Read Genesis 3:9–21. What was God’s response to Adam and Eve after they sinned?
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, in a sanctuary-like garden, and God granted them face-to-face communion with their Creator. Their first sin opened a nearly insurmountable breach in their relationship to God. However, God had already planned how to counter such a breach of trust, and even before there came any judgment against them, He gave them the hope of a Savior (Gen. 3:15).
“Adam and Eve stood as criminals before their God, awaiting the sentence which transgression had incurred. But before they hear of the thorn and the thistle, the sorrow and anguish which should be their portion, and the dust to which they should return, they listen to words which must have inspired them with hope. Though they must suffer…, they might look forward to ultimate victory.”—Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 16.
The Lord showed them the ultimate foundation of that victory when, immediately after His judgment speech, He made for them garments of skin to cover their nakedness and shame. Although unstated, it may be reasonable to assume that an innocent animal had to die for this, and perhaps even that it was understood as a kind of sacrifice (Gen. 3:21).
God’s providing clothes for the culprits became a symbolic act. Just as the sacrifices in the desert sanctuary guaranteed the special relationship between God and His people, so the clothing in the Garden assured the guilty of God’s unchanging good will toward them.
So, from the earliest days of human history, sacrifices taught that sinful humans could find union with God, but only through the death of Jesus, prefigured in those sacrifices.
Reread Genesis 3:9–21. What does it say to you that even before God spoke any words of judgment to the guilty pair, He gave them the promise of “ultimate victory”? What does this say about God’s attitude toward us, even in our fallen state?