V. (14) This therefore he denominated the species of assistants, but the other part of the creation, the description, that is, of the formation of the external sensations, was postponed till he began to form the woman; and having put off this he then gives an account of the distribution of names; and this is an explanation, partly figurative and partly literal, which is worthy of our admiration. It is literal, inasmuch as the Lawgiver has attributed the imposition of names to the firstborn man; (15) for those also among the Greeks, who study philosophy, say that they were wise men who first gave names to things: but Moses speaks more correctly in the first place, because he attributes this giving of names, not to some of those men who lived in early times, but to the first man who was created upon the earth; so that, just as he himself was created to be the beginning of creation to all other animals, he might also be considered the beginning of conversation and language: for if there were no such things as names there could be no such thing as language: and, secondly, because, if many different persons gave names, they must have been different and devoid of all connexion, since different persons would have given different names: but if only one person did so, the name given by one was sure to be adapted to the thing: and the same name was likely to be a token to every one of the existing things signified by it.
VI. (16) But the moral meaning of this passage is as follows:–We often use the expression ti instead of dia ti; (why?) as when we say, why (ti) have you washed yourself? why (ti) are you walking? why (ti) are you conversing? for in all these cases ti is used instead of dia ti; when therefore Moses says, “to see what he would call them,” you must understand him as if he had said dia ti (why), instead of ti (what): and the mind will invite and embrace each of these meanings. Is it then only for the sake of what is necessary that the mortal race is of necessity implicated in passions and vices? or is it also on account of that which is immoderate and superfluous? And again, is it because of the requirements of the earth-born man, or because the mind judges them to be most excellent and admirable things; (17) as for instance, is it necessary for every created thing to enjoy pleasure? But the bad man flies to pleasure as to a perfect good, but the good man seeks it only as a necessary; for without pleasure nothing whatever is done among the human race. Again, the bad man considers the acquisition of riches as the most perfect good possible; but the good man looks upon riches only as a necessary and useful thing. (18) Very naturally, therefore, God desires to see and to learn how the mind denominates and appreciates each of these things, whether it looks upon them as good, or as things indifferent, or as evil in themselves, but nevertheless in some respects necessary. On which account, thinking that everything which he invited towards himself, and embraced as a living soul, was of equal value and importance with the soul, this became the name, not only of the thing which was thus invited, but also of him who invited it: as for instance, if the man embraced pleasure, he was called a man devoted to pleasure; if he embraced appetite, he was called a man of appetite; if he invited intemperance, he himself also acquired the name of intemperate; if he admitted cowardice, he was called cowardly; and so on in the case of the other passions. For as he who has any distinctive qualities according to the virtues, is called from that virtue with which he is especially endowed, prudent, or temperate, or just, or courageous, as the case may be; so too in respect of the vices, a man is called unjust, or foolish, or unmanly, when he has invited and embraced these habits of mind and conduct.