(20) Why did God bring every animal to man, that he might give them their names? (#Ge 2:19). He has here explained a great source of perplexity to the students of philosophy, admonishing them that names proceed from having been given, and not from nature; for a natural nomenclature is with peculiar fitness assigned to each creature when a man of wisdom and pre-eminent knowledge appears; and, in fact, the office of assigning the names to animals is one which particularly belongs to the mind of the wise man alone, and indeed to the first man born out of the earth, since it was fitting that the first of the human race, and the sovereign of all the animals born out of the earth, should have the dignity assigned to him. For inasmuch as he was the first person to see the animals, and as he was the first person who deserved to govern them all as their chief, so also it was fitting that he should be their first namer and the inventor of their names, since it would have been inconsistent and mad to leave them without any names, or to allow them to receive names from any one born at a later period, which would have been an insult to and a derogation from the honour and glory due to the first born. But we may also adopt this idea, that the giving of names to the different animals was so easily arranged that the very moment that Adam gave the name the animal itself also heard it; being influenced by the name thus given to it as by a familiar indication closely connected with it.
(21) Why does Moses say, “He brought the animals to Adam, that he might see what he would call them,” when God can never entertain a doubt? (#Ge 2:19). It is in truth inconsistent with the nature of God to doubt; therefore it does not appear that he was in doubt on this occasion, but that since he had given intellect to man as being the first man born out of the earth and endowed with a great desire for virtue, by which he was made thoroughly wise as if he had been endowed with wisdom by nature, so as to consider all things like the proper Ruler and Lord of all, God now caused him to be influenced to display the proper performance of his task, and saw what was really the most excellent point of his mind. Besides this, by this statement he evidently indicates the perfect free-will existing in us, refuting those who affirm that everything exists by a certain necessity. Or else because it belonged to man to employ the animals, therefore he also gave him authority to give them names.