Leather, one of the first skills that we mastered. Scripture has it that God provided the skins of animals for us right after our eviction from the Garden. Apparently we had tried to dress ourselves in various leaves. Not particularly effective for warmth, but then again, our goal was to hide our shame.
Interesting story for a variety of reasons. God was angry enough to send us packing, but compassionate enough to provide clothing that was functional.
And there is some additional facts that we seem to gloss over. The animals in the garden were protected at one time. No death, no tooth and claw. The lion laying down with the lamb. But when God gave the couple leather, unless I’m mistaken, that implies the animals died, or were sacrificed for us.
Our decision in the Garden had a ripple effect. Not only was death real for us, but now death became very real for the animals, and quite quickly for the few that gave their skins.
There is no mention of what happened to the carcasses. Were they processed for food, glue, horned tools? Scripture is silent.
One would have to assume that God’s gift came with some teaching. “Okay, this is where you make the first cut. What do you mean “what is cutting?” You get some volcanic glass, chip away at the edges until it is sharp. Do I have to do everything?”
So we got obsidian blades and scrapers. We figure that it’s very messy to wear skin with all that fat attached, so we scrape it down. All is good for a few weeks, the leather is hard and uncomfortable, and now it starts to stink and rot. It is flesh after all. So we kill some more, and the rot continues.
There is really no other explanation, except that God provided the answer. In fact, God provided exactly the right amount of tanning solution, no matter how big or how small the actual skin was. Now, that was planning ahead.
After killing the animal and removing the skin, then scraping the fat…all you has to do was crack open the skull and rub the brains directly on the skin. Unless you knew before hand, I don’t think this is a natural reaction to try. God must have given them a clue. Big animal, big brain, just the right tanning. Little animal, little brain, just the right tanning.
Years later we would find that the bark from oak trees, various chrome metallic solutions, and even tea leaves would have enough tannic acid to cure leather. But in those early years, all we had were the brains of the owners of the skins. Not only did it stop the skin from rotting, it also made it possible for it to be soft and cuddly. Not bad!
Making leather, the first gift from God, but it started a very harsh relationship with the animals. I’m sorry, and I thank you.