Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Q: #606. You recently said that Abel made the first animal sacrifice in the Bible (Gen 4:4), but what about when God sacrificed two animals to make "tunics of skin" to clothe Adam and Eve in (Gen 3:21)?

     A: I did receive some pushback when I said that about Abel on social media. Indeed, a majority of Christians do believe that God made the first sacrifice in the Bible when He made “tunics of skin” to clothe Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21). It is said that in doing so, God was creating a picture of the substitutionary atonement, and that a life must be sacrificed (blood must be shed) in order to cover (“clothe”) or redeem sinners. This was later pictured in required animal sacrifices (see: Leviticus), which pointed to Jesus, and His ultimate “sacrifice” on cross, giving His life, so that His blood would cover the sins of those who accepted his payment.

     However, (Gen 3:21) “never” says this is what God was doing when He made the “tunics of skin.” In short, saying this is practicing what is called “eisegisis” – “the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text” (source: Wikipedia).

     I have two questions to those who teach this:

#1. “Where does it say that God “killed” animals to get the “tunics of skin?” The reply is almost always, “How else could God have made “tunics of skin” without killing an animal?” They say this like it is “impossible” for God to make “tunics of skin” without killing (He IS omnipotent…). 

     In relation to this, it is also worth noting that when (Gen 3:21) says that God “MADE” the clothing for Adam and Eve, the Hebrew word “asah” is used. This same word is used in (Gen 1:7), when it says that God “made the firmament” (from “nothing”), in (Gen 1:16) when He “made two great lights… and the stars” (from “nothing”), and in (Gen 1:25) when He “made the beast of the earth” (from “nothing”). So… certainly, God could have created clothes (“tunics of skin”) for Adam and Eve out of “nothing” too, right?

#2. My second question is simply, “If God “did” indeed make the first “sacrifice” in the Bible by killing animals, who was He making the sacrifice to? (I would argue that even if God “did” kill animals to clothe Adam and Eve, calling it a “sacrifice” would be the wrong term to use.)

     Please understand, I am not saying that what God did in (Gen 3:21) couldn’t be a picture of the “substitutionary atonement.” All I am saying is that to make a dogmatic assertion that it HAS to be what He was doing is going beyond what is written in Scripture (nowhere else does the Bible say this was what God was doing in Gen 3:21). One lady in response to my post about Abel said, “your magical thinking is blocking logic.”

     Over the years, I have pointed out many other things that people have “read into” Scripture, which Scripture never actually says. You have probably heard a few:

There were 3 wise men.

The forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate was an “apple.” 

There are women angels.

Paul fell off of his horse when Jesus appeared to him on the Road to Damascus.

Paul was murdering Christians before he became a Christian.

     There are “many” more of these. They “MAY” be true,  but again, the point is to not practice “eisegesis” when reading and interpreting the Bible, but instead to use proper hermeneutics or exegesisIf you do have a view that cannot be proven “without a doubt” by Scripture, be sure to use a qualifier when stating that view, such as: “In my opinion, I believe this Bible verse is saying ______.”

     So, based upon the above, I believe that Abel’s animal sacrifice to God, which is “clearly” mentioned in (Gen 4:4), was the “first animal sacrifice” in the Bible.

More Questions & Answers