So when do you think the first sacrifice was made according to some christians? And remember, the ones who claim this will say that they are simply teaching you scripture. Was it in the Torah, “the Law,” when Moses was giving commands about how to give certain sacrifices? No, no! It was way before that. What about the sacrifices of Abraham? Nope! Still further back than that! Well, there’s Noah who gaves sacrifices when he left the ark. it’s gotta be him, right? Errrr … nope! OK, then it’s gotta be Cain and Abel, right? Abel gave offerings from his flock, so it must be him. Who else could it be? So Abel, right? Errrr …. I wish it was. I really really wish it was. But nope!
When clothes becomes atonement
OK, let me just give you the history that Genesis portrays about Adam and Eve. Your mission, should you accept it, is this: Just by the plain words of scripture, without addition to the words of scripture, point out the sacrifice for sin! I’m gonna just summarize the history.
God makes Adam, places him in a garden which has two note-worthy trees in it: the tree of life at the centre of the garden; and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. God tells Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad (I’ll call it the KOGAB tree for now) Then God makes Adam’s wife, who is also under the command. Adam’s wife, later called Chavvah (a name which is destroyed and converted into the name “Eve” thus going from the sound HHavvah to something that sounds like “eev”), gets tempted and fails to keep the commanmdment, not only eating from the KOGAB tree, but also giving her husband some to eat as well. Yeah, I know there was a tempter but that’s not what is relevant to this article.
After this act, Adam and “Eve”, who were previously naked and innocent of seeing each other in a lustful, purely physical way, felt the need to cover themselves. So they made garments which covered their private parts, referred to as “girdles” which covered at least Adam’s waist area, and they made it out of fig leaves. God then punishes them for what they do, and out of mercy gives them clothes made out of skins. And then he kicks the humans out of the garden.
OK, where’s the sacrifice? Where, according to my summary, is the sacrifice for sin? Look, you can read the whole of Genesis 3 for yourself and see. I haven’t missed out anything relevant to the subject. In fact, strangely enough, I’ve added to it rather than that summarize. The scripture says nothing about “out of mercy.”
Removing the obvious
I think a normal person reading the scriptures would be puzzled and say, “David, I don’t see a sacrifice!” And I would heartily agree. But our “spiritually” minded christian will point us to what he sees as obvious. According to him, the sacrifice is right here:
And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)
Yes, states the christian, the first sacrifice for sin is right here.
Again, someone who actually reads scripture for just what it says will look at this verse a number of times, maybe inside out and upside down, just to try to understand how the hell anyone could get sacrifice from this verse. This person will notice a few obvious things missing from the verse. Firstly, there is no mention of sin, sacrifice, atonement, and there’s not even a mention of “covering”. There is no mention of death, no mention of slaughter, no mention of ritual, no mention of an altar, no mention of a priest, no mention of blood, no mention of offering, no mention of burning (like what happened to most offerings) … In fact, if you and I were very blunt, we would say there is not one sign of anything in the words themselves to suggest a sacrifice for sin.
But then the helpful “spiritually” minded christian will pull us to one side and say that their belief that this points to a sacrifice for sin is scriptural and that they are only telling you what the Scriptures say. Upon which it must be stated that if the christian is trying to speak according to scripture and scripture says nothing whatsoever about any sort of sacrifice, then logically speaking, the christian is not speaking according to scripture.
Jesus is everywhere?
So the question to the christian would be this: why take a verse that is, according to its own words, clean from anything to do with sin sacrifices? Why not take it for what is says, that God gave man better clothes than just fig leaves?
The “innocent” christian will say that he’s just honestly interpreting scripture. He states that God would have needed an animal to make the clothes, an innocent animal. The christian would state that it is very likely that it would have been a lamb and that this lamb had to die to cover the humans’ nakedness. [You’re already starting to see where this is going.] So the innocent “lamb” has to die to cover our nakedness/sin, much in the same way that christians perceive the role of sacrifices of the Torah to be which they see as being fulfilled in who else but Jesus/Yeshua their sinless spotless Christ whose death is supposed to cover their sins.
Now, to a certain type of christian this is all very believeable. To even someone else it may even be plausible. But there is just one big glaring problem that should hit you in the face like a punch: it isn’t in the text!
As I’ve shown before, there is absolutely no sign in the text itself that this “plausible” story of the christian actually occurred. In fact, if you think about it, there is no real reason to accept this drawn-out story that is essentially based on silence. As shown before, no word in that verse overtly or even subtly points to only sin sacrifice. I mean, a few simple points will show you what I mean.
This type of christian pointed to a lamb or some part of a flock to die for these skins. Now does the verse itself mention what sort of animal was used? Nope! The christian plucks that out of the sky. There was no commandment back then to prohibit the use of pig’s skin to make clothes with. There was nothing stopping God from simply creating the clothes of skin, and it takes a mentally lazy or inconsistent christian to accept God’s miraculously creating the universe over the past two previous chapters and then to wonder how such a God could create skins in this one. The verse makes no mention of the source. I’ll say that again: there is no mention whatsoever of the source of the skin for the clothes God made for Adam and his wife! That’s why the christian claim is essentially based on silence.
BUT THE CONTEXT IS THE SIN OF MAN, a christian may shout! And the response is, so what?!? That was already dealt with when God handed out the punishments. The verse before, where Adam gives his wife a name, has nothing to do with sin sacrifice or the supposed fallen nature of man. Why single out this verse when no word unambiguously points to sacrifice? You start to see that once again the christian is thinking backwards as is stated in the book, Leaving Jesus. In their minds, as their foundation, they have their central figure, Jesus, and their central belief in his death being some sort of sacrifice for sin. It is this belief that covers all scripture as opposed to God covering Adam’s sin.
Clothes are just clothes
But again, take note of some more facts.
People have been killing animals for skins since ancient time. And those animals are just killed in a neutral way with no ritual involved at all. And guess what! These clothes that are made cover no sin, but just our nakedness and that’s it. To make an animal killing into a sacrifice needs ritual, something to make it distinct. You can’t just kill an animal, even one that you loved, and then think you just done a sacrifice that is acceptable to God. So here’s the question: assuming God actually used an animal, what rite or ritual did God perform to make this act not just a killing? Now based on the text, you should know what the answer is! Let me help: the text says absolutely nothing about the subject whatsoever and provides no basis for the view that God did any sort of slaughter!
Yep, there’s more.
Note that nakedness itself was not a sin, but rather humanity’s new perception of it. So this wasn’t a covering for sin, because back then, nakedness wasn’t the sin. Rather it is a way of protecting us from ourselves, from our new potentially dangerous perception of nakedness. So where really is the covering of sin?
A website I saw tried to use the following verse from Isaiah to shove information into Genesis 3 which doesn’t exist.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
According to them, the clothes of skin represent righteousness. And thus the sin of humanity is covered with the clothes of righteousness.
Now here I will ask you to just read that verse in Isaiah. Look at it! We see rejoicing, salvation, the analogy to a bridegroom and a bride with a garland and jewels. Now compare that to the scene concerning Adam and his wife. Oh behold the marriage-like joy as God puts on these skin clothes on them just after they’ve received their punishment for their crime and just before they get kicked out of Paradise. Oh, what joy! Right?
Of course not!
The nice way of looking at such a treatment of scripture is to say “What absolute and utter poppycock!” There’s no point in going into the more severe way of looking at it. The contexts are different, the message and the feel of both passages are almost completely different. How can you compare skins to wedding garments looking at the different cultural contexts?
Let’s be really really blunt here! We ain’t talking about a difference in interpretation here. One time when I heard a christian speak such nonsense on a TV program I called in and mistakenly got into a mini-debate which ended with “it’s all a matter of interpretation!” (Anything to end a pointless discussion!) But it’s not! It a matter of adding to scripture what isn’t there.
This is not a case of getting from scripture what is already there! It’s not like where you have the word “God” which has so much meaning and understanding what a verse means based on the way he is represented in a verse. Why? Because we are getting the meaning from the actual word of God at that time. In this case there is no word in Genesis 3:21 that can be defined as “sin sacrifice” or “atonement” or any of the elements I listed before!
But unfortunately methods like this are commonplace in christianity. I went through all 300+ messianic prophecies that are claimed by christians to point to their Jesus from the Jewish Bible and the amount of times they were texts that had absolutely nothing to do with the messianic promises in the Jewish Bible, texts that made no claim to be even prophetic, it was ridiculous and saddening.
The problem is that the vast majority of christians were convinced of an answer before they even properly understood the question. They gained faith in Jesus before they even fully understood what messiahship really meant. They had Jesus so deeply impressed upon them that when they even try to read the Jewish Bible with an ounce of integrity, they almost have to rip off their own flesh to just let it speak for itself. Speaking to a person who had recently converted to christianity, I saw how much difficulty he had just to state what he meant about this verse without an additional encyclopedia of unrelated Jesus-junk or “the blood-addicted God” who needs blood one way or another to be satisfied, even if it means butchering his own son (or himself, according to some doctrines).
In a less harsh way of putting it across, I would just implore christians to stop once in a while and just let the scripture, the Jewish Bible, speak for itself and then leave it at that. When it says “God promised Abraham descendants” or that “a she-goat would be sacrificed”, then just leave it like that without adding the extra stuff. Just let the Jewish Bible speak, even just once in a while. It can help a lot with answering many questions.