(46) Why the man says, “The woman gave me of the tree, and I did eat;” but the woman does not say, “The serpent gave to me,” but, “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat?” (#Ge 3:12û 13). The literal expression here affords grounds for that probable opinion that woman is accustomed rather to be deceived than to devise anything of importance out of her own head; but with the man the case is just the contrary. But as regards the intellect, everything which is the object of the outward senses beguiles and seduces each particular sense of every imperfect being to which it is adapted. And the sense then, being vitiated by the object, infects the dominant and principal part, the mind, with its own taint. Therefore the mind receives the impression from the outward sense, giving it that which it has received itself. For the outward sense is deceived and beguiled by the sensible object submitted to it, but the senses of the wise man are infallible, as are also the cogitations of his mind.
(47) Why God curses the serpent first, then the woman, and the man last of all? (#Ge 3:14). The reason is that the order of the verses followed the order in which the offences were committed. The first offence was the deceit practised by the serpent; the second was the sin of the woman which was owing to him when she abandoned herself to his seduction; the third thing was the guilt of the man in yielding rather to the inclination of the woman than to the commandment of God. But this order is very admirable, containing within itself a perfect allegory; inasmuch as the serpent is the emblem of desire, as is proved, and the woman of the outward sense; but the man is the symbol of intellect. Therefore the infamous author of the sin is desire; and that first deceives the outward sense, and then the outward sense captivates the mind.