Genesis 3:19

In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
Still another problem arises. “From what source did death come to Adam? Was it from the nature of a tree of this sort or actually from God?” If we ascribe this to the nature of the tree, then the fruit of this tree seems to be superior to the vivifying power of the breath of God, since its fruit would have drawn into death’s toils him on whom the divine breath had bestowed life. If we maintain that God is the responsible cause of death, then we can be held to accuse him of inconsistency. We seem to accuse him of being so devoid of beneficence as to be unwilling to pardon when he had the power to do so or of being powerless if he was unable to forgive. Let us see, therefore, how this question can be resolved. The solution, unless I am mistaken, lies in the fact that since disobedience was the cause of death, for that very reason not God but man himself was the agent of his own death. If, for example, a physician were to prescribe to a patient what he thought should be avoided, and if th...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
Although it was the earth, which had not done wrong, which was smitten instead of Adam, who had done wrong, nevertheless it was Adam, who is subject to suffering, whom He caused to suffer by means of the curse on the earth, which is not subject to suffering; for it was because of the earth's being cursed that Adam, who had not been directly cursed, was cursed. Thus he did not escape punishment at the curse which the earth received, for God decreed concerning him too, as follows: "With pains shall you eat of it all the days of your life" [ Gen3:17 ] --that is, after breaking the commandment, though you would have eaten of it without any pains had the commandment been kept. "Thorns and thistles" [ Gen3:18 ] will it bring forth after the sin, things which it would not have brought forth had there been no sin. "You shall eat herbage of the field," [ Gen3:18 ] because through your wife's slight enticement you have rejected Paradise's delectable fruits. "With the sweat of your face will you ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Dust, as to the visible part; and thy soul created out of nothing. This might serve to correct that pride, by which Adam had fallen; and the same humbling truths are repeated to us by the Church every Ash-Wednesday, to guard us against the same contagion, the worm of pride, to which we are all so liable. Thus Adam was again assured that he should die the death, with which God had threatened him, and which the devil had told Eve would not be inflicted. (Ver. 4.) God created man incorruptible, (inexterminabilem, immortal). But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world, Wisdom ii. 23. (Haydock)

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
We say, therefore, that the body falls to the ground by death, as indeed facts themselves show, in accordance with the law of God. For to the body it was said, ("Till you return to the ground, for out of it were you taken; for) dust you are, and unto dust shall you return." That, therefore, which came from the ground shall return to the ground. Now that falls down which returns to the ground; and that rises again which falls down. "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection." 1 Corinthians 15:21 Here in the word man, who consists of bodily substance, as we have often shown already. [Against Marcion 5.9] Now, although the clay is offensive (for its poorness), it is now something else. What I possess is flesh, not earth, even although of the flesh it is said: "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return." In these words there is the mention of the origin, not a recalling of the substance. The privilege has been granted to the flesh to be nobler than its origin, and to h...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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