Have you ever had a dream where you were naked? You felt exposed in front of whomever happened to be there – and usually it was someone you didn’t know all that well.
I remember waking up from that kind of dream fairly recently. It took me a while to convince myself it was just a dream, get back to normal, and stop feeling so humiliated. And then, of course, as the psychology major, I’d analyze my dream to find out why I was feeling metaphorically exposed in real life. Comes with the territory.
The First Nakedness
There’s nothing like feeling exposed and vulnerable, especially with the areas of our life where we’re most ashamed and insecure. Adam and Eve were the first ones who felt that shame. After they had sinned against God by eating from the tree of knowledge, they immediately felt exposed.
“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:7, emphasis mine).
Fair enough. You’re naked, you clothe yourself, right? Naturally. They had access to all the trees of the garden, and they chose the leaves of a fig tree.
Clothed, but Naked
Now, I don’t know how good of a seamstress Eve was, but let’s just assume that she and Adam did a good job of weaving those leaves together to cover their private areas. With that assumption in mind, why then did they hide from God as they heard him walking in the garden? When God asked them, Adam replied,
“I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10, emphasis mine).
Wait a minute. He was naked? I thought he had just sewn himself a quilted fig leaf toga? Sorry, felt board Sunday School pictures from the 1980s come to mind.
So if Adam had already covered himself, why did he still say he was naked?
The answer, I believe, lies a little further down in the chapter.
“And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).
Again, they were already clothed! Don’t miss that! Why was it necessary that God give them new clothes?
Stay with me here. This is really good.
What does it say God made their new clothes from?
Where does skin come from? I’m not a hunter, but I’m pretty sure it comes from the carcass of a dead animal. I watched an episode of Living Alaska recently that showed how they skinned a cow. Pretty cool stuff, let me tell ya.
If God used skin to clothe Adam and Eve, then clearly a death had to occur. An animal had to be killed.
Why is this significant?
Weaving it all Together
The Bible isn’t just a set of stories written hundreds of years apart. It is a cohesive collection of accounts that all fit into the same beautiful plan of a God who is on mission to rescue the world from the sin that exposes us and enslaves us.
In other words, right here, in Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve committed the first sin, God shows us his plan to rescue mankind from sin.
Nothing Adam and Eve could do from their own effort could cover their shame.
The death of a living being to take the place of Adam and Eve’s own futile effort to cover their nakedness points to the Gospel, to Jesus.
Skin to Robes
In Matthew 22 and in multiple places in Revelation, the bride of Jesus Christ – those who have turned to Jesus for forgiveness of their sins – are shown to have been clothed with white garments. These white garments symbolize Jesus’ death as the atoning sacrifice. The one without the garment is not allowed into Heaven (Matthew 22:11-13).
From Genesis to Revelation, we see that nothing we can do to clothe ourselves will ever suffice. Adam and Eve tried with the fig leaves. We may try in various other ways, such as trying to be good or live a good life. Or we think that if our good deeds outweigh our bad then God will surely accept us.
But that’s not what Scripture teaches. Nothing we can do on our own will ever cover our nakedness, our shame. Only the ultimate sacrifice – Jesus, the Son of God – covering our nakedness, will ever make us whole, will ever allow us to enter paradise with Jesus at our death.
What are You Wearing?
If you are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, well, I just have to ask, isn’t Scripture simply amazing? To see a glimpse of Jesus and God’s plan to rescue mankind – including ME and YOU! – all the way in Genesis 3, well, that just excites me.
But, If you are reading this and you’re not sure if you have the covering of Jesus on your life, please don’t simply take my word for it. Open your Bible and read it for yourself. Start with Genesis 3 and then read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus came to rescue you, to cover you, to give you abundant and eternal life.
Don’t risk dying naked.
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