65
EXEGESIS - GENESIS.

If then the first Adam was taken from earth; with good reason, likewise from earth, that is, from flesh not yet given over to generation, was the next, even the last Adam, in the words of the Apostle, made by God into a quickening spirit."*

"The word Eden signifies virgin land. Now such was that region in which God planted paradise. For it is written that God planted a paradise in Eden towards the East,"+ that thou mayest understand that paradise was not a work of human hands; since the earth was virgin, and had known no plough-share, nor was cut up by furrows; but without any tillage, at the command alone (of God) it put forth its vegetation and trees. For this cause He called it Eden, which means virgin soil. Now this virgin (earth) is a type of the Virgin. For as that land, without having received any seed, blossomed forth for us paradise; so too Mary, without having conceived of man, blossomed forth for us Christ. When then a Jew says to thee, How did a Virgin bring forth? say to him, How did the virgin earth put forth those marvellous trees?"++

"Since she (virginity) had fled from paradise departing after the transgression, Christ, in coming down from heaven, brought her back again; and restoring her as though an exile to her own native land, freed her from a long banishment. Hence on His first arrival, He was born of a Virgin, and changed the laws of nature; and thus from the very beginning of His life, He treated virginity with honour, making a Virgin His Mother.""**

"The first man was created from virginal earth which had not yet been formed and created of recent origin at the word of God, and was not yet congealed with parricidal blood and slaughters, polluted with crimes and shame, nor as yet with this flesh of ours condemned by the curse of guilty heredity (damnata maledicto obnoxiae hereditatis)>"||

"O Mary, most holy paradise in Eden, bearing fruit more beautiful and most pleasant... Rejoice, O most blessed one, for ever and ever. Rejoice, O Virgin maid, thou tree of goodly foliage, whence we all gather the fruit, of which when we eat we are refreshed with gladness and do not die... Hail, paradise of delights; hail, tree of life; hail, fountain of grace and immortality...."***


* Tertullian, De Carne Christi, cap. xvii. See also Contr. Judaeos, c. xiii., quoted infra, at Ps. lxvi. 7.

+ Gen. ii. 8 (lxx.).

++ S. Chrystostom, De Mutatione Nominum ii., Patr. Gr. Tom. 51, p. 129.

** De futurae vitae deliciis, Ib., p. 350.

|| S. Ambrose, Ennarat. in Cap. ii. Genes. de paradiso. Ad Sabinum.

*** S. Ephrem, Orat. ad Deip., Opp Graec. T. iii. pp. 529-547.

 

 

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