2 out of 4 stars
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William E. Comb's book, Who Told You That You Were Naked? is a re-examination of Adam and Eve's disobedience. It is also an argument against some Bible commentaries on the same account and one must have a considerable knowledge of the Bible to read this book. Teachings from this book reveal that the first couple were deceived into believing they would gain the knowledge of good and evil and by this understanding become more like God. In their (The first couple-Adam and Eve)bid to draw closer to their father, they ate the fruit and because of this new acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil, they compared their individual differences with their mate and with the Lord. The feelings of nakedness these comparisons produced resulted in relational and spiritual death (separating them from the Lord and from each other) and fulfilling God's warning; "In the day you eat of it you shall die".More so, the author brings to light some salient points like “who gave the extra instruction not to touch the tree. Adam or Eve?”
The author’s major focus in this book is on the wellspring of sin- the knowledge of good and evil -which he says is the root cause of sin. He further admonishes that when we recognise the root of sin is our mental capacity to discern good and evil, then we can begin to understand we are incapable of overcoming the antagonist (sin).As long as we try, we will be functioning under the law of sin and death. But if we quit trying (i.e. die to sin) and believe there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, then we can live according to the law of the Spirit of life and walk in the light as He(God) is in the light. In addition, He gives new definition to the word ‘sin’, ‘death’, ‘salvation’, and ‘little faith’ as used in the Bible.
What I like most about the book include (i) The study questions for discussion at the end of each chapter (ii) His examination of some areas (e.g. the issue of translations) in the book that may breed conflicting opinions from other Bible commentators/readers (iii)Sharing his personal experiences in the course of his teachings.
My reasons for liking the above mentioned points are (i) His study questions for discussion extend beyond his explanations in the concluded chapter and make the reader an active participant in the topic being discussed. (ii) Examining some areas (i.e. the challenge of having different Bible translations) that may breed conflicting opinions from other Bible commentators and readers puts him in a good light as one who examines his own possible loopholes as you would see later. It also gives possible clues as to how he (the author) made his deductions. (iii) Sharing his personal experiences makes his teachings more practical and one you could easily identify with.
What I like the least about the book are (i) His creation of ADDITIONAL characters and events in the story which makes the story somewhat different and not an EXACT account of what happened that day. E.g. the introduction of the ewe as the first animal to die in the garden of Eden (page 2- 3) brings a lot of possibilities into the story such as (a) That death occurred before God made his pronouncement on Adam and Eve (b) That the animal God slew to clothe them (Adam and Eve) was not the first animal to die etc. Also, what I like least about the book are (ii) His making assumptions that are not clearly stated in the Bible in some of his teachings. E.g. He infers that Adam is convinced into eating the fruit because he doesn’t observe any unusual change in Eve who had eaten the fruit etc.(iii) Basing his examination of the account on just one Bible translation of that account (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) (iv) Devoting a large part of the book discussing the wellspring of sin and a lesser part of the book on the Holy Spirit who helps us overcome it.
My reason for not liking these are (i) when you add to a story, you change the story and create more possibilities. (ii) making assumptions that are not clearly stated in the Bible does not make your argument on that matter valid. (iii) basing his teachings on one translation while there are over 100 Bible translations of the same account makes his argument incomplete.(iv) devoting a large part of the book discussing the wellspring of sin, and a lesser part on the ability of the Holy Spirit points to a problematic approach rather than a curative approach in his writing. Also worth mentioning is that there are some salient points which this book doesn’t tell us. This includes: (i) If this mentality (knowledge of good and evil) was destroyed after the coming of Jesus (ii) What happened to the ability of animals to converse with human beings? (iii)In one of his study questions in chapter 10, he says Satan empowered the serpent to speak to Adam’s wife. This was not stated in Genesis Chapter 3 or anywhere in the book of Genesis. The word Satan is never even mentioned anywhere in Genesis.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I gave it a 2 because his argument might seem right to some people and at the same time wrong to some people. I.e. not everybody will accept it. There are over 100 translations of the Bible and reading each of them (e.g. New King James Version) might yield a different view of what happened so his teaching can be said not to be entirely correct.l did not give him a 4 because he ADDS to the account in the garden of Eden and sometimes makes assumptions that are not clearly stated in the Bible. I did not give him a 3 because some of his arguments were not based on the original rendering of the story without any additions.
This book would appeal most to the Christians especially theologians, Bible commentators, Bible scholars, and several theology/church debate and Bible study groups. It would appeal least to non-Christians and other religions apart from Christianity.
Who Told You That You Were Naked?
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