Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 12.--Eve's Name Means Life, and is a Great Sacrament of the Church.
Now, observe the rest of the passage in which he thinks he finds, to our prejudice, what is consonant with the above-quoted title. |God,| says he, |who had framed Adam out of the dust of the ground, formed Eve out of his rib, and said, She shall be called Life, because she is the mother of all who live.| Well now, it is not so written. But what matters that to us? For it constantly happens that our memory fails in verbal accuracy, while the sense is still maintained. Nor was it God, but her husband, who gave Eve her name, which should signify Life; for thus it is written: |And Adam called his wife's name Life, because she is the mother of all living.| But very likely he might have understood the Scripture as testifying that God gave Eve this name through Adam, as His prophet. For in that she was called Life, and the mother of all living, there lies a great sacrament of the Church, of which it would detain us long to speak, and which is unnecessary to our present undertaking. The very same thing which the apostle says, |This is a great sacrament: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church,| was also spoken by Adam when he said, |For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh.| The Lord Jesus, however, in the Gospel mentions God as having said this of Eve; and the reason, no doubt, is, that God declared through the man what the man, in fact, uttered as a prophecy. Now, observe what follows in the paper of extracts: |By that primitive name,| says he, |He showed for what labour the woman had been provided; and He said accordingly, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.'| Now, who amongst ourselves denies that the woman was provided for the work of child-bearing by the Lord God, the beneficent Creator of all good? See further what he goes on to say: |God, therefore, who created them male and female, furnished them with members suitable for procreation, and ordained that bodies should be produced from bodies; and yet is security for their capacity for effecting the work, executing all that exists with that power which He used in creation.| Well, even this we acknowledge to be catholic doctrine, as we also do with regard to the passage which he immediately subjoins: |If, then, offspring comes only through sex, and sex only through the body, and the body through God, who can hesitate to allow that fecundity is rightly attributed to God?|