(56) Why now he calls the Paradise “pleasure,” when he is sending man forth out of it to till the ground from which he was taken. (#Ge 3:23). The distinction of agriculture is conspicuous, when man in the state of paradise, practising the cultivation of wisdom as if he were employed in the cultivation of trees, and enjoying the food of imperishable and most useful fruits, was himself endowed with immortality likewise. After that, being expelled from the place of wisdom, he experienced the opposite effects of ignorance, by which the body is polluted, and at the same time the intellect is blinded, and, being exposed to a want of proper food, he wastes away, and yields to a miserable death. On which account, now, in contempt of the foolish man, God calls the Paradise “pleasure,” in order to put it in opposition to a life of pain, and misery, and savageness. In truth, the life which is passed in wisdom is a pleasure, full of liberal joy, and is the constant enjoyment of a rational soul; but that life which is destitute of wisdom is found to be both savage and miserable, although it is excessively deceived by the appetites, which pain both precedes and follows.
(57) Why God places a cherubim in front of the Paradise, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life? (#Ge 3:24). The name cherubim designates the two original virtues which belong to the Deity, namely, his creative and his royal virtues. The one of which has the title of God, the other, or the royal virtue, that of Lord. Now the form of the creative power is a peaceable, and gentle, and beneficent virtue; but the royal power is a legislative, and chastising, and correcting virtue. Moreover, by the flaming sword he here symbolically intimates the heaven: for the air is of a flaming colour, and turns itself round, revolving about the universe. Therefore, all these things assumed to themselves the guardianship of the Paradise, because they are the presidents over wisdom, like a mirror; since, to illustrate my meaning by an example, the wisdom of the world is a sort of mirror of the divine virtues, in the similitude of which it was perfected, and by which the universe and all the things in it are regulated and arranged. But the way to wisdom is called philosophy (a word which means the love or the pursuit of wisdom). And since the creative virtue is endued with philosophy, being both philosophical and royal, so also the world itself is philosophical. Some persons however have fancied that it is the sun which is indicated by the flaming sword; because, by its constant revolutions and turnings every way, it marks out the seasons of the year, as being the guardian of human life and of every thing which serves to the life of all men.