“The LORD made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
This is one of those verses that is often read over quickly and without much thought, but consider what it says: God made clothes for Adam and Eve – and these clothes were made of skin. I reviewed several translations and they all used the word ‘skin’.
So if this skin came from an animal, who obtained it? Did God himself perform an atoning sacrifice on Adam’s behalf? Is his how Adam and Eve got a picture of what death actually was? They had heard of death at this point – as the punishment for eating the forbidden fruit – but had not seen it, unless they witnessed an animal die, or else be killed by another animal. Adam and Eve would not have been killing animals since they were on a vegetarian diet. But God used animal skins – so somehow, an animal had to die, either at the hand of God or of perhaps Adam.
The concept of offerings and sacrifices has not been mentioned in scripture yet, but appears in just a few verses with the story of Cain and Abel, then not again until Noah makes an offering after the flood (though the instructions surrounding them do not come until later.) This event itself may have been God’s way of:
A) showing what death was to Adam and Eve;
B) explaining the concept of atonement (that is, blood requirement for sin); and most importantly
C) showing Adam and Eve that they do not truly have the ability to ‘cover their own shame’, but rather, God must be the one to cover their sins.