The Clothing of Adam and Eve

Like so much else in scripture, the story of Adam and Eve is an allegory. Several allegories, actually, but we will explore here one in particular -- the issue of their clothing.

The first thing Adam and Eve discovered when they ate from the forbidden tree of knowledge was that they were naked.

At first they tried to make clothes for themselves "...they realized they were naked so they sewed fig-leaves together to make themselves loin-cloths" (Gn.3:7).

But God showed them that the kind of clothes they now needed, only He had power to make. "God made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on." (Gn.3:21).

The fact that they could not make their own clothes, even though trying, is a very important point in the allegory. It shows a different king of clothing than the material earth can supply. It points ultimately to the 'wedding garment' described by Jesus as essential for the kingdom of heaven.

This clothing is the key to the banishment. The 'skin' we wear today is the same kind of skin that God make for Adam and Eve to wear -- flesh and blood -- the clothing of the exile. The banishment, then, was mankind's exile into the material world where God is invisible.

Until they rebelled, these two had lived in a world that was in the same substance as God, but when they sinned, God split their world into two opposite but co-existing natures -- banishing them (and us) from His sight and presence. The result was a long lived spiritual soul clothed in a short-lived body of material flesh. Their souls were made in the image of God, but their clothing reflected their material prison of chaos and exile.

Flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. This is why God found it so important to discuss with us the clothing of Adam and Eve. "Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now." (2 Cor.5:16).

We have to change clothes if we want to be saved. We have to put on a garment that is eternal. This is the spiritual body that envelops us from on high at baptism, and which we can build strong to everlasting life through obedience to the Gospel.

See Also:

'The Clock of God', Chapter 2, 'Eden'

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