(Calvin, Genesis 1. part 6)

said, since it is of far greater moment, is to be frequently recalled to
memory, namely, that our life will then be rightly ordered, if we obey
God, and if his will be the regulator of all our affections.
  "Of every tree". To the end that Adam might the more willingly comply,
God commends his own liberality. 'Behold,' he says, 'I deliver into thy
hand whatever fruits the earth may produce, whatever fruits every kind of
tree may yield: from this immense profusion and variety I except only one
tree.' Then, by denouncing punishment, he strikes terror, for the purpose
of confirming the authority of the law. So much the greater, then, is the
wickedness of man, whom neither that kind commemoration of the gifts of
God, nor the dread of punishment, was able to retain in his duty.
  But it is asked, what kind of death God means in this place? It appears
to me, that the definition of this death is to be sought from its
opposite; we must, I say, remember from what kind of life man fell. He
was, in every respect, happy; his life, therefore, had alike respect to
his body and his soul, since in his soul a right judgment and a proper
government of the affections prevailed, there also life reigned; in his
body there was no defect, wherefore he was wholly free from death. His
earthly life truly would have been temporal; yet he would have passed
into heaven without death, and without injury. Death, therefore, is now a
terror to us; first, because there is a kind of annihilation, as it
respects the body; then, because the soul feels the curse of God. We must
also see what is the cause of death, namely alienation from God. Thence
it follows, that under the name of death is comprehended all those
miseries in which Adam involved himself by his defection; for as soon as
he revolted from God, the fountain of life, he was cast down from his
former state, in order that he might perceive the life of man without God
to be wretched and lost, and therefore differing nothing from death.
Hence the condition of man after his sin is not improperly called both
the privation of life, and death. The miseries and evils both of soul and
body, with which man is beset so long as he is on earth, are a kind of
entrance into death, till death itself entirely absorbs him; for the
Scripture everywhere calls those dead who, being oppressed by the tyranny
of sin and Satan, breath nothing but their own destruction. Wherefore the
question is superfluous, how it was that God threatened death to Adam on
the day in which he should touch the fruit, when he long deferred the
punishment? For then was Adam consigned to death, and death began its
reign in him, until supervening grace should bring a remedy.

18. "It is not good that the man should be alone." Moses now explains the
design of God in creating the woman; namely, that there should be human
beings on the earth who might cultivate mutual society between
themselves. Yet a doubt may arise whether this design ought to be
extended to progeny, for the words simply mean that since it was not
expedient for man to be alone, a wife must be created, who might be his
helper. I, however, take the meaning to be this, that God begins, indeed,
at the first step of human society, yet designs to include others, each
in its proper place. The commencement, therefore, involves a general
principle, that man was formed to be a social animal. Now, the human race
could not exist without the woman; and, therefore, in the conjunction of
human beings, that sacred bond is especially conspicuous, by which the
husband and the wife are combined in one body, and one soul; as nature
itself taught Plato, and others of the sounder class of philosophers, to
speak. But although God pronounced, concerning Adam, that it would not be
profitable for him to be alone, yet I do not restrict the declaration to
his person alone, but rather regard it as a common law of man's vocation,
so that every one ought to receive it as said to himself, that solitude
is not good, excepting only him whom God exempts as by a special
privilege. Many think that celibacy conduces to their advantage, and
therefore, abstain from marriage, lest they should be miserable. Not only
have heathen writers defined that to be a happy life which is passed
without a wife, but the first book of Jerome, against Jovinian, is
stuffed with petulant reproaches, by which he attempts to render hallowed
wedlock both hateful and infamous. To these wicked suggestions of Satan
let the faithful learn to oppose this declaration of God, by which he
ordains the conjugal life for man, not to his destruction, but to his
  "I will make him an help." It may be inquired, why this is not said in
the plural number, Let us make, as before in the creation of man. Some
suppose that a distinction between the two sexes is in this manner
marked, and that it is thus shown how much the man excels the woman. But
I am better satisfied with an interpretation which, though not altogether
contrary, is yet different; namely, since in the person of the man the
human race had been created, the common dignity of our whole nature was
without distinction, honoured with one eulogy, when it was said, "Let us
make man;" nor was it necessary to be repeated in creating the woman, who
was nothing else than an accession to the man. Certainly, it cannot be
denied, that the woman also, though in the second degree, was created in
the image of God; whence it follows, that what was said in the creation
of the man belongs to the female sex. Now, since God assigns the woman as
a help to the man, he not only prescribes to wives the rule of their
vocation to instruct them in their duty, but he also pronounces that
marriage will really prove to men the best support of life. We may
therefore conclude, that the order of nature implies that the woman
should be the helper of the man. The vulgar proverb, indeed, is, that she
is a necessary evil; but the voice of God is rather to be heard, which
declares that woman is given as a companion and an associate to the man,
to assist him to live well. I confess, indeed, that in this corrupt state
of mankind, the blessing of God, which is here described, is neither
perceived nor flourishes; but the cause of the evil must be considered,
namely, that the order of nature, which God had appointed, has been
inverted by us. For if the integrity of man had remained to this day such
as it was from the beginning, that divine institution would be clearly
discerned, and the sweetest harmony would reign in marriage; because the
husband would look up with reverence to God; the woman in this would be a
faithful assistant to him; and both, with one consent, would cultivate a
holy, as well as friendly and peaceful intercourse. Now, it has happened
by our fault, and by the corruption of nature, that this happiness of
marriage has, in a great measure, perished, or, at least, is mixed and
infected with many inconveniences. Hence arise strifes, troubles,
sorrows, dissensions, and a boundless sea of evils; and hence it follows,
that men are often disturbed by their wives, and suffer through them many
discouragements. Still, marriage was not capable of being so far vitiated
by the depravity of men, that the blessing which God has once sanctioned
by his word should be utterly abolished and extinguished. Therefore,
amidst many inconveniences of marriage, which are the fruits of
degenerate nature, some residue of divine good remains; as in the fire
apparently smothered, some sparks still glitter. On this main point hangs
another, that women, being instructed in their duty of helping their
husbands, should study to keep this divinely appointed order. It is also
the part of men to consider what they owe in return to the other half of
their kind, for the obligation of both sexes is mutual, and on this
condition is the woman assigned as a help to the man, that he may fill
the place of her head and leader. One thing more is to be noted, that,
when the woman is here called the help of the man, no allusion is made to
that necessity to which we are reduced since the fall of Adam; for the
woman was ordained to be the man's helper, even although he had stood in
his integrity. But now, since the depravity of appetite also requires a
remedy, we have from God a double benefit: but the latter is accidental.
  "Meet for him." In the Hebrew it is "kenegdo", "as if opposite to," or
"over against him." "Caph" in that language is a note of similitude. But
although some of the Rabbles think it is here put as an affirmative, yet
I take it in its general sense, as though it were said that she is a kind
of counterpart, ["antistoikon", or "antistrofon";] for the woman is said
to be opposite to or over against the man, because she responds to him.
But the particle of similitude seems to me to be added because it is a
form of speech taken from common usage. The Greek translators have
faithfully rendered the sense, "kath' auton"; and Jerome, " Which may be
like him," for Moses intended to note some equality. And hence is
refitted the error of some, who think that the woman was formed only for
the sake of propagation, and who restrict the word "good," which had been
lately mentioned, to the production of offspring. They do not think that
a wife was personally necessary for Adam, because he was hitherto free
from lust; as if she had been given to him only for the companion of his
chamber, and not rather that she might be the inseparable associate of
his life. Wherefore the particle "caph" is of importance, as intimating
that marriage extends to all parts and usages of life. The explanation
given by others, as if it were said, "Let her be ready to obedience," is
cold; for Moses intended to express more, as is manifest from what

19. "And out of the ground the Lord God formed, &c".4 This is a more
ample exposition of the preceding sentence, for he says that, of all the
animals, when they had been placed in order, not one was found which
might be conferred upon and adapted to Adam; nor was there such affinity
of nature, that Adam could choose for himself a companion for life out of
any one species. Nor did this occur through ignorance, for each species
had passed in review before Adams and he had imposed names upon them, not
rashly but from certain knowledge; yet there was no just proportion
between him and them. Therefore, unless a wife had been given him of the
same kind with himself, he would have remained destitute of a suitable
and proper help. Moreover, what is here said of God's bringing the
animals to Adam signifies nothing else than that he endued them with the
disposition to obedience, so that they would voluntarily offer themselves
to the man, in order that he, having closely inspected them, might
distinguish them by appropriate names, agreeing with the nature of each.
This gentleness towards man would have remained also in wild beasts, if
Adam, by his defection from God, had not lost the authority he had before
received. But now, from the time in which he began to be rebellious
against God, he experienced the ferocity of brute animals against
himself; for some are tamed with difficulty, others always remain
unsubdued, and some, even of their own accord, inspire us with terror by
their fierceness. Yet some remains of their former subjection continue to
the present time, as we shall see in the second verse of the ninth
chapter. Besides, it is to be remarked that Moses speaks only of those
animals which approach the nearest to man, for the fishes live as in
another world. As to the names which Adam imposed, I do not doubt that
each of them was founded on the best reason; but their use, with many
other good things, has become obsolete.

21. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall, &c." Although to
profane persons this method of forming woman may seem ridiculous, and
some of these may say that Moses is dealing in fables, yet to us the
wonderful providence of God here shines forth; for, to the end that the
conjunction of the human race might be the more sacred he purposed that
both males and females should spring from one and the same origin.
Therefore he created human nature in the person of Adam, and thence
formed Eve, that the woman should be only a portion of the whole human
race. This is the import of the words of Moses which we have had before,
(Chap. 1: 28,) "God created man ... he made them male and female." In
this manner Adam was taught to recognize himself in his wife, as in a
mirror; and Eve, in her turn, to submit herself willingly to her husband,
as being taken out of him. But if the two sexes had proceeded from
different sources, there would have been occasion either of mutual
contempt, or envy, or contentions. And against what do perverse men here
object? 'The narration does not seem credible, since it is at variance
with custom.' As if, indeed, such an objection would have more colour
than one raised against the usual mode of the production of mankind, if
the latter were not known by use and experience. But they object that
either the rib which was taken from Adam had been superfluous, or that
his body had been mutilated by the absence of the rib. To either of these
it may be answered, that they find out a great absurdity. If, however, we
should say that the rib out of which he would form another body had been
prepared previously by the Creator of the world, I find nothing in this
answer which is not in accordance with Divine Providence. Yet I am more
in favour of a different conjecture, namely, that something was taken
from Adam, in order that he might embrace, with greater benevolence, a
part of himself. He lost, therefore, one of his ribs; but, instead of it,
a far richer reward was granted him, since he obtained a faithful
associate of life; for he now saw himself, who had before been imperfect,
rendered complete in his wife. And in this we see a true resemblance of
our union with the Son of God; for he became weak that he might have
members of his body endued with strength. In the meantime, it is to be
noted, that Adam had been plunged in a sleep so profound, that he felt no
pain; and further, that neither had the rupture been violent, nor was any
want perceived of the lost rib, because God so filled up the vacuity with
flesh, that his strength remained unimpaired; only the hardness of bone
was removed. Moses also designedly used the word built, to teach us that
in the person of the woman the human race was at length complete, which
had before been like a building just begun. Others refer the expression
to the domestic economy, as if Moses would say that legitimate family
order was then instituted, which does not differ widely from the former

22. "And brought her, &c." Moses now relates that marriage was divinely
instituted, which is especially useful to be known; for since Adam did
not take a wife to himself at his own will, but received her as offered
and appropriated to him by God, the sanctity of marriage hence more
clearly appears, because we recognize God as its Author. The more Satan
has endeavoured to dishonour marriage, the more should we vindicate it
from all reproach and abuse, that it may receive its due reverence.
Thence it will follow that the children of God may embrace a conjugal
life with a good and tranquil conscience, and husbands and wives may live
together in chastity and honour. The artifice of Satan in attempting the
defamation of marriage was twofold: first, that by means of the odium
attached to it he might introduce the pestilential law of celibacy; and,
secondly, that married persons might indulge themselves in whatever
license they pleased. Therefore, by showing the dignity of marriage, we
must remove superstition, lest it should in the slightest degree hinder
the faithful from chastely using the lawful and pure ordinance of God;
and further, we must oppose the lasciviousness of the flesh, in order
that men may live modestly with their wives. But if no other reason
influenced us, yet this alone ought to be abundantly sufficient, that
unless we think and speak honorably of marriage, reproach is attached to
its Author and Patron, for such God is here described as being by Moses.

23. "And Adam said, &c." It is demanded whence Adam derived this
knowledge since he was at that time buried in deep sleep. If we say that
his quickness of perception was then such as to enable him by conjecture
to form a judgment, the solution would be weak. But we ought not to doubt
that God would make the whole course of the affair manifest to him,
either by secret revelation or by his word; for it was not from any
necessity on God's part that He borrowed from man the rib out of which he
might form the woman; but he designed that they should be more closely
joined together by this bonds which could not have been effected unless
he had informed them of the fact. Moses does not indeed explain by what
means God gave them this information; yet unless we would make the work
of God superfluous, we must conclude that its Author revealed both the
fact itself and the method and design of its accomplishment. The deep
sleep was sent upon Adam, not to hide from him the origin of his wife,
but to exempt him from pain and trouble, until he should receive a
compensation so excellent for the loss of his rib.
  "This is now bone of, &c." In using the expression "hapa'am", Adam
indicates that something had been wanting to him; as if he had said, Now
at length I have obtained a suitable companion, who is part of the
substance of my flesh, and in whom I behold, as it were, another self.
And he gives to his wife a name taken from that of man, that by this
testimony and this mark he might transmit a perpetual memorial of the
wisdom of God. A deficiency in the Latin language has compelled the
ancient interpreter to render "ishah" by the word virago. It is, however,
to be remarked, that the Hebrew term means nothing else than the female
of the man.

24. "Therefore shall a man leave." It is doubted whether Moses here
introduces God as speaking, or continues the discourse of Adam, or,
indeed, has added this, in virtue of his office as teacher, in his own
person. The last of these is that which I most approve. Therefore, after
he has related historically what God had done, he also demonstrates the
end of the divine institution. The sum of the whole is, that among the
offices pertaining to human society, this is the principal, and as it
were the most sacred, that a man should cleave unto his wife. And he
amplifies this by a superadded comparison, that the husband ought to
prefer his wife to his father. But the father is said to be left not
because marriage severs sons from their fathers, or dispenses with other
ties of nature, for in this way God would be acting contrary to himself.
While, however, the piety of the son towards his father is to be most
assiduously cultivated and ought in itself to be deemed inviolable and
sacred, yet Moses so speaks of marriage as to show that it is less lawful
to desert a wife than parents. Therefore, they who, for slight causes,
rashly allow of divorces, violate, in one single particular, all the laws
of nature, and reduce them to nothing. If we should make it a point of
conscience not to separate a father from his son, it is a still greater
wickedness to dissolve the bond which God has preferred to all others.
  "They shall be one flesh." Although the ancient Latin interpreter has
translated the passage 'in one flesh,' yet the Greek interpreters have
expressed it more forcibly: 'They two shall be into one flesh,' and thus
Christ cites the place in Matthew 19: 5. But though here no mention is
made of two, yet there is no ambiguity in the sense; for Moses had not
said that God has assigned many wives, but only one to one man; and in
the general direction given, he had put the wife in the singular number.
It remains, therefore, that the conjugal bond subsists between two
persons only, whence it easily appears, that nothing is less accordant
with the divine institution than polygamy. Now, when Christ, in censuring
the voluntary divorces of the Jews, adduces as his reason for doing it,
that 'it was not so in the beginning,' (Matth. 19: 5,) he certainly
commands this institution to be observed as a perpetual rule of conduct.
To the same point also Malachi recalls the Jews of his own time: 'Did he
not make them one from the beginning? and yet the Spirit was abounding in
him.' (Mal. 2: 15.) Wherefore, there is no doubt that polygamy is a
corruption of legitimate marriage.

25. "They were both naked." That the nakedness of men should be deemed
indecorous and unsightly, while that of cattle has nothing disgraceful,
seems little to agree with the dignity of human nature. We cannot behold
a naked man without a sense of shame; yet at the sight of an ass, a dog,
or an ox, no such feeling will be produced. Moreover, every one is
ashamed of his own nakedness, even though other witnesses may not be
present. Where then is that dignity in which we excel? The cause of this
sense of shame, to which we are now alluding, Moses will show in the next
chapter. He now esteems it enough to say, that in our uncorrupted nature,
there was nothing but what was honorable; whence it follows, that
whatsoever is opprobrious in us, must be imputed to our own fault, since
our parents had nothing in themselves which was unbecoming until they
were defiled with sin.

Chapter III.

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the
LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye
shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the
trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God
hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall
be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it
[was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise,
she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her
husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were]
naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the
cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence
of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid,
because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of
the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave
me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast
done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this,
thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field;
upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed
and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy
conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire
[shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of
thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying,
Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow
shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt
eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto
the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto
dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins,
and clothed them.
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know
good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the
tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till
the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of
Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the
way of the tree of life.

1. "Now the serpent was more subtile." In this chapter, Moses explains,
that man, after he had been deceived by Satan revolted from his Maker,
became entirely changed and so degenerate, that the image of God, in
which he had been formed, was obliterated. He then declares, that the
whole world, which had been created for the sake of man, fell together
with him from its primary original; and that in this ways much of its
native excellence was destroyed. But here many and arduous questions
arise. For when Moses says that the serpent was crafty beyond all other
animals, he seems to intimate, that it had been induced to deceive man,
not by the instigation of Satan, but by its own malignity. I answer, that
the innate subtlety of the serpent did not prevent Satan from making use
of the animal for the purpose of effecting the destruction of man. For
since he required an instrument, he chose from among animals that which
he saw would be most suitable for him: finally, he carefully contrived
the method by which the snares he was preparing might the more easily
take the mind of Eve by surprise. Hitherto, he had held no communication
with men; he, therefore, clothed himself with the person of an animal,
under which he might open for himself the way of access. Yet it is not
agreed among interpreters in what sense the serpent is said to be
"aroom", (subtle,) by which word the Hebrews designate the prudent as
well as the crafty. Some, therefore, would take it in a good, others in a
bad sense. I think, however, Moses does not so much point out a fault as
attribute praise to nature because God had endued this beast with such
singular skill, as rendered it acute and quick-sighted beyond all others.
But Satan perverted to his own deceitful purposes the gift which had been
divinely imparted to the serpent. Some captiously cavil, that more
acuteness is now found in many other animals. To whom I answer, that
there would be nothing absurd in saying, that the gift which had proved
so destructive to the human race has been withdrawn from the serpent:
just, as we shall hereafter see, other punishments were also inflicted
upon it. Yet, in this description, writers on natural history do not
materially differ from Moses, and experience gives the best answer to the
objection; for the Lord does not in vain command his own disciples to be
'prudent as serpents,' (Matth. 10: 16.) But it appears, perhaps, scarcely
consonant with reason, that the serpent only should be here brought
forward, all mention of Satan being suppressed. I acknowledge, indeed,
that from this place alone nothing more can be collected than that men
were deceived by the serpent. But the testimonies of Scripture are
sufficiently numerous, in which it is plainly asserted that the serpent
was only the mouth of the devil; for not the serpent but the devil is
declared to be 'the father of lies,' the fabricator of imposture, and the
author of death. The question, however, is not yet solved, why Moses has
kept back the name of Satan. I willingly subscribe to the opinion of
those who maintain that the Holy Spirit then purposely used obscure
figures, because it was fitting that full and clear light should be
reserved for the kingdom of Christ. In the meantime, the prophets prove
that they were well acquainted with the meaning of Moses, when, in
different places, they cast the blame of our ruin upon the devil. We have
elsewhere said, that Moses, by a homely and uncultivated style,
accommodates what he delivers to the capacity of the people; and for the
best reason; for not only had he to instruct an untaught race of men, but
the existing age of the Church was so puerile, that it was unable to
receive any higher instruction. There is, therefore, nothing absurd in
the supposition, that they, whom, for the time, we know and confess to
have been but as infants, were fed with milk. Or (if another comparison
be more acceptable) Moses is by no means to be blamed, if he, considering
the office of schoolmaster as imposed upon him, insists on the rudiments
suitable to children. They who have an aversion to this simplicity, must
of necessity condemn the whole economy of God in governing the Church.
This, however, may suffice us, that the Lord, by the secret illumination
of his Spirit, supplied whatever was wanting of clearness in outward
expressions; as appears plainly from the prophets, who saw Satan to be
the real enemy of the human race, the contriver of all evils, furnished
with every kind of fraud and villainy to injure and destroy. Therefore,
though the impious make a noise, there is nothing justly to offend us in
this mode of speaking by which Moses describes Satan, the prince of
iniquity, under the person of his servant and instrument, at the time
when Christ, the Head of the Church, and the Sun of Righteousness, had
not yet openly shone forth. Add to this, the baseness of human
ingratitude is more clearly hence perceived, that when Adam and Eve knew
that all animals were given, by the hand of God, into subjection to them,
they yet suffered themselves to be led away by one of their own slaves
into rebellion against God. As often as they beheld any one of the
animals which were in the world, they ought to have been reminded both of
the supreme authority, and of the singular goodness of God; but, on the
contrary, when they saw the serpent an apostate from his Creator, not
only did they neglect to punish it, but, in violation of all lawful
order, they subjected and devoted themselves to it, as participators in
the same apostasy. What can be imagined more dishonourable than this
extreme depravity? Thus, I understand the name of the serpent, not
allegorically, as some foolishly do, but in its genuine sense.
  Many persons are surprised that Moses simply, and as if abruptly,
relates that men have fallen by the impulse of Satan into eternal
destruction, and yet never by a single word explains how the tempter
himself had revolted from God. And hence it has arisen, that fanatical
men have dreamed that Satan was created evil and wicked as he is here
described. But the revolt of Satan is proved by other passages of
Scripture; and it is an impious madness to ascribe to God the creation of
any evil and corrupt nature; for when he had completed the world, he
himself gave this testimony to all his works, that they were "very good."
Wherefore, without controversy, we must conclude, that the principle of
evil with which Satan was endued was not from nature, but from defection;
because he had departed from God, the fountain of justice and of all
rectitude. But Moses here passes over Satan's fall, because his object is
briefly to narrate the corruption of human nature; to teach us that Adam
was not created to those multiplied miseries under which all his
posterity suffer, but that he fell into them by his own fault. In
reflecting on the number and nature of those evils to which they are
obnoxious, men will often be unable to restrain themselves from raging
and murmuring against God, whom they rashly censure for the just
punishment of their sin. These are their well-known complaints that God
has acted more mercifully to swine and dogs than to them. Whence is this,
but that they do not refer the miserable and ruined state, under which we
languish, to the sin of Adam as they ought? But what is far worse, they
fling back upon God the charge of being the cause of all the inward vices
of the mind, (such as its horrible blindness, contumacy against God,
wicked desires, and violent propensities to evil;) as if the whole
perverseness of our disposition had not been adventitious. The design,
therefore, of Moses was to show, in a few words, how greatly our present
condition differs from our first original, in order that we may learn,
with humble confession of our fault, to bewail our evils. We ought not
then to be surprised, that, while intent on the history he purposed to
relate, he does not discuss every topic which may be desired by any
person whatever.
  We must now enter on that question by which vain and inconstant minds
are greatly agitated; namely, Why God permitted Adam to be tempted,
seeing that the sad result was by no means hidden from him? That He now
relaxes Satan's reins, to allow him to tempt us to sin, we ascribe to
judgment and to vengeance, in consequence of man's alienation from
himself; but there was not the same reason for doing so when human nature
was yet pure and upright. God, therefore, permitted Satan to tempt man,
who was conformed to His own image, and not yet implicated in any crime,
having, moreover, on this occasion, allowed Satan the use of an animal
which otherwise would never have obeyed him; and what else was this, than
to arm an enemy for the destruction of man? This seems to have been the
ground on which the Manichaeans maintained the existence of two
principles. Therefore, they have imagined that Satan, not being in
subjection to God, laid snares for man in opposition to the divine will,
and was superior not to man only, but also to God himself. Thus, for the
sake of avoiding what they dreaded as an absurdity, they have fallen into
execrable prodigies of error; such as, that there are two Gods and not
one sole Creator of the world, and that the first God has been overcome
by his antagonist. All, however, who think piously and reverently
concerning the power of God, acknowledge that the evil did not take place
except by his permission. For, in the first place, it must be conceded,
that God was not in ignorance of the event which was about to occur; and

(continued in part 7...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01/cvgn1-06.txt