A continued look at Genesis 3 shows that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned against God, they experienced internal shame, guilt, and brokenness. They suffered the natural consequences of working against their design. ‘They realized they were naked’ (verse 7). This is the opposite of verse 25 in chapter 2, where we read that Adam and Eve had been, as we often put it today, ‘naked and unashamed.’ Old Testament scholar David Atkinson writes: ‘Shame… is that sense of unease with yourself at the heart of your being.’ We know there is something wrong with us, but we can’t admit it or identify it. There is a deep restlessness, which can take various forms – guilt and striving to prove ourselves, rebellion and the need to assert our independence, compliance and the need to please others. Something is wrong, and we may know the effects, but we fall short of understanding the true causes.
Contemporary Western culture tries to account for this restlessness without recourse to the biblical doctrine of sin. Psychologists help us understand the part our early childhoods have played in creating unnecessary shame or a sense of being unloved. Entertainment distracts us from our discomfort. And doing good helps bolster our identity as a good person. But the Bible locates the root issue as our separation from God.
– Tim Keller