Have you ever wondered why we wear clothes? I mean, when God made the first man and woman, He made them without clothes: “The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25 ESV). There was no clothing . . . and there was no shame or guilt. That’s because Adam and Eve were sinless. There were no barriers in their relationship with God or with each other.
But then, the devil shape-shifted as a serpent and convinced them to sin.
After Adam and Eve ate that piece of forbidden fruit, they began to experience shame. “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Gen. 3:7a ESV). Their awareness of their nudity is a symptom of something more significant. Sin had stripped them of their innocence and right standing before God. Biblically nakedness often symbolizes man’s ongoing agony and battle with shame.
Adam and Eve’s solution to their shame was itty, bitty aprons. They “sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves loincloths” (Gen. 3:7b ESV).
As far as leaves go, fig leaves are big. But they still don’t cover much! And they were insufficient to cover the separation the first couple felt. When they heard God’s voice, they hid. But God sought them out. After an appropriate conversation about their situation, God “clothed them” with the skin of an animal (Gen. 3:21). Much better than those fig leaves!
But I don’t believe the sole purpose of God’s clothing was to cover Adam and Eve. If that were so, why will we be clothed in heaven where there will be no shame? (Rev. 3:4; 6:11). It’s my opinion that the clothing mentioned here is meant to symbolize our status. For example, our robes will be white, which represents our clean standing before God (Rev. 7:9).
Through Christ, we will be worthy, honored, and esteemed. And I think the clothing God gave Adam and Eve was also symbolic
The Hebrew language communicates that the garments God made were tunics that covered them from their shoulders to their knees. (I’d prefer that to the loincloth, personally!) Some theologians suggest the fact that it was a tunic was to restore their dignity as co-regents of the planet since that piece of clothing is used in other places in Scripture to signify worth. (For example, Joseph’s coat of many colors sets him apart from his brothers.) God dressed Adam and Eve in honor befitting their intended position in the world. Perhaps the true comfort for their shame was the restoration of their status to be stewards of the earth.
God exchanged garments of shame to clothe humanity in dignity.
Like most everything else in the physical world, clothing contains a spiritual lesson. When God replaced fig leaves with comforting garments of skin, He was accomplishing something in the spiritual realm. He was reminding mankind to walk in their dignity.
Dignity • the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed.
God cares about what we wear, but it goes way beyond covering our naked bodies. He desires for us to live out our position in Christ through the way we present ourselves. When it comes to clothes, God seems fairly focused on the spiritual aspect of how we dress.
Let’s try to be mothers and leaders who follow the lead of Scripture when we teach the next generation about how to dress. And may it be first and foremost with dignity, not longer hemlines. Yes, the physical matters but not nearly as much as the clothing we wear on our hearts.
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