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the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for when thou eatest thereof thou must surely die.— 18. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. 19. And the Lord God forned out of the ground every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought
ator; it was man alone " by whose sin Death entered the world"; it was his disobedience which destroyed the beautiful harmony that originally pervaded the creation. But God is loving even while He chastises. Man lost a great boon by his levity, but God granted him a greater gift in its stead; He bestowed upon him that intelligence which raises him to the dignity of the self-conscious master of the earth. Man forfeited the easy material existence of Paradise; but he attained in its place a spiritual life which breaks through all earthly limits; which conquers time, and reaches with its thoughts and its deeds to the gates of eternity:--It has frequently been asserted, that the Pentateuch never alludes to the question of immortality. It treats it, in its innermost bearings, at the very beginning of Genesis.
18–20. The writer's end is the history of man's fall; the serpent occasions, the wife shares it; it is, therefore, necessary to introduce the creation of the animals, and of woman. This is done in a manner which touches a deep chord in the nature of man, his sociable disposition; he feels the necessity of bestowing and receiving affection; his heart requires feeling beings to respond to his emotions, and his intellect demands minds by the contact with which the spark of thought may be kindled: “it is not good that man should be alone.” God determined, therefore, to furnish him “a help at his side.” He, accordingly, created first the animals, all the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air. They were, indeed, “a help” to man. They enlivened his solitude; they increased his happiness by showing their susceptibility to the bounties of nature spread around them; and as no enmity existed yet among their tribes; as
they did not yet prey upon each other, and the herb of the field sufficed for their food: they did not disturb the universal peace which pervaded the creation, nor did they force man to a sanguinary selfdefence. The general clemency, we may say sympathy, with which the animals are provided for in the Pentateuch, removes every surprise at the close relation which they are here made to occupy with regard to man; and this will appear the more appropriate, if we consider that the man of Paradise, with his intellect yet unawakened, and uncontrolled instinct as his safe but only guide, stood, indeed, much nearer to the general animal kingdom; the creation of man and of the beasts is narrated in exactly the same terins; both are “formed out of earth” (ver. 7, and ver. 19); and both have "the breath of life” (vi. 7; vii. 22); though bearing the seal and image of God, man was unconscious of his superiority.
But a greater proximity between man and animals must not be sought; we must not find here a perfect equality of both; the tenour of our text is far from coinciding with the belief of the Mohammedans, that all creatures have immortal souls, and participate in the resurrection; or with that of the Hindoos, that all souls come from Brahman; or of the Buddhists, that every breath of life is indestructible; or of the Egyptians, that the soul of no animal is lost, but enters the body of another creature; or of the North Ame. rican Indians, that in the other world all souls will meet, but with the same distinctions under which they existed on earth. All this is against the spirit of the Old Testament; such notions are the result of morbid speculations; and they are in the Book of Ecclesiastes passingly
them to the man to see how he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20. And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man he did not find a help meet for himself.— 21. And the Lord God caused a sleep to fall upon the
alluded to, only in order to be distinctly God, by inviting him to perform it, made and emphatically denied (iii. 20, 21; xii. 8). him govern over the works of His hands,
Man was certainly the superior master and placed all under his feet (Ps. viii. 7). of nature. This is evident from the next It has been frequently observed, that our feature which our text mentions. God text explains the origin of language, and brought the animals which He had created attributes its invention solely to man. to man, to “see what he would call them"; Language is, indeed, a spontaneous emaand the names chosen by man were to re- nation of the human mind; it is implanted main to them for ever. This is the first in its nature; in furnishing man, besides act by which man exercised his sovereignty; his external organisation, with reason and and although his intellect was not yet imagination, God bestowed upon him the roused, he was sufficiently endowed for principal elements for communication by that task; for he had been capable of un- speech; it is as natural a function of derstanding the Divine command and of his intellect as reflection; intelligent representing to himself death. In the first speech is one of the chief characteristics of cosmogony, God Himself fixed the names man; hence the ancient Greek poets call of the objects which He had called into men simply the “speech-gifted"; the germ existence; He determined the appellations was bestowed by God; man had to do no of Day and Night, of Heaven, and Sea, more than to cultivate it. But our author and Dry Land. Here He cedes this right does not enter upon this abstruse question to man, whom He has ordained “to have at all; it is of no practical importance for dominion over all the earth.” The name religious truth; it must have appeared was, according to Hebrew and Eastern superfluous to one who knows God as the writers in general, an integral part of the Creator and Framer of all, as the Bestower object itself; it was not deemed indifferent; of every gift, as Him who “hath made it was no conventional sign; it was an man's mouth, and who maketh dumb" essential attribute. When God revealed (Exod. iv. 11). — Pythagoras, and other Himself to Moses in the burning bush, ancient philosophers, justly considered the latter hastened to enquire under what the invention of names for objects an act name He wished to be announced to the of the highest human wisdom; and the Israelites. When a crisis in the life of an Chinese ascribed it to their first and most individual was imminent, or had been honoured sovereign Fo-hi, who performed successfully overcome, his name this task so well, that "by naming the changed into another one expressive of things their very nature made that event. Kings, at their elevation to known." the throne, assumed another name. To 21–24. As the names are not given "know the name of God” was identical at random, but are chosen with carewith knowing His internal nature, and even ful regard to the nature of the objects, with piously walking in His precepts. The Adam was led to examine the animals right, therefore, of determining the names congregated around him; he felt them, includes authority and dominion; but man indeed, in some respects kindred to himdid not perform this act of his own accord; self, as “ living creatures” (ver. 19); they he did not yet feel his exalted rank; but were, in certain regards, a help to him,
man, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place; 22. And the Lord God formed the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23. And the man said, This time it is bone of my bones, and flesh of my but not such a help as is meet for man they were terrible in strength, and made (ver. 20), for a human soul-a help which an attempt against the gods. To weaken satisfies the longing heart and calms the and to punish them, Jupiter divided them craving mind. And God created woman. into two human beings, walking upon two We have above pointed out the extreme legs, with the menace, that if they would beauty of the following narrative, and still behave licentiously, he would again have alluded to the sublime truths which divide them, “so that they should go upon it implies regarding the dignity of woman one leg, hopping,” and “with their noses and the sacredness of matrimony. Strong split down." Since this time, each half and mighty indeed must that tie be, for seeks with desire the other part of itself, whose sake man resigns all the fond asso- and both long to grow again together; ciations of childhood; fervent must that and if they see each other, they are struck love be which gains the ascendancy over with a wondrous kind of friendship, and the affection for father and mother. If are unwilling ever to be separated. And the parents consider the son as the gift the cause is not sensual pleasure; " but of God (Ps. cxxvii. 3), the son receives the soul of each is evidently desirous of his wife as a special Divine gift (ver. 22). something else, which it is unable to tell." Many parents love their children more -We have omitted many frivolous feathan all the world; the youth lavishes the tures interspersed in this theory of Ariswhole wealth of his affections on her who tophanes; and its only point of contact sways his heart. The highest ideas of with the Biblical narrative is the longing love, which are generally represented as “ to become one flesh." the exclusive result of modern civilisation, 25. One bold stroke is sufficient for a are plainly expressed in the affecting nar- master-hand to stamp a character upon a ration of these two verses; they are not picture. The state of childlike, unconobscurely or vaguely hinted at; the Hebrew scious innocence was to be described. It writer unfolds them with an emphasis is a wide and great subject. The artistic which shows his earnestness, his decision. genius of our anthor fully fixes it by the Greek and Roman philosophers have in- one remark,“ that man and his wife were vented many a myth, to explain the naked, and were not ashamed.” They origin of conjugal life. But woman oc- were still true children of nature. Sin cupies in those tales generally either an was unknown to them; therefore they invidious or a despicable position (see required no precaution to keep it afar. p. 65). There is one, however, which Passion did not attack their hearts; they assigns to her a less inferior rank, but needed, therefore, no arms to oppose and which is, on the other hand, so grotesque to crush it. Good and evil were notions and extravagant, that it embodies no not yet clearly defined; the strife of conuseful lesson, and is, practically, of very flicting emotions and thoughts had not subordinate value. Aristophanes says, in yet commenced; they inhabited the Parathe Banquet of Plato, that there existed dise, “ clothed in their innocence alone." originally a class of human beings, the Instinct followed its own concordant laws; offspring of the moon, who were at the and shame, the daughter of nicely-dissame time male and female. These criminating conscience, slumbered in the “nien-women" had four hands and legs, vacant mind. Diodorus Sicilus and Plato and two faces upon a circular neck. But also mention nakedness as a feature of flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cling to his wife: and they shall become one flesh.–25. And they were both naked, the man and his wife; and they were not ashamed. the golden age. But it is, in itself, no of Guinea, and many races in the Indian sign of innocence; many savage nations Archipelago, despise clothes, as the Pehave retained that custom to periods ruvians did before the time of Manco when the purity of manners had long Capac. It is only in times when clothes passed away; they see no impropriety in have become customary, that nakedness nakedness; the maidens of Biasso and and shame are coupled. the Caribbees, the inhabitants of the coast
1. Now the serpent was subtle, more than any beast of
1. Almost throughout the East, the hideous and most formidable part of the serpent was used as an emblem of the impious giants who despise and blaspheme evil principle of the spirit of disobedience the power of heaven. The Indians, like and contumacy. A few exceptions only can the savage tribes of Africa and America, be discorered. The Phænicians adored suffer and nourish, indeed, serpents in that animal as a beneficent genius; and their temples, and even in their houses; the Chinese consider it as a symbol of they believe that they bring happiness to superior wisdom and power, and ascribe the places which they inhabit; they worto the kings of heaven (tien-hoangs) ship them as the symbols of eternity; but bodies of serpents. Some other nations they regard them also as evil genii, or as fluctuated in their conceptions regarding the inimical powers of nature which is the serpent. The Egyptians represented gradually depraved by them, as the the eternal spirit Kneph, the author of enemies of the gods, who either tear all good, under the mythic form of that them to pieces, or tread their venomous reptile; they understood the art of taming head under their all-conquering feet. So it, and embalmed it after death; but they contradictory is all animal worship. Its applied the same symbol for the god of principle is, in some instances, gratitude, revenge and punishment (Tithrambo), and in others fear; but if a noxious and for Typhon, the author of all moral animal is very dangerous, the fear may and physical evil; and in the Egyptian manifest itself in two ways, either by the symbolical alphabet the serpent represents resolute desire of extirpating the beast, subtlety and cunning, lust and sensual or by the wish of averting the conflict pleasure. In Greek mythology, it is cer- with its superior power: thus the same tainly, on the one hand, the attribute of fear may, on the one hand, cause fierce enCeres, of Mercury, and of Æsculapius, mity, and, on the other, submission and in their most beneficent qualities; but it worship. Further, the animals may be : forms, on the other hand, a part of the considered either as the creatures of the terrible Furies or Eumenides: it appears, powers of nature, or as the productions of in the form of Python, as a fearful a Divine will; and those religious systems, monster, which the arrows of a god only therefore, which acknowledge a dualism, were able to destroy; and it is the most either in nature or in the Deity, or which
the field which the Lord God had inade. And it said to the woman: Hath indeed God said, You shall not eat of any tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said to 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, You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die. 4. And the ser
admit the antagonism between God and nature, must almost unavoidably regard the same animals now as objects of horror, and now of veneration. From all these aberrations, Mosaism was preserved by its fundamental principle of the one and indivisible God, in whose hands is nature with all its hosts, and to whose wise and good purposes all creatures are subservient.
Now in the heathen religions, the demon, represented by the serpent, was universally considered to possess power independent of, and inimical to, the might of the highest god; temples were erected, and sacrifices offered, in his honour. But, in the Biblical narrative, the serpent is no embodiment of an evil genius; it is no more than a noxious reptile which is the curse of man, and upon which the execration of God seems to rest. To explain the deadly enmity between man and serpent, and to account for the wretched existence of the venomous reptile, this is an accessory end of this episode. The burning colours of the serpent; the cloven, vibrating tongue; the poison-swollen teeth; the horrid hissing; the stealthy and tortuous, but dart-like motions; the irascible temper; the contemptible craft; and frequently the bewitching power of the everwatchful eyes, make this animal an object of horror and disgust. It was deemed necessary to show that God did not originally produce such a monstrous creature; He could not have pronounced a world perfect which was infested by such a hideous object; nor could He have appointed man the ruler of the earth, if it bred, in secret ambushes, beasts, which it was difficult for him to avoid, and almost impossible to subdue. But that tendency is clearly subordinate to the far more momentous
change in the nature of man; the serpent seems, in fact, only introduced to correct the then too prevalent superstition of "an evil spirit”; the narrative teaches that the serpent, whatever might be its pretensions, stands in the power of God, and resistlessly obeys His will; it avails itself of the very prejudice in order to eradicate it. The serpent speaks, because Ahriman, appearing under its form, has the power of language; hut yet this serpent is not Ahriman; it is the voice of seduction in the heart of man; it has the malignant propensity of Ahriman, but not his power; the human heart combats against its own happiness, but opposes God only in so far as it destroys the felicity for which He designed man; it acts against God by forgetfulness or by self-illusion, but it does not defy Him; it does not aspire to dispute with Him the supreme government; it considers evil deeds not as triumphs, but as a degradation full of shame and disgrace.
The serpent has thus, indeed, a double purport in our context: it appears first as the tempter, because he was generally supposed to assume that shape; but it is, in reality, only a miserable animal which God has cursed with the hatred of man. In the first characteristic, our narrative leans to the general Oriental tradition; in the second, it is the original conception of the Hebrew writer; and the point where both diverge is the absolute sovereignty with which God pronounces the malediction on the serpent (ver. 14). This animal may entertain an external enmity towards man (ver. 15); but it has no power over his heart, because it is nothing but the most abject of all the animals of the desert. It might venture upon war with the