Intimacy is a term, like many words in our culture, is in need of a closer look. So long as it can be defined in a purely sexual way, then the most important element of purpose and meaning will not be understood or fulfilled in us. Our deepest longings come from a place where intimacy desires a home, if left un-nurtured, a compulsion to more and more of something will never be satisfied. Our lives will be filled with discontent, and temporary fixes will be found in the consumption of things. We will never be happy.
The lesson that we need to draw from the early story of Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden is that intimacy was lost… and every person born since has felt the void that was left in it’s wake. In fact, every story in the Scriptures following Genesis 3 ties back to this event as we humans have not been able to get back to the innocence of the garden.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve experience a perfect intimacy with their creator, their self, each other, and the world around them. They experienced life in a way that you and I have never experienced… and yet it calls to us as an echo in our soul.
After the fall, what Adam and Eve experienced is much more familiar to us. Intimacy was lost as the ultimate reality… and in its place, separation became the norm. Separation from their creator, from themselves, from each other, and from the world around them. Despite how strong we think that we are, to this day separation is the easiest part of life to feed and to maintain. It takes very little for two people in the same room to feel universes apart. It takes very little for someone looking in the mirror to feel as if they are not enough. It takes very little for someone sitting amidst a house full of belongings to feel as if they still don’t have everything that they need.
So, what is intimacy?
In the Hebrew language, the word YADA means: to know. It is the root word to over 600 other experiential words. Emotional words. Psychological words. Action words. Physical words. To know something, or someone is to have experienced in such a way as, a nature and a purpose of what is being known.
When we read in the Scriptures, before the fall, that Adam knew Eve… we can understand that in a time when there was no separation, that every part of that relationship was deep and that understanding and belonging was the norm.
Adam knew Eve.
Eve knew Adam.
Adam and Eve knew their God.
Adam and Eve knew who they were.
Adam and Eve knew the world around them.
Nothing was missing, or lacking. Heaven was experienced in the day to day of life.
It was the given into temptation of discontentment to know more than what they had been given that all of the sudden put them in a place where purity and innocence was lost.
Pure knowing… or pure intimacy was no longer enough, because a hunger for more and more needed to be satisfied.
Discontentment and separation created a sense of shame as they could no longer stand in their nakedness. Deflection and blame followed in the story followed. And within one generation we see jealousy and violence taking hold of the human heart… and ever since then, humanity has been on a journey to satisfy this ever growing hunger for more of things that we do not need.