“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
My earliest memory of seeing a cartoonist drawing of Adam and Eve was in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office. I probably had the flu. Sitting with my mom- I was waiting for the nurse to come and call our name. Also, I was hoping that I wouldn’t get a shot.
Everyone remembers the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office. Tattered old copies of Highlights magazine, Boy’s Life, Grit and of course there’s always a children’s picture bible left courtesy of some local church. Before their fall Adam and Eve are always depicted naked with strategically placed vines and branches disguising their unmentionables. And, after the fall our first parents are always wearing matching fig leaf bathing suits. One fig leaf for Adam and three leaves for Eve’s 2 piece foliage bikini.
After their sewing project was completed, verse 8 picks up the story:
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Isn’t it funny that although they’ve just finished the work of making these leaf loincloths, when they hear the Lord approaching, they are filled with fear and with a recognition that they’re still naked.
Wouldn’t you expect this conversation to go differently? Wouldn’t you expect God to say, “What do you mean you’re naked? You’re not naked, you’ve got those snazzy swimsuits! Great job with the needle and thread.” But, God doesn’t say that. Rather, He too sees them as naked because in verse twenty-one we’re told:
“ And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
It would be incredibly foolish to speed by that verse. It is pregnant with glorious Gospel truth. Let’s unpack it by asking: Why did God have to clothe them? And, what does it teach us about the nature of God and the nature of fallen humanity?
God’s clothing of Adam and Eve sends a message to us their offspring of eternal significance. He’s saying:
The things that you do with your own hands to cover your nakedness and shame, I do not receive as an acceptable covering. Unless I clothe you, you’re naked. I will provide a covering for you.
And, the first death recorded in the Bible is when God killed an animal to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness. That day, an innocent animal died so that the guilty Adam and Eve would not die.
That pattern was repeated throughout the Old Testament. Thousands and thousands of animals dying to cover the nakedness and shame of God’s people. Always covering sin- never removing it.
Until one day John the Baptist sees Jesus and recognizes him for who He is and says,” Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
I confess that I’m just like my first parents (and so are you). We’re always concocting some work of our own hands that we foolishly think will merit God’s favor. Like a man with a cheap toupee, I’m constantly checking my fig leaves in the mirror, hoping that their inadequacy will not be noticed.
What I need and what you need is not a better or bigger set of fig leaves. We need to be reminded of the Gospel. We need to be reminded that on the cross, the Lamb of God truly did take away the sins of the world. He was stripped naked so that I can be clothed in his royal robe of righteousness.
Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand. -Edward Mote, 1834