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3. The Fall

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?

2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But 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 die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For 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. 6And 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. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8And 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. 9And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And 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. 14And 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: 15And 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. 16Unto 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. 17And 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; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In 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. 20And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 22And 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: 23Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24So 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.

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5. For God doth know. There are those who think that God is here craftily praised by Satan, as if He never would prohibit men from the use of wholesome fruit. But they manifestly contradict themselves, for they at the some time confess that in the preceding member of the sentence he had already declared God to be unworthy of confidence, as one who had lied. Others suppose that he charges God with malignity and envy, as wishing to deprive man of his highest perfection; and this opinion is more probable than the other. Nevertheless, (according to my judgments) Satan attempts to prove what he had recently asserted, reasoning, however, from contraries:167167     “Sumpta a contraria ratione.”
   The meaning of the passage seems to be this: Satan had first said in plain terms, “Ye shall not surely die;” and then, to confirm his position, had argued that, supposing God had forbidden the tree, he must have done it out of envy, lest he should be compelled to raise them to an equality with himself, and therefore on no possible supposition had they any ground to fear; for they had only to eat in order to be beyond the reach of his vengeance. — Ed.
God, he says, has interdicted to you the tree, that he may not be compelled to admit you to the participation of his glory; therefore, the fear of punishment is quite needless. In short, he denies that a fruit which is useful and salutary can be injurious. When he says, God does know, he censures God as being moved by jealousy: and as having given the command concerning the tree, for the purpose of keeping man in an inferior rank.

Ye shall be as gods. Some translate it, ‘Ye shall be like angels.’ It might even be rendered in the singular number, ‘Ye shall be as God.’ I have no doubt that Satan promises them divinity ; as if he had said, For no other reason does God defraud you of the tree of knowledge, than because he fears to have you as companions. Moreover, it is not without some show of reason that he makes the Divine glory, or equality with God, to consist in the perfect knowledge of good and evil; but it is a mere pretense, for the purpose of ensnaring the miserable woman. Because the desire of knowledge is naturally inherent in and happiness is supposed to be placed in it; but Eve erred in not regulating the measure of her knowledge by the will of God. And we all daily suffer under the same disease, because we desire to know more than is right, and more than God allows; whereas the principal point of wisdom is a well-regulated sobriety in obedience to God.




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