For Christmas this year, my sister gave me a book by Dr. Larry Crabb called 66 Love Letters. The book walks through each book of the Bible—all 66—as if each one is a love letter from God. And when I sat down to read the first part of Genesis this morning, I was skeptical. I’ve read it, okay? I’ve heard it. It’s old news—the oldest, actually.
I stopped when I got to the part where Eve (and Adam, soonafter) both eat from a forbidden tree. I’ve always been stumped by this story. What’s the big deal with eating that fruit? And what’s the big deal about knowing good from evil? And why, after what must have been a very juicy bite, did they immediately put on clothes?
Before fruit: naked and happy.
After fruit: someone get me some clothes.
Why hide their nakedness first? Why was that their first reaction? I tried to think as if I were Eve. Why would I reach for a leaf, even as I wiped juice from the corner of my mouth with the back of my bare arm?
She was ashamed. She was no longer safe to be fully herself, because she was finally aware of good and evil, and she was fully aware to which side she fell. If we know good and evil, then we know we are not good. And we begin the cover up. How much time and effort do I spend on the cover up? How much glitter and how many jewels and what fine jackets and shoes and hairstyles (and jobs and achievements and success) can I conjure to hide the truth that I am on the wrong side of God?
They put on clothes. They must have been shoddy. Ripped leaves, wet with rain. They must have fought over the largest leaves. Did bugs crawl from the creepies onto Eves arms and legs? Did they bite?
And the cover up continues. Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent, and the serpent thinks he’s won. But God sees through their shoddy clothes and poor excuses. He says the serpent may have won for a short time, but in the end, he’ll be crushed. He says women will have pain in childbirth and in marriage. And he says men will only survive through suffering and sweat and thorns and weeds. He returns to say He was telling the truth all along.
The serpent lied when he said to Eve, “You will not certainly die.” God returns to say, “You certainly will.”
But he doesn’t walk away. He lays out this horrible news—this sad and frightening news. And the next thing God does is incredible. I’d never seen it before. I’d never stopped to notice what happens next.
He covers them up. He makes them clothes.
We’re not talking LEAVES, people. We’re talking LEATHER. Not the stuff from Florence or the pleather I buy because I can’t afford the real stuff. Like, virgin, perfectly tanned leather sewn by the hands of the most creative Designer that has ever walked the planet. Can you imagine the clothes He made? Do you think He killed an animal to make those clothes? Do you think blood was shed? Can you imagine how soft and warm they must have felt falling across Eve’s shoulders?
It almost brings me to tears.
He knew they needed to cover up. And He made the covering.
I want clothes like that.