I don’t claim to understand every nuance of the relationship between our first parents Adam and Eve and God, but I do know there was relationship. That relationship was marred or broken when they took a bite out of the forbidden fruit. At least, it was from their end. They ran and hid and tried to cover themselves up, but it was impossible to hide from God and though they were scolded, God was still in relationship with them. Yes, he punished them, but he also showed them mercy and grace:
And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. -Genesis 3:21
The first thing God does for his creation is give them a proper covering. This covering of skins is one of the earliest pictures of the Gospel that is to come. We see in that covering a sacrifice. We see in that covering someone else providing it. We see in that covering an act of mercy in contrast to the rebellion that occurred. Before all the laws were set, there is a sacrifice for sins. Most people would say that tithing came before everything else, but this payment for sins, this covering of wrongs comes one chapter prior and it should because it is foundational to our faith. The Old Testament points us to the good news to come. Jesus is that good news and he represents that same covering for us in every way, and greater still.
I know there is nothing new stated here, but when I consider how poorly I follow God sometimes, I often feel like God is constantly chasing me with a skin, with Christ’s covering, to shield my naked rebellion. I know I have it already. I know earning it is impossible and unnecessary, but my fruit-picking, pride-filled, person-blaming self wonders sometimes if I’ve gone so far as to come out from that covering. Maybe it’s just me, but I can feel like I’ve sinned and that sin puts me on the precipice of an even worse sin. I know I’m wrong and I do repent. I claim within myself never to sin that way again, all the while my thoughts betray me. Despite that, I’m still covered by Christ because even our best repentance needs to be washed clean in Christ. It seems silly, but I imagine Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. In one of his “naked” scenes, no matter where he goes he is strategically covered up by a variety of items. On my worst day, when I feel exposed by my sin and shame, God has already covered it all no matter where I go or how I feel about it.
Adam and Eve sinned, but God showed them that no matter what they did to their end of the relationship, he was still their God. The cloth covering them showed them that. He also did one more thing:
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever-“therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. -Genesis 3:22-24
Again, nothing new here. This is mercy at its finest. God removed them from the garden. Removed them from the presence of the tree of life. He removed their ability to live forever in a tainted fallen state. They would eventually die and all the shackles and struggles of sin would fall off once more. They would never be able to fall from grace again. This is us as well. We walk out into the world covered by Christ, still warring with our flesh over sin, but the war eventually ends. Though no longer bound by the eternal consequences of sin, one day in glory this will be fully realized when we discard these forms for incorruptible ones. One day, we won’t have to apologize for our action and words. One day, even our thoughts will no longer betray us.
I look forward to that day when sin is truly dead to us and completely cleansed from us.
Adam and Eve were loved by God before and after their sinful act. He covered them and made sure one day they’d be completely dead to power of sin. He does this for us as well in Christ. This is no different then the same way the prodigal son’s father had already received his son back before his son took even one step towards home.
God’s kindness always calls us home…
God’s last act in the story of the fall is one of mercy and grace.
Whatever your worst day may be, whatever your worst rebellion or sin, you are covered by his grace.