The short answer is that Adam and Eve were definitely not clothed prior to their sin, nor was there any need to be since they were innocent. Their “uncovered” condition is clearly stated in Genesis 2:25 where we read, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed”. This is highly significant.  There was no consciousness of sin, nor was there any discomfort for them in the presence of God, because they were innocent. But then, after they sinned, in Genesis 3:7 we read, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons”. After having sinned, there was now a very real consciousness of their nakedness.  They knew that they had been disobedient, and they began to feel the need to “cover” themselves, and to dread the presence of God. Reading on in Genesis 3 we see Adam’s explanation as to his wanting to hide, “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” (Genesis 3:10,11). Indeed, they had eaten, and were, for the first time ever, guilty before God!

So, my dear friend, why do you think Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves and hide from the presence of God after they had sinned? In Chapter 2 of Genesis, we find Adam and Eve in the Garden in their innocent state, not concerned about their nakedness, nor about coming into the presence of the LORD. But then, in chapter 3, Satan deceived Eve, and Adam gave in to temptation, and they were both disobedient to God’s commandment by eating of that forbidden tree. In its essence, sin is rebellion against God, and for the first time in the history of mankind, these two had chosen their own will over God’s will.  They had rebelled against God. Like a child instructed not to cross a street without looking, they chose their own path and must now suffer the consequences…a cursed ground and life with much toil, and worst of all, death. It was at this very point, when they ate of that tree, that they became conscious of sin and of their guilty condition before God, and this is why they felt the need to cover themselves (Genesis 3:7) and why they tried to hide from the LORD’s presence (Genesis 3:10,11). Now, as to this feeling of unworthiness before a Holy God, let me cite a couple of examples that might be helpful.  First, in Luke 5:8, we find the account of Peter in the boat with the Lord Jesus. After witnessing a great miracle of the Lord, which convinced Peter that Jesus indeed was “more than a carpenter,” Peter fell on his knees before the Lord Jesus, in a definite posture of worship.  There was a certain element of fear, or reverent awe as he begged the Lord to depart from him because, as he stated, “I am a sinful man”. In the person of Jesus of Nazareth, Peter recognized the presence of God Himself. He fell on his knees, totally humbled by the presence of One who clearly made him think of his own sin and unworthiness. The second example is from Isaiah where we read the words of the prophet when he beheld the glorious vision of the Lord, “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah, in the presence of this vision of the Glory of God, was deeply awed and very conscious of his own sinful nature.

And so it was for Adam and Eve. After they had sinned, I believe they became afraid of the presence of the LORD, though God’s presence had never given them any discomfort whatsoever up to that point. They suddenly understood that they had sinned, and they became aware that they were naked and exposed before God. They wanted to cover themselves, which they tried to do in their own way with fig leaves, but this was not the covering required before God; and thus they desired to hide themselves from the presence of the LORD. It was this consciousness of sin and their failure which Adam in as many words explained in Genesis 3:10-11. But again, there is a consequence for sin, and that is death (Romans 6:23). Adam and Eve, and all who came after them, would toil hard in a world where the very ground was cursed, and their close fellowship with God would be interrupted by their sins. But, worst of all, having become sinners, they would be subject to death in their bodies, and spiritually, they would require a sacrifice. But thankfully, God had already prepared to one day send His only begotten Son as that propitiatory sacrifice (1 John 4: 9,10). Thus, right here in Genesis 3:15, We see the first prophetic word regarding the redemptive work of Christ where we read, “And I will put enmity between thee (that is, the devil) and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise (the better word is crush) thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel”.

Thus we see the need for skins-a picture of the blood sacrifice for sins. So, here, looking forward to the woman’s Seed, Christ, we see God’s solution for the sin problem. This is the reason that God prepared coverings of animal skins for Adam and Eve.  This is  looking towards Christ’s victory over Satan at the cross: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them, (Genesis 3:21). For a more complete treatment of the purpose of the OT sacrifices, and how they look forward to Christ Jesus, please consider Hebrews 10:1-10; also John 1:29.

At this juncture, a quote from the MacDonald’s Commentary on Genesis 3 might be a very helpful summary: “The first result of sin was a sense of shame and fear. The aprons of fig leaves speak of man’s attempt to save himself by a bloodless religion of good works. When called to account by God, sinners excuse themselves. Adam said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me … ” as if blaming God (see Prov. 19:3). Eve said, “The serpent … ” (v. 13).

Then tunics of skin were provided by God through the death of an animal. This pictures the robe of righteousness which is provided for guilty sinners through the shed blood of the Lamb of God, made available to us on the basis of faith”.

And now, how about you, my dear friend? Are you “saved by the blood of the Lamb?” If not, I pray you, put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31; 1 John 4:10).  May the Lord bless His Word to your heart.  (SF)  (510.6)