What did Adam and Eve wear in the Garden? We know the LORD clothed them in an animal after the Fall, but did they walk around in the nude before that? Could they have been clothed in something before that? In this blog, we’ll look at the Hebrew words for “light” and “skin” to gain insight to these questions.
LOST IN TRANSLATION
One area of Scripture that’s usually lost in translation is poetry. Let’s take Psalm 119 for example. Yes, it’s the longest chapter of Scripture, but it’s also an incredible acrostic poem. David weaves each letter of the Hebrew alphabet into the stanzas of this one psalm. How incredible! Unfortunately, most audiences have no way of recognizing it in a translated text.
Another example of unseen poetry is the play on words that readers miss when it comes to Adam and Eve’s clothing in the Garden. It’s found in Genesis 3:21 and Psalm 104:2.
In Genesis 3:21, Moses wrote that God made Adam and Eve garments of “skin” to replace the fig leaves they had wrapped themselves with. The Hebrew word for “skin” in this verse is pronounced ore (like “this one OR that one”).
Psalm 104:2 says, “The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment.” The actual clothing of God is “light.” The Hebrew word for “light” is also pronounced ore.
רא “Ore” Strong’s 216 – light
רע “Ore” Strong’s 5785 – skin
The phonetic pronunciation of these two words are identical, yet they mean two very different things. Both words are spelled with a silent first letter (the aleph for “light” and the aiyin for “skin) followed by the resh.
Many rabbis believe that Adam and Eve, being made in the image of God, went from being clothed in ore (light) to being clothed in ore (skin). Upon sinning they exchanged a nature of light for a nature of flesh. See the wonderful play on words?
Genesis 3:7 says, “The eyes of [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” The Hebrew word for “knew” in this verse is yada. It means “to learn, to perceive, to have knowledge of.” Many rabbis interpret that this verse is saying Adam and Eve yada (learned) that they had just become naked, whereas they had beforehand been clothed in “light.”
Boiling down to the main point, Adam and Eve being clothed in “light” and “skin” has deeper meanings that just what they wore. It points to the spiritual side as well.
Man, like God, was wrapped in light before the Fall. But, when sin entered the world, darkness followed and light was exchanged for skin/flesh, a nature opposite of God who is spirit (John 4:24).
By the sin of the first Adam we are naturally born as children of “flesh.” But through the death of the second Adam (Yeshua), we have the opportunity to be reborn as children of “light” (1 Thess. 5:5).
Yeshua, the Light of the World, calls you and I to become the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). We do this by putting off our old self and putting on our new self (Eph. 4:22-24).
What will you clothe yourself with? Light “ore” skin?
acrostic poem – a type of poetry where (usually the first) letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase.
play on words – a humorous use of a word with more than one meaning or that sounds like another word.