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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Rest of the Story: Sewing Garments for Adam and Eve

... the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them
…the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

                                                                                                - Genesis 3:21,23

     The first trip humans take in the Bible is a fateful one.  It is set in the context of the second of the several creation stories one finds in the Bible.  The trip out of Eden separates Adam and Eve from the presence of God and this, of course, is the main story here.
     Adam and Eve ate fruit from the tree at the center of Eden which God had specifically told Adam to leave alone.  God is pretty upset by this whole violation.  Yet in the midst of the cosmic anger, God provides clothing, direction, and a living.
    What must God have done to make garments of skins for Adam and Eve.  First, God has to get skins, right?  So here is a God who hunts, kills, removes skin from the animals, cures it so it can be worked and worn, figures out what clothes are, figures out how to fasten the skins together, and maybe does some fitting just at the end.  Pretty caring and sophisticated stuff!  Have you ever made a garment?  I have, and I know a bit about preparing animal skin for further use.  These are not things that happen immediately.  
     So the sudden, wrath-filled God is not who I see in this story.  I see, rather, a God who recognizes the new state of affairs (now that Adam and Eve have eaten the fruit that gives knowledge of good and evil,) heaves a heavy sigh, and does what is necessary to deal with the situation.  God does not kill them, does not simply throw them out, and (if you keep reading) does not stay forever angry.
     On a sunny weekend in May, you might find yourself tilling the ground somewhere.  In Massachusetts, it's really the first weekend you can reliably put up your window boxes and plant your tomatoes.  When you get yourself into the dirt, the ground, just give a little prayer of thanks that we get to do this "tilling" as a connection to the ancient moment when God sent Adam and Eve out into the yard to get it done.