Loyalty and love are two of the highest virtues in classical literature. In real life, we long to experience these virtues, we admire and strive to demonstrate them. They captivate us when woven into a good story and these virtues capture our attention in the opening pages of Scripture.
Loyalty and love are what I want us to consider as we place ourselves in the Genesis garden scene. Perfect harmony permeated creation, and all praise flowed to the Creator. The animal kingdom knew no fear of man. No concept of pain or death existed. The earth was full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Love birthed and defined this paradise. Loyalty to the Creator was not an unreasonable request.
Everything was perfect (literally) until one act of treason threw all of creation into a state of chaos, corruption, and groaning (Romans 8:20–22).
Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden was not a mere flirtation with sin—it was an act of high treason against their Creator.
Don’t let the familiarity of the story allow you to gloss over the horror of it. The holy God, the Provider and Sustainer, the Just and Merciful, the Giver of all good things—spurned. His instructions disregarded. His kindness rejected and His commandment rebelled against. The penalty for treason had to be paid. Blood must be shed. Love required it.
Death entered the perfect garden.
If we could’ve stood as observers, what would we have witnessed?
Think about Adam’s relationship with the animal kingdom. Before Eve, the animals were his only companions. He not only named and cared for them, but probably spent time playing with them, enjoying their company.
But that pleasant scene was destroyed when rebellion brought death and separation. Spiritually, Adam and Eve died that day. They no longer experienced freedom and unity in their relationship with God. Physically, their bodies began to deteriorate. And because of their sin, death came to the animal world. Love required it.
Genesis 3:21 gives us a glimpse into God’s redemptive plan:
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”
It’s only a simple one-sentence statement, a short verse, but one packed with foreshadowing of the Great Redemptive story.
The shadow of the cross falls over the guilty pair as the first blood is shed—a sacrificial animal, slain to provide garments to cover man’s nakedness. This redemptive act points to the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” whose holy blood would serve as man’s only atonement (2 Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 5:6–14).
God clothed the first couple—but how? The details are hidden, but a blood sacrifice is clearly implied. I believe an animal was sacrificed to provide the clothing that would cover the first couple.
I believe that animal was a lamb.
In my mind, I picture Adam and Eve transfixed as they witness a creature incapable of hostility or aggression, one of their precious quiet lambs, meekly obeying the Creator’s call. Death was what love required in order to restore mankind’s relationship to God.
What were they thinking as the Master laid His tender hand on the willing subject’s neck? Were they horrified at their first sight of blood as the lamb’s life ebbed away? Did they feel remorse that an innocent creature was bearing their death penalty and providing the necessary covering for their sin?
I wonder if they relived the horror of that scene every time they dressed in their lamb’s skin garments. Someday we may know the answers. But for now, we understand that this sacrifice would be the first foreshadowing of the Lamb slain for the sin of the world. This was the first hint of the ultimate sacrifice made at the Cross—perfect love on display for all the world to see!
Reflect on the deep love of the Savior who met and conquered treason with bloodshed.
Today I hope you’ll revisit the sacrifice that was made for your sins. You and I were born spiritually naked, but in love, Jesus has provided our covering—robes of righteousness.
When and how did you receive your covering, your robe of righteousness, provided by the blood of Christ?