Early in Genesis, through deception of the woman and disobedience of the man, the world was plunged into sin. God had placed man in a wonderful environment, the Garden of Eden, and provided for all of his needs. Man was in a state of innocence; he had everything one could ask for. He had the beauty of a paradise that only God could create. He had the company of all of the animals that he had the privilege of naming, which showed his intelligence. He had the companionship of his lovely wife, Eve, whom God had given to him. He had health, strength, vitality and a promising future. But most importantly, he had the fellowship of God who communed with him in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). Yet all of this was lost in a moment of deception and disobedience, because Satan had come to do his work. All of the grief that we feel today, and that has been felt for centuries, is a direct result of the Fall. And since then the principle of sin has been in effect as a result of what occurred in the Garden of Eden. We suffer sickness, pain and death. We experience crime, poverty and hatred. We feel racism, sexism and narcissism. And the list is endless. However, we can bless God because He has covered our nakedness by His grace. He has covered us with the blood of Christ. We are able to take off the fig leaves and be fully covered in the coats of skin. “And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21 NASB).
Satan Left Us Naked
The fall of man left him naked; Satan’s promises were empty and cold. He knew to approach Eve. He was able to plant the seed of doubt in her mind, and he made her feel as though God was holding something back. He started by asking the woman a question: “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’”? (Gen 3:1). Eve answered him and misquoted God by adding to what He said: “From the fruit of the trees of the garden, we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die’” (3:2-3). It is always dangerous to misquote the Word of God by adding to it or taking away from it. That is the first step on a slippery slope. Now that Satan had Eve’s attention, he lied to her. “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die’” (Gen. 3:4). God had said to Adam, in Genesis 2:17, that certain death would result from eating from the tree of the of knowledge of good and evil.
Metaphorically speaking, Satan continued to strip Eve of her clothes. She was diverted from the Lord and engaged with Satan. She saw the tree in a different way. God had commanded Adam about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and he had taught his wife. We know this because she knew how to answer Satan, except that she added to God’s command. She saw that the tree was good for food (“lust of the flesh”), and a pleasure to the eyes (“lust of the eyes”), and a source of intelligence (“the boastful pride of life”) (1 Jn. 2:16). She ate the fruit and gave some to her husband (Gen. 3:6). Upon eating, they plunged the world into sin and discovered that they were naked. Satan had succeeded in his objective. The man and his wife were now naked and ashamed; before they were innocent, naked and not ashamed (Gen. 2:25). Sin always leaves us exposed, ashamed and guilty.
Man’s Fig Leaves
And man has been exposed, ashamed, guilty and trying to cover himself ever since the Fall. He makes mighty attempts to cover himself. He has tried the fig leaf of education. He has developed and studied at the great universities of the world to cover himself with knowledge. He may be well educated, perhaps even earning a doctorate, making him a sinner with a Ph.D. His education has still left him “uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13 NIV).
He has tried the fig leaf of culture. He may know art and history. He may use proper etiquette. He may even speak several languages, but he is still a naked and cultured sinner. He may be more sophisticated in his sins, but that won’t get him to heaven.
He has tried the fig leaf of accomplishment. Many of his exploits have improved the world, yet he is still naked and estranged from God. These accomplishments do not save souls because they are nothing more than “good works” which lead man to “boast” ( Eph. 2:8-9).
He has tried the fig leaf of wealth. He feels that money will solve all of his problems. He may think that he can buy his way into heaven. Then he discovers that money doesn’t bring happiness and cannot purchase the covering that only God can give through faith.
Finally, he has tried the fig leaf of religion. He tries a religion that is comfortable. He reduces God to what he wants Him to be. Religion is man’s self-righteous yet futile attempt to reach up to God even though He has already reached down to us through His beloved Son (Gen. 11:1-9; 2 Cor. 5:17-19).
All attempts to cover ourselves have been as futile as the fig leaves. We are naked, cold and ashamed of our condition. But God has provided a full covering through Christ. Just as animals were slain to provide the first coverings for Adam and Eve, God has already provided the covering for us through His beloved Son. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Man will never be able to cover himself, but Christ is available as the Savior to a world that Adam and Eve plunged into sin.
Sin Left Us Exposed
We cover ourselves to avoid being exposed to the harsh environment. We know what the elements can do to us. Yet we seem surprised at the havoc that sin can wreak. We are as exposed to sin as the naked body is exposed to the harsh elements and we experience the same devastation. The fall of man set the principle of sin in motion and has given us a sinful nature. But we still marvel at the results of that corrupt nature that is seen in murder, rape, theft and manipulation. We are overwhelmed by corruption, greed, and deception.
Although creation groans under the bondage of sin (Rom. 8:22), we are still surprised by earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Horrible crimes like genocide, that occur around the world, still shock and devastate us, and they should. But when the question of “why” comes up, the answer is obvious to the Christian: We are exposed to sin and will continue to experience it until the Lord sets everything right when He comes to reign. Perhaps now we can understand why the Lord said to Eve, “What is this that you have done?” (Gen. 3:13). Adam was held more accountable because he abdicated his responsibility and allowed his wife to lead: “Because you listened to your wife … cursed is the ground … all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:17). We experience suffering and death because of sin. But the situation is not hopeless, because our heavenly Father has covered us. The father of lies left us naked, but our Father has clothed us in the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-26).
Coats Of Skin
In Genesis 3:8-21 God pronounced judgment on those who were involved in the Fall. The results of those judgments are seen today. He began with the serpent who now crawls on its belly. But greater than this is the fact that its head has been crushed. The serpent is the devil who was defeated by the Lord Jesus on Calvary’s cross (Heb. 2:14-15). Although the devil bruised the Lord’s heel, the Lord crushed his head. Christ is victorious, and we are victors in Him.
Then God dealt with the woman who now experiences pain in childbirth. By His grace billions of children have been born, and Christians have the privilege to enjoy them and the responsibility to raise them for the Lord. While her husband continues to have headship over her in God’s eyes, the struggle started by Eve continues today.
Finally God dealt with the man who now sweats in his labor. The work that was given before sin came into the world has become much harder because the ground is cursed. But He gives us the strength to work so that we can care for our families.
And yes, if the Lord doesn’t descend in our lifetime, we will die. We will return to the ground from which we were taken (Gen. 3:19). But if we are covered by Christ’s blood, death ends in life. Praise God for His covering! In Genesis, animals were slain in order for God to cover Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). In the Gospels, His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, died to fully cover our sinful nakedness and save our wretched souls.
In His great love and mercy, God covered us with the righteousness of Christ. And because of this we can say with Paul that we have no righteousness of our own, but only that which is ours through faith in Christ (Phil. 3:9).
By Al Stuart
Adam And God: Hide And Seek
“The very first thing that happened after the news reached heaven of the fall of man, was that God came straight down to seek out the lost one. As He walks through the garden in the cool of the day, you can hear Him calling, ‘Adam! Adam! Where art thou?’ It was the voice of grace, mercy and love. Adam ought to have taken the seeker’s place, for he was the transgressor. He had fallen, and he ought to have gone up and down Eden crying, ‘My God! my God! where art Thou?’ But God left heaven to seek through the dark world for the rebel who had fallen – not to hurl him from the face of the earth, but to plan for him an escape from the misery of his sin. And where does God find him? Hiding from his Creator among the bushes of the garden.”
– D. L. Moody (1837-1899)
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org