19. If the fault of Adam is literally that of having eaten fruit, the almost puerile nature of the sin cannot be justly condemned with the severity it has received. We cannot rationally admit what is generally considered to be the fact; otherwise God, considering this fault irredeemable, must have condemned his own work, since he had created man for the propagation of man. If Adam had understood in this sense that he was forbidden to touch the fruit of the tree, and if he had scrupulously obeyed the command, where would humanity be? And would not the designs of the Creator be frustrated?
God had not created Adam and Eve to remain alone upon the Earth. The proof of it is found in the words addressed to them immediately on their formation, when they were unfallen in the terrestrial paradise.
“God blesses them, and says to them, Increase and replenish the Earth, subduing it” (chap. I, v. 28). Since the multiplication of man was a law of the terrestrial paradise, his expulsion cannot be due to the supposed cause.
That which has given credit to this supposition is the feeling of shame with which Adam and Eve were seized at the sight of God, and which caused them to cover themselves. But this shame is a figure of comparison: it symbolizes the confusion that all culprits experience in the presence of him whom they have offended.