Why Do We Wear Clothes? (PG)

In America, it’s getting closer to winter and as we approach it, I am already freezing. I definitely have a good reason for wearing clothes right now. It’s cold outside, but what if we lived in the southern hemisphere where you might want to ditch every piece of clothing and jump in some cool water? Weather can’t be the only reason for clothing.

If you know anything about the bible, you are aware that Genesis 3 is the Bible’s first introduction of clothing. It starts with insufficient fig leaves being replaced by animal skins. Clothing in the bible has something to do with covering our shame that is depicted in nakedness. The biblical answer to why we have a need for clothes has something to do with the shame of sin. Ever since Genesis three, for the most part, human beings have worn clothes and it seems to be a matter of conscience to do so. We know there would be something wrong if a person walked through our local shopping mall in their birthday suit. In our country, at least for the time being, they would be arrested. Some people would stare in shock while others might quickly hide their eyes and hustle their kids to a position where they cannot see. Our actions show that we believe there is a shame attached to public nudity.

The bible also talks about our conscience in a way that helps us to understand that as we ignore God, we tend to train our consciences to accept shameful things as good or normal things. In our society there are many people who believe that same sex romantic relationships should be a normal and moral practice in society. Others believe that it is right and good for mothers to abort their babies. Others believe it is right and good to choose your gender on the basis of your feelings. In the same way, some cultures have accepted nudity has a natural part of life and many tribes in the world still live this way. In our western culture some people have set up their own community groups to celebrate their uncovered bodies. Since Genesis 3 we find that our consciences cannot be trusted outside the direction of God’s Word. In his letter to Timothy Paul wrote, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.” (1 Timothy 4:2).

For the most part, and particularly where the light of the gospel has had some influence, people wear clothes in an attempt to cover the shame of nakedness. This is something that our first parents realized the moment they became aware of their sin. Adam and Eve had no need to be ashamed of their nakedness because they were created as a couple in marriage union. Even so, when Adam and Eve saw their nakedness with eyes knowing both good and evil, their nakedness was a direct depiction of sin exposed. Instead of all the wonder that seemed to be promised by the serpent, they saw the tragedy of sin and were ashamed.

Bottom line, our sin needs a covering and it needs something better than we can provide. Every time we put on our clothes to go out in public, we should remind ourselves that we have lost the innocence of purity and are no longer in the garden. Our clothes cover our body but that is only a shadow of the truth we really need to understand. We need a covering for sin. We can thank God that right there in the garden in Genesis 3 he steps us toward our answer in the provision of coverings for our first parents.