Adam and Eve
Open Your Bible
Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:4-9, Genesis 2:15-25, Genesis 3:1-24, Joel 2:26-27
In any study of biblical people, it’s tempting to take the easy route and look at the humans in the story and say, “Yeah! Do what they did!” or, more frequently, “Don’t do what she did, oh no!” We long to take a moral from the stories of their lives. Resist this urge. Look instead, in every story, at what God is doing. Even in the stories where we don’t see His name mentioned, He is working and remembering His people. He is putting the gospel story on display in their individual stories—and in our own.
Adam and Eve give us a glimpse of what pre-fall humanity looked like as untarnished image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:27). At the start, they are righteously naked—naked like babies. I imagine they are just delighted to be alive, living freely in healthy, functioning bodies alongside their Creator. But after the fall, Adam and Eve are tarnished image-bearers of God, and their nakedness bears shame instead of pure and innocent glory.
Truly, Adam and Eve’s original state is hardly recognizable to us. Since the fall, we now see all things from the perspective of our own fallenness. Every nook and cranny of our world now hides a tinge of that original sin. So it’s tough to imagine righteous nakedness, but I am definitely on board for the new heaven and the new earth where shame and sin no longer smudge the image of God we bear.
Adam and Eve, realizing their sin and shame, attempt to hide and cover up. First they use their own hands to craft garments from fig leaves; they are attempting a man-made, physical solution to a spiritual problem. This is insufficient.
Then God clothes them in animal skins, but this requires the first shedding of blood—the loss of life and spirit of an animal—signifying that a God-created, spiritual solution is needed to solve the problem of sin and shame.
We need God to clothe us as He clothed Adam and Eve. Our spotless righteousness was lost in the fall. Now, we must be clothed with His robes of righteousness, which can only be granted by the shedding of blood—Jesus’s blood. When we are clothed in His righteousness, we can once again find freedom from shame and guilt.
We still try to find our own way to righteousness, to free ourselves from shame, either by declaring our sins to be virtues—or by ignoring them altogether. We try to deny that we are fallen at all and laud our shame as admirable (Romans 1:28–32). But these efforts are just more fig leaves.
The only solution is Christ. He does not return us to the past, to Eden, but raises us to a new and greater Eden, which cannot be lost. He does not merely restore us to pre-fallen righteous nakedness, but grants us the new and more glorious clothing of Christ’s righteousness. In Him alone we find the fullness of what it means to be made in the image of God: to be like Christ. And “we know that we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).