Genesis iii. 9.

June 26, 2010

And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou?

9. “Where art thou?”

St. Augustine: “This is the voice of rebuke, not of ignorance.  And it is sensible that, just as the command was given to the man, through whom it might reach the woman, so the man is questioned first” (De Genesi ad litteram, XI. xxxiv. 45.).

St. Ambrose: “That is, not ‘in what place,’ but ‘in what state.’  It is not a question but a rebuke.  ‘From what goods of your blessedness,’ He says, ‘from what grace have you fallen into such misery?  You have abandoned eternal life, and are heaped up with death, buried together with error.  Where is your confidence in your good conscience?  This fear confesses guilt; this hiding confesses a transgression.  Where are you, then?  Where have your sins led you, to make you flee your God, Whom before you used to seek?” (De Paradiso, xiv. 70.).

St. Chrysostom: “Indeed from the question itself we ought to be stupified by the greatness of God’s clemency … For it is great and indescribable clemency to call this ashamed man; to call this man who dares not open his mouth or move his tongue, and give him an opportunity by questioning him: this is immense kindness.  Now to say this, Where are you? has, along with kindness, the greatest force.  It is as if He said, ‘What has happened?  I left you in one state, I find you in another; I left you clothed in glory, now I find you naked.  Where are you? How has this happened to you?  Who led you into such trouble?  What robber, what thief has left you in such poverty and carried off all at once the substance of all your riches?  How have you become aware of your nakedness?  Who carried off that wondrous garment in which you had been wrapped?  What is this sudden change?  What storm has sunk all your riches so swiftly?  What happened, to make you eager to hide from Him, Who bestowed on you such kindness and led you to such honor?  Why do you now fear Him and seek to hide?  Is anyone accusing you?  Are witnesses here?  Why has such dread, such fear invaded you?’” (Homiliæ in Genesin, xvii. 3; cf. Cornelius, Commentaria, p 104).

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