The Allegorical Meaning of Adam's Expulsion
"See, Adam has become as one of us with respect to the knowledge of discerning good and evil." 145. This ambiguous expression forms a figure of speech. 146. For we can take "Adam has become as one of us" in two ways. It can mean "one of us," namely, like God himself. In this sense we say, "one of the senators," that is, "as a real senator." In that case the expression is meant as mockery. On the other hand, because man would be a god, though by the gift of the Creator, not by nature, if he had willed to remain under his power, "of us" can be taken in the sense that one says, "from the consuls," or "on behalf of the consuls" of one who is not now a consul. But with respect to what did he become as "one of us"? With respect, of course, to the knowledge of discerning good and evil so that he might learn by experience when he feels the evil that God knew in his wisdom. Thus he would learn by his punishment that he cannot avoid the power of the Almighty that he did not wish to suffer voluntarily when he was happy.
34. "And then, lest Adam stretch forth his hand to the tree of life and live forever, God dismissed him from paradise." 147. It is well put, "he dismissed," and not, "he excluded," so that he might seem to be drawn down by the weight of his own sins to a place that suits him. 148. A bad man generally experi‐____________________
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Publication information: Book title: On Genesis:Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, an Unfinished Book. Contributors: Saint Augustine - Author, Roland J. S. J. Teske - Unknown. Publisher: Catholic University of America Press. Place of publication: Washington, DC. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 129.
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