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After sinning, Adam and Eve "sewed fig leaves together" and made clothing for themselves. However, when God comes into the garden and calls to Adam, Adam responds by claiming that he was afraid and that his fear came from his own nakedness.

Genesis 3:7-10 (ESV)
7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 10And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."

Why does Adam claim he is still naked, even after clothing himself with the fig leaves?

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Can there be any definitive answer to such a question if the text of the Bible doesn't explain it? Isn't any answer jut a guess? –  Chelonian Oct 14 '11 at 16:26
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If all you were wearing was a fig leaf, would you feel fully clothed? –  jchaffee Oct 14 '11 at 20:02
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+1 huh, I'd never noticed that before –  Dave DeLong Oct 15 '11 at 0:02
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@jchaffee - when scripture is silent often you can find a commentary or church doctrine that speaks to an issue. Not every answer has to be scripturally backed, it just has to be supported beyond "this is what I believe" –  wax eagle Oct 20 '11 at 14:06
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hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/11390/… have used your question to enhance my question. –  77 Clash Jun 12 at 10:03

2 Answers 2

Nakedness and shame are closely related in the Bible.

Before they sinned, Genesis 2:25 "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

Then, in Genesis 3:7-10 they were ashamed, and thus saw their nakedness.

Supporting passages for nakedness and shame being closely tied together:

  • Exodus 32:25 KJV "And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)"
  • Isaiah 47:3 "Your nakedness shall be uncovered, yes, your shame shall be seen..."
  • Revelation 3:17 KJV "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked"
  • Revelation 16:15 KJV "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The Nakedness was not merely physical in nature

It's important to note that this is Adam's claim--not God's. Adam and Eve had indeed taken measures to clothe their nakedness after their sin. Before sin, when they were both in a state of innocence, it seems they felt no need for clothing. This is akin to a young child who experiences no shame in being unclothed, much to the chagrin of his parents.

Adam and Eve's clothing appears to have been sufficient in relation to one another. However, as soon as God enters the picture, the insufficiency of their own efforts becomes apparent.

It seems, then, that mankind's efforts to cover over their own sin may be sufficient among others who have sinned, but it is insufficient in the presence of God.

If Adam's nakedness had merely been physical, then physical clothing would have been sufficient to cover over his shame. The shame, however, was not merely physical and neither was his sin. It was also a spiritual act of defiance toward God.

God's Provision

It's interesting to note that later in the chapter, God makes clothing for Adam and Eve. We must wonder what the fig leaves were insufficient and why God considered other clothing to be superior.

The nature of the clothing provided by God is that they were from the skins of an animal. Although this is not explicitly stated, it seems reasonable to conclude that this was the first substitutionary sacrifice. An animal had to die to provide the animal skins for that clothing. The death of the innocent animal was sufficient to cover the shame of sin, yet it was insufficient to atone for the guilt, since Adam and Eve were still banished from the garden.

While the sacrifice of the innocent covered over the shame of sin, it would require the sacrifice of the Righteous One (Jesus) to atone for the guilt.

The physical clothing made by God is then a picture of the spiritual clothing that would be provided through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament speaks of a type of clothing that comes to followers of Christ:

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2

So, Adam was not naked at that time in a physical sense, but he was still naked (exposed, in a state of shame) in a spiritual sense.

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