Several years ago, as an adult Sunday School teacher, I was asked this question during a bible study in Genesis 3:
“Why was it, that after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, the first thing they noticed was that we’re NAKED? Weren’t they ALWAYS naked?”
“Well yes,” I answered.
“But before they ate of the tree…they didn’t think about it. They were innocent; their hearts were pure.”
Genesis 2:25 (AMP):
“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.”
Have you ever noticed little children? Sometimes they strip off all their clothes and begin running naked all through the house. They’re not worried about being naked, one bit.
They have no shame. But why?
One commentator noted:
“Two-year-olds don’t see any difference between (their) face, (their) knees, and the parts of (their) body which we adults insist that (they) cover. Only adults feel that certain parts of the body must be covered. Because those parts are connected with physical lust and passions” (Chaya Sarah Silberberg, Chabad.org).
You see, before Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, their hearts were PURE–nothing needed to be covered.
But once they ate of the FRUIT…that all changed. Their HEARTS–MINDS were now tainted by sinful thoughts they had never considered before.
JESUS said “…out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs)…”
You see, there were NO evil thoughts inside them UNTIL…they ate of the FRUIT.
But afterwards, the KNOWLEDGE they gained…SHAMED them.
But it gets worse!
The couple’s new-found knowledge separated them from God.
THE FINAL PUNISHMENT from their disobedience of God’s command (Gen. 2:17) upon Adam and Eve was for them to leave His presence (Gen. 3:23,24):
23 So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt of which they’d been made. 24 He threw them out of the garden…
Yep! God kicked them out!!! He evicted them from their home.
But God didn’t completely turn His back on them. Before God sent them away, He gave them a SPECIAL GIFT:
Genesis 3:21: “…the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins and clothed them.”
Now when I read the words here, I thought this was interesting:
1st, Adam and Eve ALREADY had clothes–FIG LEAVES.
Genesis 3:7 tells us that “…they knew they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (English Standard Version – ESV)..
You know, I’ve seen many different kinds of leaves over my lifespan; I even once tried to grow a FIG TREE in the backyard BUT I have yet to see any LEAF that I’d feel very comfortable with wearing out in public. And apparently, these particular leaves didn’t do much more for Adam and Eve.
When GOD comes walking in the Garden and finds the couple hide themselves…and when GOD calls out and asks Adam where he’s at, look at how Adam replies:
“I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was afraid because I was NAKED; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10).
Think about that!
Up until that moment they thought their fig leaf aprons were doing the job. But suddenly the LEAVES…leave them feeling NAKED…EXPOSED.
SO WHEN did Adam realize his fig leaves were not enough; making them feeling NAKED? (when God came visiting)
It was when Adam found himself in God’s Presence that he realized his man-made coverings were not enough.
NAKEDNESS has been the symbol of our sinfulness ever since the Garden.
Whenever a person’s SINS are discovered, we say they have been EXPOSED/REVEALED.
JESUS warns us NOT to be found “naked and exposed” when He comes again:
“BEHOLD, I am going to come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake (alert) and who guards his clothes, so that he may not be naked and [have the shame of being] seen exposed!” (Revelation 16:15 AMP)
I think most people understand this reality of “being exposed”.
They know their “nakedness”…they know their own sin/shame personally. They even may be merrily living their lives, working out in the garden one day, doing something in the house, or working at the local grocery store and suddenly…it hits them out of the blue; A THOUGHT will overcome them reminding them of a something they’d said, done or thought in the past that brings a sudden wave of SHAME over their lives.
Genesis 3:11: And GOD SAID, “Who told you that you were naked?”
I just love that verse, which brings me back to the peruvial “THE GENESIS QUESTION” presented in Genesis 3:1:
And he [Satan] said to the woman,
“Can it really be that God has said…?”
In Henry M. Morris’ book, The Genesis Record, he writes this commentary:
The approach of Satan (through a serpent) to the woman was a masterpiece of effective subtly. Catching her when she was alone, without Adam to counsel and warn her, probably one day when she was admiring the beautiful fruit trees in the garden, he first insinuated something which neither she nor Adam had even imagined before, namely, that it was possible for a creature to question God’s Word, “that God has said?” In other words, “Did God really say such as that!” Note the slightly mocking superior condescension to Eve’s “naive” acceptance of God’s command, a technique followed by Satan and his human emissaries with great success ever since. This first suggestion that God could be questioned was accompanied by an inference that God was not quite as good and loving as they had thought. “He has not allowed you to eat the fruit of every tree, has He? Why do you suppose He is withholding something from you like that?
If one studies each situation closely, you will find that SIN always begins by questioning either the Word of God or the goodness of God, or both.
So the 1st thought-provoking thing that came to me about the story of ADAM & EVE was that they ALREADY had clothes; they just weren’t very good clothes and were man-made.
The 2nd thing that’s thought-provoking here was God supplied their clothing. He gave them clothing that He made for them. GOD DID IT ALL–they did nothing. All they did was to put on the clothes and even more interesting was the KIND of clothing God supplied–ANIMAL SKINS.
Genesis 3:21 says, “…the Lord made long coats (tunics) of skins and clothed them.”
Now where would God get skin off an animal? It’s got to die!
When God called these animals to cover Adam and Eve’s NAKEDNESS–their Shame–it became the beginning of animal sacrifices. Animal Sacrifices were made throughout the Old Testament to pay for SIN.
The LAW OF MOSES repeatedly taught the Israelites that every SIN that they committed was punishable by DEATH. But since everyone sinned, God allowed them to PAY for their sins by OFFERING UP a Sacrifice a pure and spotless animal in their place.
Hebrews 9:22 tell us “..without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins.”
Leviticus 17:11 taught “…for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life [which it represents].”
In order for God to give mankind forgiveness…something had to die.
But why would God have an animal die for ADAM & EVE? Well, God had created the animals FOR them. One of these gentle companions God had given them had to DIE to cover their NAKEDNESS.
A PRICE had to be PAID for their SIN and BLOOD, which is the life of the sacrificial animal was the dearest price that could be paid.
And so, the animals that God used to make Adam and Eve’s garments are the FIRST DEATHS on earth. Nothing else had ever died before this. They were literally the FIRST SACRIFICES ever made in man’s history.
One person has rightly noted that God made the FIRST and the LAST Sacrifices for man’s sin.
Here in the Garden of Eden, God sacrificed the FIRST innocent animal to cover sin.
And it was on Mount Calvary, God made the LAST sacrifice, His sinless son, to COVER sin.
In the garden, God supplied Adam and Eve with garments. His GIFT to them involved the DEATH of an innocent animal.
His GIFT to us, involved the GIFT of His Son…a PURE & SPOTLESS OFFERING to cover our NAKEDNESS.
Genesis tells us that God sacrificed those first animals to cover man’s NAKEDNESS. And today, the SACRIFICE of Christ on the Cross covers our NAKEDNESS.
The answer is found in Galatians 3:27:
“For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (CLOTHED yourselves with) Christ.”
When we were buried in the waters of our BAPTISM, we were literally wrapped in JESUS and His righteousness COVERS us like a garment.
BUT THE GARMENT we received through Jesus Christ is far better than the ones that Adam and Eve were given.
- Their garments would eventually wear out.
- Their garments would eventually be torn and stained.
- And their garments would ultimately become shabby and not worth wearing.
But worse than that…the GARMENTS God had made for Adam & Eve would never allow them back into God’s presence. No matter how long they wore them, they would never be allowed to re-enter the beautiful Garden that He had prepared for their home.
But when you and I put on JESUS, that all changed.
“…by one sacrifice (Jesus) has made perfect forever those who are being made holy…Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more…Therefore brothers, since we have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the BLOOD of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having out hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (NIV Bible).
Unlike Adam and Eve, the GARMENT Jesus supplied us with gives us the privilege of BOLDLY COMING to God’s presence and enjoying His love and compassion on a personal level.
No more NAKEDNESS–no more SHAME! We have been made innocent in God’s eyes by the BLOOD COVERING of His One and only Son, Jesus Christ.
The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris – Baker Book House Grand Rapids, MI 49506 – Copyright 1976
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Bible Translations: Amplified Bible, except where noted.