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Genesis 3:8-12,21 - God Creates Clothing from Animal Skins

Genesis 3:8-12,21 - "8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

- - -

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." - NIV

 

Introduction

The last thing God did before formally banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden was to cover their nakedness with clothing.

 

21 The LORD God made garments of skin

for Adam and his wife and clothed them. - NIV

 

Many Old Earth Creationists consider this proof that the earth is old, because killing an animal (in this case, for its skin) is proof that death per se is not sinful. Therefore, Evolution is biblical... or at least not unbiblical. Young Earth Creationists counter that God did not necessarily kill an animal; He could have created the skin from nothing. True enough. So, what does the scripture say?

 

Adam and Eve Realize They are Naked

Until they sinned, Adam and Eve did not know right from wrong, and nudity was just how people looked. When God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, they obeyed. When they were tempted and disobeyed however...

 

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened,

and they realized they were naked; - NIV

 

The Sinfulness of Nudity

Nudity was not sinful before the Fall, and it is not inherently sinful now. The sin is in what we do with it, in what we think, and once Adam and Eve had sinned, their body became symbolic of their heart. Though the practical aspects of nudity were kept for grooming and marriage-bound affection, public nudity now represented the exposure of one's sin and shame.

 

7b so they sewed fig leaves together and

made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was

walking in the garden in the cool of the day,

and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

 

Jesus Pre-incrnate

A Christophony is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. There are several Christophonies in the Old Testament. The first one is in Genesis 1, when Jesus created the world with the Father and the Holy Spirit (Proverbs 8:22-26, John 1:1-3). But on this day, Jesus was enjoying His creation, walking through the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve saw Him in the Garden, and they hid.

 

9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

 

This makes it seem like Jesus was a regular visitor to the Garden, but was Jesus was naked or clothed? We don't know, but can see His attitude about nudity when He unrobed in John 13:4 to wash His apostles' feet. It says he wore only a towel, and then he also used that towel to dry their feet. He was essentially nude. Jesus was showing himself vulnerable. Having been tempted by Satan Himself (as were Adam and Eve), then later naked and vulnerable before His apostles (as Adam and Eve were before Him), we can assume that Jesus knew something of what Adam and Eve were feeling.

 

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?

Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—

she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” - NIV

 

Jesus does not say what He expects from Adam and Eve at this point, nor does He say what He thinks of them being nude and trying to cover their vulnerability. Scripture however may provide some insight, by telling us what Jesus said to the Apostles after exposing His vulnerability to them, and then covering it, as we return to John 13...

 

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.

“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.

13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

 

No mention of the nudity? No mention of His vulnerability? That is correct. He only mentions the service He performed. He goes on...

 

15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

 

Adam and Eve were blessed in this way, serving their God in the Garden. They were no greater than their master, but now felt ashamed to serve in the very capacity that He would serve His Apostles 4,000 years later. By covering themselves up, they could no longer serve as He would.

 

But the nudity was never the point: they were giving up their service to God. Surely being clothed by Jesus made them feel better, but they would never be as close to God as when they served Him in the Garden, naked and vulnerable. That vulnerability was perhaps the ultimate gift, and in their sin it was ruined. Adam and Eve were fallen, dead, separated from God. Banished from a life of selfless service to God, they were sentenced to a life of pain, turmoil, and mere survival. It was in accordance with this change that Jesus took the decisive action to cover up what Adam and Eve had given up...

 

21 The LORD God made garments of skin

for Adam and his wife and clothed them. - NIV

 

As much of a relief as it may have been, it is perhaps the saddest moment in mankind's history. They accepted their separation from God. This was the death God had warned them of.

 

Adam and Eve's Clothing - a Sin of Submission?

Part of the challenge with this question is that you cannot cover sin with sin, and Jesus would never tempt Adam and Eve with sin. Knowing this, why didn't Jesus make clothes of cloth? Didn't He know that the clothes He provided might serve as a model for future clothing for His children? Part of the answer is that Jesus did not commit a sin in providing the clothes, and Adam and Eve did not commit a sin by accepting them.

 

Another possibility is that the clothes made Adam and Eve unclean, but in a manner similar to the removal of a dead human body from a public area. Removing a deceased persons body does not constitute a sin of commission (a sin of the heart), but it does make one unclean and separates one from God until the requisite sacrifice is given -- a sin of submission?

 

Suppose the Law of Moses were written on Jesus' heart (by His Father in Heaven). According to the Law of Moses, certain animals could be killed for sacrifice (Leviticus 6:25). The blood must must drained however. Once it is drained, then anything touching the flesh becomes holy (Leviticus 6:27a), and anything touching the blood becomes unclean (Leviticus 6:27b-28). As for the skins, according to Leviticus 13:47-59, leather articles for wearing may be clean. Now, on the one hand, these laws apply to the priests and high priest; on the other hand, Jesus is the first high priest (Hebrews 4:14), and so these are completely appropriate for Him. It is entirely possible that Jesus killed and offered the animals to His Father Who is in Heaven, and then gave the skins to Adam and Eve.

 

There are also rules for killing animals for food, and the rules are similar. Drain the blood and dispose of it properly. The skin may used for clothing. We know that growing up with Mary and Joseph, Jesus was a carpenter and an orthodox Jew. He knew the Law of Moses and lived by it. So, depending on His personal timeline relating His ministery and crucifixion to the Christophonies we see in the Old Testament, it is entirely possible that Jesus was living by the same guidelines that Moses and the Israelites would eventually be given.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we do not know where Jesus got the animal skins He gave to Adam and Eve. What we do know is that there were non-sinful ways for obtaining animal skins and making clothing from them. Though it is entirely possible that Jesus fashioned the clothes out of thin air, it seems more likely that He would set an example by fashioning them from actual animals, in a way that foretells the sacrificial and dietary laws of later years.