Adam would never have to call out for God, “God, where are you?” like God had to with Adam.
In verses 20-24 we come to the final section of chapter 3. Three things are happening in this short section: Adam names Eve, God clothes them, and God banishes them. Eve gets her name, they both get clothes, and they both get evicted.
Lets look at each point under these headings: New Name, New Clothes, New Home.
NEW NAME (20)
First, Adam names Eve. Before the Fall, in chapter 2 Adam said she would be called “woman”. Now, after the Fall she’s going to get a more personal name.
She doesn’t remain “nameless”. Names are important aren’t they? I mean we name our pets and our vehicles, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. Names are important first of all because they are personal – and they show personhood. Not having a name is like not being a person. How awful would that be? How do we talk to each other and identify each other? How can we know each other? Personhood is part of the image of God, God being the Ultimate “Person” who has divine “Personhood”. He has a name, and His name is not revealed until Exodus 3. Made in His image we have personhood, and its why we have names. It’s the “you” about “you”.
In the Bible the greater names the lesser: Jesus renamed Simon as Peter, God renamed Abram as Abraham and Sarai as Sarah. He also renamed Jacob as Israel. Jesus said to the church of Pergamum “I will give to him who overcomes a white stone with a new name on it.” He told the Church of Sardis, “Whoever overcomes I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.” (Rev. 2:17; 3:5). Names are important!
So Eve does not remain nameless. Nor does she name herself. Which is important because she was created to be her husband’s helpmate, not his head. He is her head, and the act of naming reflects that relationship. You see right here the basis for a woman taking her husband’s name in marriage. You’ll see too that God doesn’t name her. Adam does. I think this is for two reasons.
First, Adam names God instead of Eve to counter the alienation that just happened between them due to the Fall. Naming her reinforced in their minds that she belonged to him, and he belonged to her. They go together. That would be important now that they had sin between them.
Second, it was Adam rather than God who named Eve so as to reinforce Adam’s husbandly authority. Sure God is the ultimate Head and Authority of the woman but by having Adam name her it was emphasizing their marriage relationship of Head and Helper. God just finished saying to Eve in verse 16, “..and your husband will rule over you”. Authority. The act of naming is an expression of authority.
But now the good part of this verse that I wan to get to. The name Adam gives her is “Eve”, which means “living”. Actually, why she’s named Eve is explained, “because she would become the mother of all the living.” I want to explain this in two ways. First of all Eve was going to become the mother of all of humanity that would come after her. God commanded Adam and Eve to get busy procreating: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth…” He said (1:28). So, she would be the mother of all the living, meaning those who would be born after her.
APPLICATION: No human being would ever be born who did not ultimately come from Eve. Eve is the mother of all of us in this sense. We all descend from her.
But, I want to press the words “mother” and “living” further because I think there is more here. Do you remember what Jesus said to the Saduccees in Mark 12? He said, “God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living”. Jesus was not talking about people who were physically alive. In that text Jesus was driving home the point that God is the God of those who are spiritually living, who are spiritually alive, who have eternal life and are righteous in God’s sight. People who have made God their God by faith in Him and therefore they possessed eternal life from God.
Now think too on this: God just told Satan that a seed would come from the woman who would crush Satan’s head. We saw last week that humanity would have two categories: those who belong to Satan and those who belong to God. Those who belong to Satan are dead in their sins, but those who would belong to God would be alive. They are alive because of the “offspring of the woman”, the Christ. He is the one who gives life. So while there are 7 billion humans walking around right now everyone of them either is dead and belongs to Satan or is alive and belongs to Christ, the seed of the woman. It is here that I believe that the phrase, “mother of all the living” has a second reference and means that Eve is spiritually the mother of all those who are saved, and alive to God in Christ, her offspring.
“That’s crazy!” you say. No, it’s not. Think about Abraham, the man who believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6). Like Eve, Abraham would have physical descendents after him (Gen 15:4-6). These would be his earthly physical family.
But the Bible says that not all of his physical descendents are his spiritual children (Romans 9:7-8). Only those among his descendents who believe like he believed would be considered his spiritual children (Jn 8:37, 39).
The physical descendents of Abraham were the Israelites (he had others too). But not all Isrealites were his spiritual children. Those who had faith like Abraham were both his physical and his spiritual children. If you understand this you will correctly understand the terms “True Jew” and “Spiritual Israel” and “Israel of God” in the New Testament. A Jew was a True Jew if he not only had the same blood as Abraham running in his veins but if he had the same faith as Abraham beating in his heart.
So this dual “fatherhood” of Abraham can be seen in Eve too with her dual “motherhood”. All humans are her physical descendents, we all have her blood in our veins. But, she had One special Son come from her, the Christ. And it is only those who have believed on Him that are considered “living”.
APPLICATION: Is Eve your mother? Are you one of the “living”? Believe on Jesus today and today you will have life.
NEW CLOTHES (21)
While Adam named Eve God did not leave the issue of clothing with them. He took charge on this matter. Let me immediately point out two things.
First: the insufficiency of their attempt to cover themselves up. If their fig leaves (v7) were adequate then God Himself would not have made clothes for them. They needed God to clothe them.
APPLICATION: You cannot cover yourself either. You need God to cover you.
Secondly, the very fact that God made them clothing means he didn’t leave them naked and he didn’t leave them in their own poor attempts to cover up their nakedness. My point is that God didn’t leave them. Rather than ghosting them in the Garden God rolled up His sleeves, moved towards them and gave them what they really needed. What I’m wanting us to see is God’s faithfulness to them EVEN when they were NOT faithful to Him and the mess they were in was on them. In other words, Adam would never have to call out for God, “God, where are you?” like God had to with Adam. Man runs from God. But God doesn’t run from us. He runs towards us.
APPLICATION: God doesn’t abandon you.
Now will please take note of the clothing God made for them? It says “animal skin.” It doesn’t say but how fitting would it be if it were a lamb? Either way, God took an animal that Adam probably named, probably had fed, one that Adam probably had a fondness for, and in order to get the skin of that animal God killed it. And for the first time death is witnessed in God’s creation. Blood. Guts. A mess. Then, that skin was given to them to cover themselves with.
A whole lot of points here to note.
First: It was not more leaves! They made coverings for themselves out of fig leaves. God was not adding to what they had done. It was not taking what they did and simply making it better. God was going to rip those fig leaves off and then give them a new outfit that He deemed appropriate for their covering.
APPLICATION: You have to rip away anything you are doing to be right with God.
Second: It was NOT a human sacrifice. It was an animal. This is the 2nd indication God has given in these verses that man will be spared from his sins by a substitute who would die in his place. The first was the striking of the woman’s seed’s heel (v15). Now we see that to cover over the shame of sin rather than killing Adam and Eve right then and there God kills someone else in their place. And that someone else “covers” them.
Third: God effectively instituted the religious practice of animal sacrifice right there. Animal sacrifice was practiced from this moment forward until Jesus came and put an end to the need for animal sacrifice. Animal sacrifice was practiced by those who worshipped the true God and by those who worshipped idols. Pagans may have offered their animals to idols, but the whole concept of animal sacrifice finds its root right here in Genesis 3.
Which, we have to notice here that this is only 1 of 2 sacrifices God has ever performed. God provided the sufficient sacrifice with the first Adam, and then with the “Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), Jesus, God provided the sufficient sacrifice. To institute animal sacrifice God killed the first animal, then man was required from then on to worship God through animal sacrifice. But the only other sacrifice God performed was with a human Lamb, His One and Only Son. The first sacrifice pointed towards the 2nd one much later. All the animal sacrifices in between performed by mankind pointed towards the sacrifice of Jesus. They all “anticipated” and foreshadowed His once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross. You might say in doing the first and the “last” sacrifice, God was displaying again that He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.
Actually I want to press this further. The first sacrifice in the Garden was to clothe sinful man. It made “atonement”, meaning to “cover”. Adam and Eve were covered in shame and they needed that shame to be covered. BUT, the other sacrifice, the Sacrifice of All Sacrifices that Jesus made with His own body, is the sacrifice that went beyond merely “covering”, it brings cleansing. The sacrifice of Jesus cleanses us of sin, not merely “covering over” our sin. Yes, if you want the whole, total, inward and outward cleansing then it is the sacrifice of Jesus that you must look to.
APPLICATION: Do not try to “cover” your sins by your “good works”. God sees right through them and sees your sin still. They can’t wash you. And they can’t hide you from God. What you need is to stop trying yourself to do something about your sins and instead turn to Jesus who has already done something about them. He died for your sins on the cross. Stop “working off” your sins and instead let Jesus cleanse you and purify you of all your sins.
Now, once we are cleansed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Bible says we are indeed to get clothed. But not with fig leaves. The New Testament says we Christians are to “clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ.” Turn to Romans 13:14 and Galatians 3:27….Now this “clothing” is not meant to hide from God like in the Garden, but to show Him forth in our lives. The idea of clothing ourselves with Christ means to put on those characteristics that are Christ-like so that our lives look like Jesus Christ. “Clothe yourself with Christ”.
This is how we live as “living sacrifices” like Romans 12 says. Notice the order: We become Christians through a death sacrifice, then we live as Christians as living sacrifices. We become Christians through the finished sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us. We live as Christians for Him by being living sacrifices. In other words, whereas a death sacrifice kills to please God, a living sacrifice lives to please Him. Living to please Him means obeying Him, conforming to Him, reflecting Him, making Him seen in us – or, to say it again: to clothe ourselves with Him.