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vindication, (far from it,) yet it was an alleviation of the fault. It would have been much worse if she had eaten of her own accord, without a tempter.
Ver. 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 life." Ver. 13, " 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."
It is an observation of an ancient christian writer, in Patrick upon ver. 14, That though God inflicted punish'ments upon Adam and Eve, yet he did not curse them, as 'he did the serpent, they standing fair for a restitution to his 'favour.' Undoubtedly, it must have been comfortable to Adam and Eve, to see the displeasure of God against the serpent that had seduced them. Nor were they presently cut off, as the threatening, annexed to disobedience, seemed to import. Yea God speaks of the woman's seed. Therefore they were not to die immediately, but were to have a posterity; meaning by her seed men in general, or the Messiah, and good men who should prevail against the tempter and adversary, though they would suffer some injuries through his means; and calling it the "woman's seed," as some expositors think, to mollify Adam, and prevent his displeasure against her, who had led him into wrong conduct.
Ver. 16, "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth thy children:" that is, I will add to thee pain and sorrow of child-bearing, " And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Thy will shall be subject to thy husband's. So it was before: but now his authority might be more rigorous and severe than otherwise it would have been. The punishment inflicted on Eve is suitable to the condition of her sex.
Ver. 17, "Unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, (where we see what was his chief temptation, and what was the nearest and most immediate inducement to him to transgress:) 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." Ver. 18, "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field." Ver. 19, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to
the ground; for out of it wast thou taken. For dust thou
This part of the sentence, "returning to the dust," or
The rest of the sentence or punishment inflicted on Adam, is suitable to the condition of his sex, as the woman's was to hers, whose province, as the apostle excellently describes it, 1 Tim. v. 14, is to "bear children, and guide the house :" whilst the man has the charge of providing for himself and the family by his care, labour, and industry. The punishment therefore laid upon Adam is, that his care, and toil, and labour, should now for the future be increased beyond what it would have been otherwise.
But here arise objections, relating to the execution of the several sentences pronounced upon the serpent, the tempter, and the two transgressors. The sentence upon 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 life."
This is thought a difficulty. And it is asked: Did not serpents go upon the belly before? Was not that their ordinary motion always? How else should they be serpents, if they wanted that which is their proper nature? With regard then to this, and the two other sentences of punishment ́ pronounced upon Eve, and upon Adam, I would observe. It seems to me probable, that God foresaw the event; and that though Adam was made innocent and upright, yet he would fall. This being foreseen, there were dispositions made in the original formation of things, which would be suitable to what happened. Therefore the alterations to be made upon the transgression of the first pair, were not very great and extraordinary. That is, there needed not any great alteration in the form of serpents, nor in the woman's make and constitution, nor in the temper of the ground, to accomplish what is mentioned as a punishment upon each.
Serpents there were before the fall, as is manifest. And their winding, insinuating motion is referred to. Nor did God now, after the fall, create any new species of plants, as "thorns and thistles," to exercise Adam's patience. There were already formed plants and herbs, that were not immediately useful for food, and would occasion an increase of
labour and toil. And doubtless there were also lions, and tigers, and other like creatures; all originally made within the compass of the six day's creation, and all good and wisely designed, as a restraint upon man, according as his temper and circumstances should prove; to humble him, and to render him sensible of his weakness in himself, and his dependence upon God; and to make him thankful for all his distinctions, that he might be induced to give the praise of all his prerogatives and pre-eminences to him from whom they came; who had made him to differ, with advantage, from the rest of the living creatures of this earth; but had also shown, in a proper measure, his wisdom and power in them, as well as in him, and indeed, is wise and holy, great and admirable, in all his works.
Nor does it appear that the whole earth, though fitted for great fertility, was made paradisaical. For, according to Moses, paradise was a garden, a spot of ground which God planted, a certain district or territory, designed for the accommodation of man, and the living creatures with him, in a state of innocence. When Adam therefore was turned out of paradise, he would find a difference.
It follows at ver. 20, “ And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.'
When this was done, is not absolutely certain. Moses does not say when. And as he seems not always to keep the order of time, it may be questioned whether this was done very soon after the sentence had been pronounced upon them; or not till after the woman had brought forth, and was the mother of a living child.
Ver. 21," Unto Adam also, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them."
It is very likely that this is not mentioned in the order of time. For it precedes the account of expelling Adam and Eve out of Paradise; whereas it cannot be easily supposed that it was done so soon. It must be reckoned probable, that immediately after the transgression of our first parents, and pronouncing sentence upon them, they were driven out of paradise. But coats of skins could not be had till some time after the fall; for as all the brute creatures were made by pairs, some time must have been allowed for their increase, before any could be slain in the way of sacrifice, or otherwise.
Some of the Jewish writers indeed have understood this literally: "that unto Adam and his wife God did make coats of skins and clothed them :" that is, he created for them such garments. Then there would be no occasion to
take from any of the beasts; but the more likely meaning is, that by Divine instruction and direction they made to themselves coats of skins: and it may be supposed, that they were but rough and unpolished.
Understand these words, as we generally do, that by Divine instruction, and with the divine approbation, Adam and Eve clothed themselves with the skins of slain beasts, of sheep, or goats, or other living creatures: I should be much inclined to think that Moses inserted this particular, as evidence that God himself approved of clothing the body with proper and sufficient covering, as a ground and foundation of that decency, which is necessary to be observed by so sociable a creature as man, and in his present circumstances. And if the rough skins of beasts were used then, a more agreeable and more ornamental clothing would not be unlawful or sinful hereafter: when farther improvements in arts and sciences should be made by the wit and industry of man: provided it were but suitable to the ability and condition of persons. And, for certain, a great variety of circumstances was very likely to arise in a numerous race of beings.
I say, if this be the meaning of the words, as they are generally understood, I should be much disposed to think, that Moses inserted this particular, to prevent all scruples upon this head: for though a thing be in itself reasonable, and highly expedient; yet there is nothing that so effectually puts objections to silence, as a divine precept or precedent.
However, there is a very learned and diligent expositor of scripture, who explains this text in a different manner. He does not deny, that the original word is used for coat or clothing but yet he thinks the word rendered coats, signifies tents or tabernacles: which would be more needful than clothing in that warm climate near paradise. Nor would the first pair, he thinks, need there so thick and heavy a clothing as that of the skins of beasts. Nevertheless, I do but just mention this sense; for that of our translation is generally approved of both by Jewish and christian interpreters.
Ver. 22, "And the Lord God said; Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."
Calvin's remark upon this verse is exactly to this purpose: Whereas," says he, many christians from this place
b Quod autem
a Vid. J. Cleric. Comm. in Gen. iii. 7, et 21. eliciunt ex hoc loco christiani doctrinam de tribus in Deo personis, vereor ne satis firmum sit argumentum. Comm. in Gen. iii. 22.
'draw the doctrine of a trinity of persons in the Deity, I fear 'the argument is not solid.' So that great man. And indeed, though Moses gives no particular account of the creation of angels, yet their existence is supposed in several parts of this history; and what reason could there be for saying, upon this occasion, that man was become like one of the Divine persons? It may therefore be reckoned very likely that here is a reference to the angelical order of beings, supposed to be more perfect and more knowing than
Still, ver. 22, " And now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and live for ever."
The expression is elliptical. Somewhat is to be supplied, and to this effect. 'Now care must be had, that he take not of the tree of life, and live for ever.' This seems to imply, what was formerly hinted, that the tree of life was salutary and healing, and might be useful in case of hurts, and injuries, and decays. But man having transgressed in eating of the fruit forbidden him, and having incurred the threatened sentence; (which too had been pronounced upon him ;), it was by no means fit he should eat of the tree of life: the fruit of which might have rendered him immortal, or however prolonged his days to a period that was not suited to the circumstances into which he had brought himself by wilful transgression. There is an allusion to this design, or this virtue of the tree of life in Rev. xxii. 2, "And in the midst of the street of it, and on either side the river was there the tree of life- -And the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations."
Ver. 23, 24, "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground, from whence he was taken. 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."
The design of all which, seems to be to intimate, that the sentence of death, pronounced upon man, was peremptory and irreversible. He was by no means to attain to immortality in this world, but suffer the change of death, or the dissolution of soul and body, and return to the dust, out of which he was taken.
The text speaks expressly of "man" only. But all allow that the " woman is included, and must be understood. And are we not also to conclude, that the living creatures were all to follow Adam, and leave paradise.