The first clothing

In the beginning chapters (1-2) of the Book of Genesis, we find God creating the earth and forming the first humans.  Even though God had provided all that the first humans needed to survive and thrive, they still chose to sin and eat fruit from the forbidden tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In chapter 3, Adam and Eve fall to the temptation of the serpent who convinced them that they could also become like God, knowing good and evil. After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they became aware of the fact that they were naked. As a result, they felt shame. 

Adam and Eve did not stay naked but rather sought to remedy the situation. They sewed fig leaves to cover themselves.  It’s almost like they felt impelled to cover themselves with something—anything.  Because they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they had an awareness that had previously been absent.  They now had the potential to do evil, and their nakedness might be an entryway for misuse. When they heard that God was walking near, they immediately hid.  God asks them where they are, and they reply that they hid due to their nakedness. But God questions them back,“Who told you that you were naked? … Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” God knew that they had disobeyed.

God reprimanded Adam and Eve and banished them from the garden.  But before their departure, God upgraded their clothing: “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Gen 3:21, ESV). These skins would cover them better than the measly fig leaves. Though the first humans were banished from the garden, God did not leave them completely destitute.  He gave them a covering which would better protect them from the elements of the earth and the natural consequences of the fall.  It is also important to note that God himself clothed them. This shows the father’s heart in still caring for his creation, despite the inevitable consequence of disobedience. 

Through the grace of God, clothing has for the most part became a good and familiar thing. For Adam and Eve, clothing provided a sort of relief from the shame of sinful disobedience. Clothing has continued to provide a way for humans to exhibit modesty and decorum. Furthermore, clothing has not only served to cover and protect humans since the beginning of time; it has also become part of human identity and has been used to distinguish various ranks, states and expressions in life.  Clothes have, in a sense, become their own means of grace.