Anyone remotely aware of the Bible knows the story of Adam and Eve and their eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Every child can recite the story’s main points from attending Sunday school or listening to bedtime stories. Perhaps because the story is so familiar, we tend to overlook one simple yet profound element of the story.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they realized their nakedness for the first time. We are told they sewed fig leaves together and made some loincloths because they felt shame (Genesis 3:7). Furthermore, their shame caused them to hide from God (as if he did not already know what they looked like when naked). This may seem a bit funny or even strange. After all, God did not seem to mind their nudity before they sinned. However, we must also note that it is rather foolish to believe they can conceal their guilt by a patch of leaves.

After God questions them about their actions, God sentences judgment on Adam, Eve, and the serpent. Adam follows this by naming his wife Eve, meaning “to give life.” Interestingly, though, a juxtaposition immediately follows. Quickly reading verse 21, one may overlook what actually takes place, but the New Living Translation explicitly calls it out:

Did you catch that? Most translations simply read “skins.” However, the NLT reminds us where those skins came from—dead animals.

In verse 20, Adam gives his wife a name that means “to give life,” but in verse 21, God takes life. Furthermore, God takes (e.g., sacrifices) an animal’s life to provide a covering for Adam and Eve. What we see here in Genesis 3 is God’s first sacrificial gift to cover the sins and shame of humanity. This sacrificial system would later be practiced by the Israelites and concluded approximately 4,000 years after Adam with the death of Jesus Christ. David tells us in Psalm 32:1, ”Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (ESV)” Though Adam and Eve received punishment for their sin, they also were the recipients of God’s blessing and forgiveness.