Sometimes Christians use the book of Genesis to morally justify wearing animals for clothing.
If God himself killed an animal and clothed Adam and Eve in its skin, then He must approve of the act of wearing animals as clothing, right?
To understand God’s stance on the issue in our current day and age, we need to take a closer look at the Scriptures.
After Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they became ashamed of their nakedness and attempted to make clothing:
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
When God found Adam and Eve he told them that mankind would no longer be blessed with eternal life:
17 “Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
Then for the first time in history, death entered the world when God killed an animal to clothe Adam and Eve:
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
Why did God choose to clothe Adam and Eve in animal skin if they were already clothed?
First, it is important to put into perspective WHEN this event occurred. At this time, mankind was not allowed to eat animals, and wasn’t allowed by God for another 1,600 years until after the great flood.
It is reasonable to believe that in the time before the flood some men ate meat and perhaps even practiced cannibalism, just a few of the reasons why God saw the world to be so corrupt that He destroyed it.
Those who kept God’s commandments, however, would not have eaten meat until after the flood.
So, if God’s killing of the animal in Genesis chapter 3 was not for food, and if Adam and Eve were already wearing clothing made of leaves, then why did He do it?
God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skin to symbolize death entering the world; a result of sin.
This is the first time in The Bible that we see God requiring a flesh sacrifice as a payment for sin.
Throughout the Old Testament there are many examples of animals being sacrificed to God. These sacrifices acted as a temporary payment for sins and were a foreshadowing of the perfect and final sacrifice that was Jesus Christ.
The following verse tells us that before Jesus Christ, forgiveness of all sin required a blood sacrifice:
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Many verses in The Bible refer to Jesus Christ as the final and ultimate sacrifice. After His death and resurrection, we are told that all sin is forgiven through He who had no sin:
26 But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
For Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus marked the end of animal sacrifice even though Jews, who rejected Jesus as their Messiah, continued to sacrifice animals until the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Now, after the sacrifice of Jesus, the absence of animal sacrifice should be accompanied by the absence of killing animals solely for use as clothing.
If God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins to represent payment of sin with death, and Jesus was the ultimate and final sacrifice, then we no longer need to clothe ourselves in the skins of animals because all sin is forgiven through Him.