Cogito ergo sum vs Adam’s intellect vs redemption’s humble thanksgiving


In the Hebrew text of Genesis 2:7 we read how YHWH Elohim breathed the breath of the living ones into the formed dust, with the inescapable conclusion that there is to be life concomitantly supplied to Adam so that, then – Adam now being the subject of the verb – so that Adam might become a living individual. Adam has an agent intellect to draw and keep together that which cannot possibly work together, namely, that which is material and that which is spiritual.

That this is the case is demonstrated by how it is that this would come to an end, that is, when Adam, instead of eating from the tree of the living ones, choosing that which is consonant with the living ones, instead eats from the tree of knowing good with evil, that is, a choice which has his intellect dumbed down into a lack of appreciation for that which is good because it now suffers the admixture of evil, that is, in the very perception. Having lost the power of his intellect he also loses the power to keep body and soul together (as he doesn’t know what he is keeping together) and he begins to turn to dust once again.

In this catastrophic state, he is tempted to reach out to eat from the tree of the living ones, but will only hurt himself in doing this since he cannot possibly appreciate what it is that living ones choose, for he now sees everything good with an admixture of evil, that is, in an egotistic manner, not with love, but just what he can get out of whatever or whoever for himself. Should he raise his hand to grasp after the fruit of the tree of the living ones, he will be routed by the Cherubim with their flaming sword, the flames of enmity, God’s love, with the sword being that which turns whatever comes to it into its contrary. If he wishes, Adam can be routed to where he can receive from the tree of the living ones, no longer wanting to stupidly grasp after it himself.

Meanwhile, grasping at living forever is saying, “Cogito ergo sum,” “I think, therefore I am,” Descartes’ horrific aggression, ever so lonely, ever so individualistic, only hurting himself with his “thinking” which cannot possibly truly perceive what he is doing. Adam didn’t become a living individual by means of his thought, for he could not yet think with nothing yet having come to his senses (as he was not yet alive). Adam became a living individual because he was provided with an agent intellect which necessitated body and soul coming together. Adam was immortal, unless he sinned. He did. The temptation after is to think like Descartes. How sad.

But the very Creator, YHWH Elohim, said he himself, as the incarnate Son of the Woman of Genesis 3:15, would put enmity between ourselves and the evil one, that is, changing us with friendship with himself, grace, which he could provide to us in his own justice because of taking the initiative to stand in our stead, taking on the death we deserve, stomping on the head, the power, of the evil one, but he himself being crushed for us in doing this.

The question should be asked as to how it is that we can assent to the gift of enmity when we cannot possibly appreciate the fullness of the goodness of God. But God isn’t asking us to plumb the mysteries, to have the beatific vision while on this earth. He is only asking us to have humble thanksgiving. His grace enables us assent by faith, not by demonstrable thought. We cannot put God’s love in a Cartesian test-tube, but we can assent by God’s grace to the fruit of the tree of the living ones, the Eucharist from the Cross.

P.S. Thanks to elizdephi for the great art-work for the coat of arms…


Filed under Garden of Eden, Genesis 2-4 to 3-24

10 responses to “Cogito ergo sum vs Adam’s intellect vs redemption’s humble thanksgiving

  1. sanfelipe007

    Q: how it is that we can assent to the gift of enmity when we cannot possibly appreciate the fullness of the goodness of God?

    A: Trust.

  2. Father George David Byers

    So you’re not with Aquinas with thought over will but with Bonaventure with will over thought?????

  3. Monica Harris

    Descartes’ “I am” is much different from YHWH’s “I AM”, right?

  4. sanfelipe007

    Will is the one and only thing that is truly ours that is of any value to God. The only thing we can give to God.

    Even though the word “love” is used in the parable of the two masters, it is the will to choose, one over the other, that is the point.

  5. sanfelipe007

    oops, I left out a very important distinction. here is my edit: The only thing we [“own” and] can give to God.

  6. Cathy

    Fr. Byers, it seems that Descartes is the father of the ultimate identity crisis, kind of like the moon declaring itself the source of its own light. Not to go off subject, after completing 33 Days to Morning Glory, specifically regarding the theology of the Immaculate Conception given by St. Maximillian Kolbe, it seems hard of hearing to hear preached the possibility that the Blessed Virgin Mary could have said no to God, or even be tempted and yet her will is still so perfectly free.

    • Father George David Byers

      She does have free will, but that what makes it all beautiful and full of love. She’s not a robot! She’s a good mom!

      As far as her being tempted, well, this would be like the temptations of our Lord as reported in the Gospels. Those temptations are exterior, and not due to any weakness of original sin. Thus, Satan tried to get our Lord to go after power and whatever, but always answered with his filial relationship with his heavenly Father.

      I’ll write about what Mary’s temptations could be in a “Flores” post…

  7. Cathy

    Thank you, Fr. Byers!

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