(52) Why Adam called his wife Life, and affirmed to her, “Thou art the mother of all living?” (#Ge 3:20). In the first place, Adam gave to the first created woman that familiar name of Life, inasmuch as she was destined to be the fountain of all the generations which should ever arise upon the earth after their time. In the second place, he called her by this name because she did not derive the existence of her substance out of the earth, but out of a living creature, namely, out of one part of the man, that is to say, out of his rib, which was formed into a woman, and on that account she was called “life,” because she was first made out of a living creature, and because the first beings who were endowed with reason were to be generated from her. Nevertheless, it is possible that this may have been a metaphorical expression; for is not the outward sense, which is a figurative emblem of the woman, called with peculiar propriety “life?” because it is by the possession of these senses that the living being is above all other means distinguished from that which is not alive, as it is by that that the imaginations and impulses of the soul are set in motion, for the senses are the causes of each; and, in real truth the outward sense is the mother of all living creatures, for as there could be no generation without a mother, so also there could be no living creature without sense.
(53) Why God made garments of skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them? (#Ge 3:21). Perhaps some one may laugh at the expressions here used, considering the small value of the garments thus made, as if they were not at all worthy of the labour of a Creator of such dignity and greatness; but a man who has a proper appreciation of wisdom and virtue will rightly and deservedly look upon this work as one very suitable for a God, that, namely, of teaching wisdom to those who were before labouring to no purpose; and who, having but little anxiety about procuring useful things, being seized with an insane desire for miserable honours, have given themselves up as slaves to convenience, looking upon the study of wisdom and virtue with detestation, and being in love with splendour of life and skill in mean and handicraft arts, which is in no way connected with a virtuous man. And these unhappy men do not know that a frugality, which is in need of nothing, becomes, as it were, a relation and neighbour to man, but that luxurious splendour is banished to a distance as an enemy; therefore the garment made of skins, if one should come to a correct judgment, deserves to be looked upon as a more noble possession than a purple robe embroidered with various colours. Therefore this is the literal meaning of the text; but if we look to the real meaning, then the garment of skins is a figurative expression for the natural skin, that is to say, our body; for God, when first of all he made the intellect, called it Adam; after that he created the outward sense, to which he gave the name of Life. In the third place, he of necessity also made a body, calling that by a figurative expression, a garment of skins; for it was fitting that the intellect and the outward sense should be clothed in a body as in a garment of skins; that the creature itself might first of all appear worthy of divine virtue; since by what power can the formation of the human body be put together more excellently, and in a more becoming manner, than by God? on which account he did put it together, and at the same time he clothed it; when some prepare articles of human clothing and others put them on; but this natural clothing, contemporary with the man himself, namely, the body, belonged to the same Being both to make and to clothe the man in after it was made.