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The Gospel According to Pajamas

Steven P. Wickstrom

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and it was good. On the sixth day, God created mankind; and said it was good. The one thing God did not create during those first six days was clothing. There was no need for it; yet. They did not needing clothing to wear during the day, nor pajamas at night. Then came the fateful day when Adam decided to disobey God’s command, and sin entered into the world with devastating effects. Genesis chapter three gives us the details of the fall. The devil focused on deceiving Eve because he knew there was no way that Adam would say no to Eve. Sadly enough, the devil’s plan worked, and Adam sinned. It is interesting that the first effect of sin was that Adam and Eve realized immediately they were naked. They previously had no idea that they were naked, until they sinned. Why is this important?

Before being tempted to sin, Adam and Eve more than likely, knew good from bad. They knew right from wrong. They knew that obeying God was right and disobeying God was wrong. The point here is that they had not yet internalized any evil inclinations. They could choose to do right or wrong, good or bad. Along with the ability to choose would be the responsibility for their choices, but the urge to do this evil did not come from within themselves. God had created them good, so the bad would have to come from an external source. This is where the devil comes into the picture.

This urge to disobey God was presented, or promoted by the devil; the external tempter. At this point in time; evil did not reside within them and they were, in a manner of speaking, "naturally" good. Their nakedness was innocent and in no way sinful. Just like a very young child of today, they saw no difference between a hand, that is used to perform good deeds, a mouth that praises God and the parts of the body that are used to "be fruitful and multiply." With every part of the part of the body, Adam and Eve could fulfill the will of God, so no organ was shameful, nor did anything need to be covered.

The devil lied to Adam and Eve when he told them they would be like God and know good and evil. They already knew good and evil; they simply did not think in those terms. Their only focus had been on pleasing God and doing his will. The thought to disobey God had not occurred, so the thought to anything that was evil had not occurred. They knew that they had done something evil as soon as they sinned. Their disobedience immediately revealed the fact that they were naked. They therefore made “clothing” out of fig leaves (I’ll bet that was itchy) to cover themselves. However, when God entered the garden during the “cool of the day” (probably evening), they went into hiding.

God quickly came to them (as if anyone can actually hide from God) and asked them why they were hiding. Adam responded (in Gen 3:10) that he was hiding because he was naked. He was wearing clothing made from fig leaves but still considered himself to be naked. (In case you’re interested, fig leaves are 10 inches long and 7 inches wide when fully grown.) Why did Adam consider himself to be naked even though he was clothed with fig leaves?

We can conclude from the fact that Adam considered himself to naked that their attempt at clothing appears to have been insufficient. Perhaps it is because their efforts to cover over and hide their sin was insufficient in the presence of God. If Adam's nakedness had merely been physical, then physical clothing would have been sufficient to cover over his shame. The shame, however, was not merely physical and neither was his sin. It was a spiritual act of disobedience toward God that could not be hidden underneath clothing.

I find it very interesting that later in chapter 3, God himself made clothing for Adam and Eve. It begs the question of why the fig leaves were inadequate and why God considered other clothing superior to them.

Instead of using plants, the clothing provided by God came from the skins of an animal(s). Although this is not explicitly stated, it seems reasonable to conclude that this was the first substitutionary sacrifice. An animal had to die to provide the animal skins for that clothing. The death of the innocent animal was sufficient to cover the shame of sin, yet it was insufficient to atone for the guilt. We can know this because God still banished Adam and Eve from the garden. While the sacrifice of the innocent covered over the shame of sin, it would require the sacrifice of Jesus to atone for the guilt. The physical clothing made by God is then a picture of the spiritual clothing that would be provided through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

So how do pajamas fit into this story? Since God created the clothing for Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, or the evening, we could say that God created the first set of pajamas. While the pajamas covered their bodies, sin still covered their souls. Our pajamas are a reminder that we need the gift of salvation to cover our sins. Just as the first set of pajamas were free, so is salvation. Adam and Eve needed to reach out and take the clothing that God was offering. The clothing would not be beneficial to Adam and Eve if they did not receive it. So too, we need to reach out take the gift of salvation that God is offering. God’s salvation will not be beneficial to us if we do not receive it. So the next time you slip into your pajamas, remember that they are a symbol of the covering of salvation provided you by Christ Jesus.

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