewed hundreds of young men and reported how many of them expressed deep anger and resentment towards young women for constantly “teasing” them through their skimpy clothes and suggestive poses, only to later have the power to deny them fulfillment of the urges brought on by their immodest clothes and actions.
There is no excuse for the immoral, sinister and violent actions and thoughts of lechers like that scum who videotaped these cheerleaders. No justification can be given to any man who would assault or desire to demean in word or thought any woman like those young men Kimmel interviewed. That being said, as the father of two beautiful girls this sobers and quite frankly scares me. I want men to both look at and treat my daughters honorably, like ladies. Yet it is unrealistic of me to expect men to have the inclination to treat my daughters this way if their mother and I do not first teach them to act and dress honorably themselves, like ladies.
God Himself later clothed Adam and Eve in “garments of skins” (Genesis 3:21). The Hebrew for “garments” is “kethoneth,” a word which in biblical times referred to a garment which covered one from shoulders to knees. What a contrast from fig-leaf underwear! That’s in the Bible for a reason, you know. Maybe if we all did things God’s way and dressed and acted more respectably and less immodestly, our society would grow to become the same.