Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and the first thing they realized was that they were naked. What does it mean to know yourself naked? To be naked means to be vulnerable and easily damaged. Naked means unprotected and subject to judgment. Thus Adam and Eve became ashamed. Their vulnerability was on display. They could be hurt. They then sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. That means that they protected themselves from something from the world as well as from the world.
When they heard the sound of God moving about in the garden later, the man and the woman hid themselves. We can identify with that sentiment. The weak is shamed by strength. The ugly is shamed by beauty. The living is shamed by death. The ideal shames the imperfect and that means all of us. Thus we fear the ideal, resent it, and even hate it. Hatred of the ideal pushed Cain to murder. But for the majority of us, what we do is to hide ourselves in shame from the ideal. Recognizing their vulnerability, Adam and Eve felt unworthy to stand before God. So they hid themselves.
“Adam, where are you?” God asks, and Adam replies, “I heard you God but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.” God asks, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten the fruit I forbade you to eat?” Adam replies, “The woman you put here with me, gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” In his wretchedness, he points at his love and soul-mate, Eve, and snitches on her. He did not stop there. He went on to blame God. Adam is accurate. And he is pathetic.
The consequence of the fall from grace is not over yet. First, God curses the serpent, telling him he shall crawl on his belly and eat dirt all the days of his life. Second, he tells the woman that the pangs of her childbearing will be intensified and she shall bring forth children in pain, yet she shall desire her husband who shall be her master. What might this mean? Well, women experience pain in childbirth. That is to say nothing of the risk of death for mother and infant. And that is not all. The fetal baby is almost completely dependent on his mother for everything during his first year. This child must be trained until he is eighteen (or thirty) before being pushed out of the nest. This all means that women pay a high price for pregnancy and childbearing, especially in the early stages. This has an inevitable consequence: the increased dependence of the woman upon the sometimes unreliable man.
That is for Eve. God turns to Adam, “In toil shall you eat the yield of the ground all the days of your life. As you eat of the plants of the field, the ground shall bring forth thorns and thistles. You shall get bread to eat by the sweat of your face all the days of your life.” What does this mean? It means that because the man’s eyes have been opened, he now has a godlike vision. He can now see far into the future. As good as that may seem, it comes with its problems. Because the man can see into the future, he can see trouble coming. Because he can see trouble coming, he has to prepare for all possibilities and contingencies. For the man to do that he will have to sacrifice the present for the future all the days of his life. He will have to put aside pleasure for security. Simply put, he will have to work. Man, being awake and knowing he is vulnerable has to do that which animals do not – work. Work is invented. It is the end to unconsciousness and paradise. In the name of work, man will keep trying to solve problems.
No matter how many problems you solve so as to make today free from problems, you have a lot of problems coming up. And no matter how much you work, you are never going to work enough to solve all the problems coming up. Hence you are terrified of the future. And that is the price of waking up.