11 January 2009

A sad and horrid spectacle

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil….

[T]hough Adam was confounded and astonished at his calamity, he yet did not so deeply reflect on its cause as to become weary of his pride, that he might learn to embrace true humility. We may add, that God inveighed, by this irony, not more against Adam himself than against his posterity, for the purpose of commending modesty to all ages.

The particle, “Behold,” denotes that the sentence is pronounced upon the cause then in hand. And, truly, it was a sad and horrid spectacle; that he, in whom recently the glory of the Divine image was shining, should lie hidden under fetid skins to cover his own disgrace, and that there should be more comeliness in a dead animal than in a living man! The clause which is immediately added, “To know good and evil,” describes the cause of so great misery, namely, that Adam, not content with his condition, had tried to ascend higher than was lawful; as if it had been said, ‘See now whither thy ambition and thy perverse appetite for illicit knowledge have precipitated thee.’ Yet the Lord does not even deign to hold converse with him, but contemptuously draws him forth, for the sake of exposing him to greater infamy. Thus was it necessary for his iron pride to be beaten down, that he might at length descend into himself, and become more and more displeased with himself. (John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis, at 3.21, 22, emphases added.)
Think of it. After the loss of that original glory, the skins of dead animals are more attractive than the naked bodies of living humans.

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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