Adam and Eve's "Nakedness"


I recently read this article here:

It’s an essay by Scott Hahn on the nature of Ham’s sin when he sees Noah’s nakedness.

There are some interesting things that he discusses there, which I wonder may also pertain to the story of Adam and Eve.

Firstly, Scott Hahn says the following on pages 30-31:

“For example, several narrative critics have suggested that Gen 9:20–27 is chiastically linked to Gen 6:1–4, the story of the intercourse of the “sons of God” with the “daughters of men.”24 One story introduces the flood narrative, and the other concludes it; Gen 5:32 continues in Gen 9:28–29, forming an inclusio around the two stories.25 When Gen 9:22 is understood as paternal incest, it becomes clear that the two stories are united by the theme of illicit sexual intercourse as well.”

I would suggest that this inclusio is a subset of a wider incusio beginning at Genesis 2:4 and ending at Genesis 9:29. There are several themes that run throughout this entire set of chapters including: the creation of man (Adam and Eve) and the recreation of man (Noah), man as farmer (Adam created to till the earth, Adam cursed after the fall to labour in tilling the earth, Cain as a wicked husbandman, Noah as a righteous husbandman), obedience (disobedience of Adam, the obedience of Noah), among others.

Notably, in Genesis 2:5-6, we see the introduction to the flood story when it says, "[5] And every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew:** for the Lord God had not rained upon the earth**; and there was not a man to till the earth. [6]** But a spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth.** Then, in Genesis 7:11-12, we see this: [11] In the six hundredth year of the life of Noe, in the second month, in the seventeenth day of the month, **all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood gates of heaven were opened: [12] And the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. **

So, between Genesis chapters 2 and 7, we have this narrative link showing that the Flood rains were the first on earth, prior to which there was a spring that came out of the earth to water it. I might discuss the symbolism of water as a source of life, and it’s ties to baptism, and how the flood is a presage to baptism, cleansing the world. Moreover, the symbolism of arising from the earth versus being rained down by God (Gen 2:5 “God had not rained upon the earth”) is a symbol of the life of man arising from within (inner-communion with God) pre-fall, versus the life of man arising from without (external communion with God through obedience to the Law) post-fall.

However, my point is simply to demonstrate this pericope, this thematic link that stretches between Gen 2 and Gen 9. My reason for doing it is this: I would like to draw a further thematic link between Ham’s seeing the nakedness of his father, and Adam and Eve’s seeing their own nakedness when they sin.

Scott Hahn builds his argument that Ham’s seeing his father’s nakedness is an idiomatic expression that suggests he engaged in maternal incest based on the idea that to see one’s nakedness is the same as to uncover one’s nakedness. On page 29 of the link above, he states:

Indeed, it so happens that the phrase used to describe Ham’s transgression—“to see the nakedness of the father” (ba twr har)—is an idiom for sexual intercourse.15 Leviticus 20:17 equates the idioms “to see nakedness” (hwr har) and “to uncover nakedness”
(hwr hlg):

awh dsj wtwr[Ata hart ayhw htwr[Ata harw . . . wtja ta jqy rayaw
hlg wtja twr[ . . .

If a man takes his sister . . . and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness,
it is a disgrace, . . . he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness.16

In Genesis 3:7, we have the following: “[7] And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons.”

Here, we have both an “uncovering” (their eyes were opened) and a “seeing” of their nakedness, and this seeing is tied specifically to shame, which is why they covered themselves. Admittedly, I am not a Hebrew scholar, and don’t know if the words used here are similar to those used in Leviticus or even the Noah story to describe the seeing of their nakedness, and I would certainly like whatever feedback anyone so schooled could provide, but based on the translation I have, and the thematic links in these chapters, I would suggest that this passage intends to put accross that the nature of Adam and Eve’s sin, their disobedience, was of a sexual nature, and perhaps even, as with the later story, incestuous.




Before I get to that part, I would like to point out some other elements to the story that I think are supportive of this reading. First, both Adam and Eve, and Noah’s family were commanded by God to “be fruitful and multiply.” This command sets the tone of the stories as pertaining to sexual intercourse. Many people think God’s first command to Adam and Eve was to not partake of the fruit of the tree, but that’s not so. His first command was to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28). His second command was to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:16). It is not a stretch to consider that these commands may be linked.

Second, both stories (Adam and Eve, and the sin of Ham) are set in a garden. The reason for Adam’s creation, we’re told in Gen 2:5, is that the earth needs someone to till it. Then God creates man and places him in the middle of a garden of pleasure. Noah is said to be a husbandman, and after the flood, in the newly created world, his first task is to build a vineyard, a kind of “garden of pleasure” (as wine and the vineyard is often symbolic of sexual intercourse and pleasure in the OT). And after Noah has partaken of the fruit of his garden (wine), Ham enters his tent and has sexual intercourse with Noah’s wife. In the Adam and Eve story, the serpent enters the garden and seduces Adam’s wife, then they partake of the fruit.

Thirdly, if we take into consideration the symbolism that is used in Christ’s own redemptive work, we have to admit there are corrolaries. Jesus is the new Adam. He is husband of the Church. The Mass, the Eucharist, is the “bedroom” of the Church, so to speak, it is where we go to have communion with our Lord, where He offers Himself to us in fullness, as husband, His body, blood, soul and divinity. And in this most intimate encounter, we consume His blood in the form of wine, “fruit of the vine, work of human hands.”

Lastly, I would suggest the possibility of incest in this way: in Genesis 2:25, immediately after Eve was created, and Adam proclaimed her to be bone and flesh of his own, and called her woman because she came out of man, and this is why a man shall cleave to his wife and the two be one flesh, we are told: “[25] And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed.” I posit that the implication here is that they engaged in sexual intercourse here, and that it was good. This is important, because there are many who assert that right from the get-go, Jewish mythology establishes human sexuality to be something evil. This here would imply the contrary, that they had intercourse, and were not ashamed. They engaged in good intercourse.

If this is so, it may be that they had children prior to the fall, and that the fall itself may have been a case of incest between parents and children, mirrored in the “new creation” of Noah’s generation. The first sin after Noah and his family proceed from the ark is incest. This may also answer the age old questions: who did Cain marry? and who were the “Sons of God” who married the “Daughters of Men?”



Yes. Does Scott do all this complex unearthing for the glory of God or for the glory of Scott?


That’s rather judgmental of you. I wouldn’t pretend to know Scott Hahn’s heart.


It seems that knowledge of Scripture is knowledge of God. Why would you denigrate someone who is attempting to advance the knowledge which Catholics have of our own Bible so that we may draw closer to the Lord in His mysteries?

I have been attending Great Adventure Bible studies for several years now at my parish. And I can promise you that it has expanded my spiritual world in ways I never thought possible. I now deeply understand many of the readings given at Mass when before I only knew their literal, superficial meanings. It takes a good deal of scholarship to be grounded in Sacred Scripture. Perhaps if you took some Bible study classes and spent your time in study, you would realize that, and you would not poke fun at someone who does understand.


I was simply asking a question. If I had to bet, though, my money would go on Scott’s glory.


“Robertanthony” seems content on projecting his anger and apparent envy onto others.

He could care less about the subject, he’s simply trolling.




Here, Here.
Dr. Hahn is about as grounded in Scripture as I’ve seen. I wouldn’t dismiss any opinion he might have, because all his others have been real eyeopeners for me.
You don’t get to be a professor of theology at a Catholic university by being a crackpot. :rolleyes: (or a glory hound as was suggested.)


In regards to the OP.
Granted Dr. Hahn’s scholarship and credentials I’ll grant him the deference due his position and say that its possible that there may have been incest somewhere, but in the Garden?

I understand that there is precedent in the idea that males represented in Jewish culture the prime place of representation before God, so that when “man” is used in the singular if often means both men and women and children.

But in verse 24 of Genesis 3 the Scripture speaks of “man” being expelled from Eden. This would obviously mean Adam and Eve. But does this mean that they had other offspring as well? I’m not so sure.

Did they have relations in the Garden before the Fall? Why wouldn’t they? I don’t think that that is at all impossible but rather very probable.

But children are a gift of God, and if God foresaw the Fall, I don’t think that He would have granted a pregnancy to Eve, nor does it necessarily follow that Adam or Eve expected it. There’s no mention of Adam and Eve begetting children until after the Fall. And I think that is what we should stick with.


Just as a matter of clarification, Scott Hahn isn’t saying the bulk of the OP. I’m simply drawing on his material about the sin of Ham to draw conclusions about the Garden story. As I said though, I’m not a Hebrew scholar, so I would wonder if the same words about nakedness there are the same as n Leviticus, which is normally meant to indicate incest.

Even if you remove the incest past of the OP, i’d like to hear your thoughts about the sin being essentially sexual in nature.


I grant that it’s a stretch to consider things like that, primarily because we are not told anything to suggest it in the accounts of the story. I tend to agree with you.
The real mystery is the “sons of God and the daughters of men”. In Genesis 6:1-4, Heavenly beings came down and were with human women, thus creating ‘mighty warriors’.I don’t see how he equates this with the incest.
Sorry, Dr. Hahn, you’re stretching me a little there too.:frowning:


I could see as a possibilty, the last paragraph of page 38 in the Salvation History journal. It theorizes that Noah went into “her tent”, and, having disrobed in anticipation of intercourse, was incapaitated by drunkeness. Then, Ham entered and, “seeing his father’s nakedness”, laid with Noah’s wife, thus initiating the incest. That would merit a curse in my mind.


No no no, Scott Hahn isn’t saying any such thing.


I’ve read that the “sons of God” were not angels but the descendants of Seth who "called upon the name of the Lord(thus continuing the line of Adam who maintained faith in God); that these sons intermarried with the daughters of Cain and eventually adopted their gods.


Yes, I see that in the Douay Rheims notes about the descendants of Seth and Enos marrying the daughters of Cain. I need to spend more time on that bible than the New American.
I apologize, Mr. Snaith, for taking over your thread :D. I’ll just hang back and observe for awhile.


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