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And Adam gave names to all the cattle and to all the birds of the sky, and to all the wild beasts of the field, but for Adam there was not found a help like to himself. And God brought a trance upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and filled up the flesh instead thereof. And God formed the rib which he took from Adam into a woman, and brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of her husband. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. And the two were naked, both Adam and his wife, and were not ashamed. Now the serpent was the most crafty of all the brutes on the earth, which the Lord God made, and the serpent said to the woman, Wherefore has God said, Eat not of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not surely die. For God knew that in whatever day ye should eat of it your eyes would be opened, and ye would be as gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes to look upon and beautiful to contemplate, and having taken of its fruit she ate, and she gave to her husband also with her, and they ate. And the eyes of both were opened, and they perceived that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons to go round them. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the afternoon; and both Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God in the midst of the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called Adam and said to him, Adam, where art thou? And he said to him, I heard thy voice as thou walkedst in the garden, and I feared because I was naked and I hid myself. And God said to him, Who told thee that thou wast naked, unless thou hast eaten of the tree concerning which I charged thee of it alone not to eat? And Adam said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me—she gave me of the tree and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman, Why hast thou done this? And the woman said, The serpent deceived me and I ate. And the Lord God said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this thou art cursed above all cattle and all the brutes of the earth, on thy breast and belly thou shalt go, and thou shalt eat earth all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed, he shalt watch against thy head, and thou shalt watch against his heel. And to the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pains and thy groanings; in pain thou shalt bring forth children, and thy submission shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And to Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and eaten of the tree concerning which I charged thee of it only not to eat—of that thou hast eaten, cursed is the ground in thy labours, in pain shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread until thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken, for earth thou art and to earth thou shalt return. And Adam called the name of his wife Life, because she was the mother of all living. – Genesis 2:20-3:30
Man’s fall began when his mind accepted a lie, the lie of the devil. Up to that point, his mind had been pure and whole, a brilliant and perfect mirror perfectly reflecting reality. When he accepted the lie of the devil, he broke his mind into countless fragments, and these fragments have broken – and keep breaking – into more and more fragments more and more rapidly, as fallen, unconverted men apart from grace, apart from the Church, grow ever more sinful as the ages pass.
In the Church founded by Truth Himself, Our Lord Jesus Christ, God restores the mind of man and enables him to be whole again, in spirit, soul, and body. The saints are they who by grace “…have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (Colossians 3:10 [KJV]).” What does it mean to be “renewed in knowledge”? Simply put, it means that the saints are the only people who see things as they really are. Even the great pagan philosophers recognized that the passions distort the intellect. Who, then, has a properly functioning intellect, except the man in whom God has cured the passions?
Let us resolve that during this Great Lent, which may be our last, we will immerse our minds in Holy Scripture and some good spiritual reading from ancient or recent Holy Fathers and reliable spiritual writers. Let us cleanse the mind as we also cleanse our will and our desires through cleanly confessing our sins. Let us cleanse our bodies through fasting. Let us cleanse egotism from our souls by acts of active love. Let us partake of the Bread of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion, so that Truth Himself will unite Himself organically to our very being.
Then we may begin to see things, at least a little bit, as they really are.
This commentary was taken from The Eternal Sacrifice: The Genesis Readings for Great Lent by Fr. Steven Allen. You can order a copy from Lulu at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/FrStevenAllen