This human being was placed in paradise, whatever that paradise was then, honored with self-determination so that the
good would belong to the one who chose it no less than to the one who provided its seeds. The human being
was a cultivator of immortal plants [Gen. 2:15], that is perhaps divine thoughts, both the simpler and the more complete.
He was naked because of his simplicity and life, free from artifice and far from any covering or screen, for such a
condition befitted the one who existed at the beginning.
God gave him a law as material on which his free choice could work, and the law was a commandment indicating which
plants he could possess and which one he was not to touch. And that was the tree of knowledge, which was
neither planted from the beginning in an evil way nor forbidden through envy – let the enemies of God not wag their
tongues in that direction, not imitate the serpent – but it would be good if possessed at the right time.
For the tree is contemplation, according to my contemplation, which is only safe for those of perfect disposition to
undertake; but it is not good for those who are still simpler and those greedy in their desire, just as adult food is not
useful for those who are still tender and in need of milk. But after the devil’s envy . . . he forgot
the commandment given him and yielded to the bitter taste.
And at once he come to be banished from the tree of life and from paradise and from God because of the evil, and was
clothed in the tunics of skin [Gen. 3:21], that is perhaps the more dense and mortal and rebellious flesh, and for the first
time he knew his own shame and hid from God. He gained a certain advantage from this; death is also the
cutting off of sin, that evil might not be immortal, so the punishment becomes love for humankind. For
thus, I am persuaded, God tests humans.