Genesis 3:21 states, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (ESV).
The Picture of the Son of God: While it is not all that clear on the surface, in comparing Scripture to Scripture, I believe Genesis 3:21 records the first animal sacrifice by man as guided by God. Notice that Adam and Eve were promised death for their sin (Gen 2:17) but nonetheless lived on at the mercy of God. The removal of an animal’s skin would have coincided with its death, and once clothed, Adam and Eve lived and were not slain themselves. These animals died in the place of Adam and Eve, and the justice and wrath of God were satisfied in that death was administered in response to sin.
In dying and giving their skins, the animals shed their blood and thus yielded their lives. In so doing, these animals were sacrificed on behalf of Adam and Eve. While “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb 10:4), Adam and Eve had real forgiveness from God through offering the animals’ blood and lives on their behalf (cf. Lev 4:20; 17:11), a “credit” payment for sin, so to speak, until Christ “appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb 9:26).
However much Adam and Eve understood this imagery, we can only know one day in heaven. Who knows whether, in viewing this very first sacrifice, that they knew that the seed of the woman would have His heel bitten by the serpent through His sacrificial death on a cross, which would be the means whereby He would conquer death and crush the serpent’s head? They certainly believed that Satan would be crushed and their death was put off by sacrifice. As the history of salvation continued, God would fill in the blanks with new revelation to man over time, and we certainly know these truths today.
The Presence of the Son of God: The Lord God who here made the garments of skins is the same Lord God who was “walking in the garden” (Gen 3:8), “called to the man” (Gen 3:9), “said to the woman” (Gen 3:13), and “said to the serpent” (Gen 3:14). If the Lord God here is audibly, physically, and personally identifiable in some way, He must be the preincarnate Son of God, for, speaking of the Father, John claims, “No one has ever seen God” (John 1:18; cf. 1 John 4:12, 20).
This being the case, what a marvel it is to see the Son of God carefully walking Adam and Eve through something that pictured what would be His role in time to come—to be the Lamb who was willingly slain for us and our sins, shedding His precious blood, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Pastor regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our staff page.