When the first man and woman have transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, their punishment does not follow immediately nor in full force. They do not die on the self-same day they have sinned, but remain alive; they are not sent into hell, but instead find themselves entrusted with a task on earth; their line does not perish: they receive the promise of the seed of the woman. In short, a condition now sets in which God had known and which God had established, but which man had not been able to anticipate. It is a condition which has a very special character. It is one in which wrath and grace, punishment and blessing, judgment and long-suffering are mingled with each other It is the condition which still exists in nature and among men and one which comprehends the sharpest of contrasts within itself.
We live in a strange world, a world which presents us with tremendous contrasts. The high and the low, the great and the small, the sublime and the ridiculous, the beautiful and the ugly, the tragic and the comic, the good and the evil, the truth and the lie, these all are heaped up in unfathomable interrelationship. The gravity and the vanity of life seize on us in turn. Now we are prompted to optimism, then to pessimism. Man weeping is constantly giving way to man laughing. The whole world stands in the sign of humor, which has been well described as a laugh in a tear.