Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, we are told that they made clothing for themselves.

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3:7 ESV

However, after God comes into the garden, He also makes clothing for them.

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Genesis 3:21 ESV

Why does God do this when Adam and Eve were already clothed? What was wrong with the clothing they already had, and what was right about the clothing that God made for them?

  • 3
    I always heard it represented as God showing them blood is the price of sin. As (presumably) they had never seen dead animals before, they would not have missed the significance
    – SSumner
    May 7 '13 at 15:58
  • 1
    Fig leaves would make terrible clothing. Have you ever seen the leaves of a fig tree before?
    – hookenz
    Jul 1 '13 at 3:49

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God gave them skins to cover up with (Genesis 3:21). To get those skins, some animal had to die. In other words, God sacrificed an animal to cover their sin1. From the beginning, God has declared the payment for sin is death, and so blood must be shed to cover sin:

Leviticus 17:11: “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

Hebrews 9:22: “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

Early in the Old Testament God introduced this idea of one innocent being shedding its blood in place of the sinner’s.

However the solution of sacrificing bulls and goats and lambs for the sins of each person’s sin was a temporary fix. The next year, another animal would have to be sacrificed for the same person. A more permanent solution was needed, as noted in Hebrews 10:4

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

That meant a human was needed to die for humans’ sin. But all humans are sinful, so another sin-filled person dying for us just wouldn’t work. A human without sin was needed.

But ever since Adam, every human born is sin-filled, so how could a sinless man happen? The only way was if God did it Himself.

God Himself became a man: Jesus means “the LORD saves” and died for us in our place. Therefore, anyone who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus on his or her behalf is covered by his blood and is saved.

1An explanation of the idea that God provided the skins by killing the first animals to powerfully show Adam and Eve the result of their sin, and the idea that this typified the death of Christ can be found in Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Holy Bible.

  • 2
    You deviated from the original question quite a bit at the end, but its a good answer and message nonetheless :)
    – Jeff
    May 8 '13 at 17:32
  • I was taught that even a sinless human could not make atonement between God and man, because God is infinite and man is finite. The eternal Son became Man so that he could make an act of infinite value to make amends for the infinite sin of Adam.
    – Big Ed
    May 22 '13 at 22:22
  • I want to know more regarding this: "However the solution of sacrificing bulls and goats and lambs for the sins of each person’s sin was a temporary fix. The next year, another animal would have to be sacrificed for the same person." Is this because people continually sin? Or did/does animal sacrifice only pay for one sin for one year? (I realize I'm trivializing this).
    – gdw2
    May 31 '13 at 19:33
  • 1
    God established the rite of “atonement” to satisfy the righteous demands of His justice, where the blood of an animal would be offered upon the altar as a substitute for the human soul that had sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. The soul or the blood of an animal would be poured out so the guilty soul could go free, for a season. I think this is better explained in previous verses in Heb.10:1-3. Jun 2 '13 at 11:17
  • What person told you these were animal skins? Or that God sacrificed an animal for the purpose? Where do these strange ideas come from?
    – Waeshael
    Jul 1 '13 at 0:04

The best answer I've seen is that it is an animal sacrifice:

Heb. 9:22: Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

That's because it is necessary to kill animals to get their skins. The reader would be expected to make the connection with the sin offerings required by the Law of Moses.

It also shows that this sacrifice, and all of the animal sacrifices, were not enough to restore us to paradise. That would have to wait for a greater sacrifice.


You asked,

"What was wrong with the clothing they already had, and what was right about the clothing that God made for them?"

My short answer is "nothing" and "nothing". In fact, the question itself illustrates how differently mankind looks at life and how God looks at life.

I say that God wants to be with us. Genesis 3:8-9 talks about God seeking out Adam in the garden. Exodus 25:8 talks about God wanting to dwell with His people. John 3:16 talks about God's love for us. 1 Corinthians 1:9 talks about God calling us into fellowship.

When God was walking in the garden, Adam and Eve had already had their "tree" experience. God knew this. God still sought them out. God was not horrified by what they did. God did not turn His back on them. In fact, it was they that hid from God.

When asked by God, "where are you?", Adams reply was that he was naked and so he hid. For the first time shame was present. So was fear. Adam had declared that being naked was bad and wrong. Fear and shame followed this declaration.

When we declare something to be wrong, we want to separate ourselves from it. Adam did his best to separate himself from his nakedness by creating clothes.

However, God had no issue with their nakedness. Adam, even though he had already made a covering, still wanted to hide from God. God, wanting to be with Adam, made a more durable type of clothes for them so that their nakedness would not be an issue that would keep them apart.

Genesis 3:21 is where God makes clothes from animal skins. I say that neither Adam nor Eve would have thought to make clothes from the skin of an animal. Up to this point there was no talk of animals dying. Eating animals doesn't start until after the flood.

What we know is that after Adam, Eve and God talk, there is a dead animal and clothing. When Cain and Able have a fight about what sacrifice is acceptable to God, it is a dead animal and not the fruit of the ground that God accepts. This is because it was Adam and Eve who set up the agreement with God. God was sticking to this agreement, as God always does, when Cain offered part of his crop.

In keeping with how Adam and Eve kept shifting the blame in Gen. 3:12-13, they also blamed an animal. It was Adam and Eve who came up with the idea to sacrifice an animal to atone for their actions. God saw that they were keeping themselves from Him because of what they had done. God agreed to let Adam and Eve declare that an animal could atone for their actions and then God took that animal and made clothes.

God agreed to this so that He could be with them. Without it, they would continue to hide in fear. Doing something bad and wrong has always been an issue for mankind, not for God. God has always done His best to remove sin as a reason to keep away from Him.

God made clothes so that Adam and Eve wouldn't be present to shame and fear. God made clothes so that Adam and Eve could fellowship with God.

  • 1
    +1 for seeing that being naked was declared to be evil by man, not God, and that God is trying to reach man, not trying to separate Himself from them. I'd like to add: here starts the suffering of creation as a consequence of man's sin and its hoping for salvation, which is mentioned by Paul in Romans 8:22
    – hbarck
    Jun 1 '13 at 9:26
  • The Bible does not say that it was Adam and Eve's idea that an animal could atone you just made that up
    – user4060
    Jun 30 '13 at 20:55

By eating of the forbidden fruit, God had promised death. Satan wanted to cause man to sin and thus have God to kill his own creation. If satan could could do something that would cause God to go back on His own word, then he could prove that God had faults. So God, knowing that by Adam and Eve eating the fruit, having said that they should surely die, instituted the substitution principle into the equation. Thus being able to stand by His own word, but also not having to kill Adam and Eve. By instititing the substitution principle and killing a blameless animal and having the flesh of the animal cover their nakedness (Sin), He was foretelling of Christ that was the substitute sacrifice for our sins. Even though, as Christians, our sins are covered under the blood of Christ, we still have to deal with our earthly consequences of our sin, just as Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, but the covering of our sins, that we should have eternal death for, has been covered by the ultimate substitution sacrifice in Christ Jesus, that allows us to have that eternal life in Heaven.

  • 1
    This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. On this site, we're not looking for personal interpretation, but rather focusing on what various Christian groups teach.(And I know this is a common view, so all it needs is some links.) See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? Oct 29 '13 at 11:40

My Pastor spoke about this recently in a sermon on Genesis 3 and 4. It is part of a series on the what Genesis says about the human condition.

He describes it as an act of gracious love in the midst of / despite disappointment. He's not happy that Adam and Eve have decided to turn from him, but he wants them to be properly protected if they are to head out into the world outside the garden.

The whole sermon, 'The evolution of religion' is available online, if that sounds interesting to you.

  • 2
    Hi Geoff and welcome to our Christianity Q&A site. That sound like the core of an interesting answer. However, I'd like to know a bit more about how your pastor makes his points. Maybe you can summarize the sermon? May 7 '13 at 21:43

I. Think God wanted them to know that even in that situation and after every thing they have done he still loves and cares for them and that is the most important thing he wants them to bear in mind before chasing them out of the Garden God understood that the most important thing they needed was cloth,and they produced it without Gods help but God does not want them to think that they can help them selves,He also wanted them to understand that they can always Get better things from him,He had to proof to them that he is still a loving father and they will be needing his help out there That was one of the reasons he gave them a better offer by making a better clothing for them God wanted to take back his place in their life.


Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Jas 5:11c that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God gave gifts unto men. The Bible doesn't specifically say it had anything to do with blood sacrifices. It was a gift from the ultimate giver. James 1, Mathew 11, James 5 all show the Lord as giving for the sake of giving. That his gifts are good because He is good. Even if Adam and Eve had great clothes made from plants God still would have wanted to bless them with something better (especially if they had asked) as there is always something better.


We don't know why. It is only conjecture as to why God made clothes for them at that point in the story. There is a belief that is was to cover them (their shame) and that seems to make sense.

It could be just the way the story tellers wanted to bring into the scene that God now needed to protect them since they now knew good and evil. Obviously fig leaves would not have made good clothes!


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.