Adam and Eve had been clothed with a garment of light prior to their sin. They had been made in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26), and God is, Himself, clothed with light, as are the angels.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou
art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light
as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: .
. . Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:"
(Psalm 104:1-2, 4)
Sin took away their beautiful garments of light, and they experienced a sense of chilliness and shame in realizing their nakedness. Though they had not actually worn physical garments prior to their sin, and had been naked all along, they had felt no shame until their sin and guilt changed their relationship with their Creator.
Though Noah's "nakedness" also came as a result of his sinful drunkenness, there is a much deeper issue to the story of Noah and his sons than first meets the eye (read Genesis 9). Notice in the story several points of interest:
- Noah's son Ham is the one said to have "seen" the nakedness of his father.
- Ham was not cursed by Noah.
- Ham's son, Canaan, was cursed.
Now, Canaan was himself never linked to any offense. So why was he cursed? Many point to the first verse of the chapter for the reason:
"And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful,
and multiply, and replenish the earth." (Genesis 9:1)
Would it have been possible for Noah to curse one whom God had blessed?
But it goes deeper still.
The word "nakedness" is defined in scripture, and is broader than we might suppose given our modern definitions. Consider the following:
None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to
uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. The nakedness of thy father,
or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy
mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. The nakedness of thy
father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness."
Now, think about Ham again. Suppose he had simply walked in upon his father, unaware that his father had become drunk and had disrobed. Would his accidental deed have been curse-worthy? But if he had taken opportunity to "uncover" his father's wife's "nakedness," would this not have been a rather different story?
In fact, it seems quite possible that Canaan was the offspring of Ham's misdeed. To have slept with his father's wife would have been to uncover his father's own nakedness, per Biblical definitions. There are parts of the story that are not fully detailed in the Bible, for obvious reasons; but the Bible gives sufficient evidence that Ham's deed was no ordinary thing, and that Noah's "nakedness" was no ordinary nudity either.