Guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world

The First Adam Is Of Earth, The Last Adam Is From Heaven

1st January 2020

Peter Chrysologus was Bishop of Ravenna in northern Italy from about 433 until his death some twenty years later.  He is known primarily for his very concise but theologically rich reflections on Scripture. His preaching style was intentionally brief because he did not want to fatigue the attention of his hearers.  Peter Chrysologus also spoke out against Arianism and Monophysitism as heresies and took pains to explain the Apostles' Creed, the mystery of the Incarnation and other Christian doctrines in simple and clear language.

The blessed Apostle Paul has recalled that two men gave a beginning to the human race, namely Adam and Christ: two men equal in physical nature but unequal in merit; truly alike in their bodily structure, but totally dissimilar in their own origin.  The first Adam, he says, became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

That first Adam was made by this last, from whom he obtained the soul to give him life; the last was the author of his own making: he did not look for life from another, but himself alone bestowed life on all. The first Ada is moulded from the vile dust of the earth, the second comes forth from the most precious womb of the Virgin.  In the first Adam earth is changed into flesh; in the last, flesh is raised up to God.

And what more? This last is the Adam, who when forming the first set his own image in him.  Hence he assumed his role and received his name to prevent the loss of what he had made into his own image.  There is a first Adam, then, and a last Adam: the first has a beginning, this last has no end. Because this last is in truth himself the first, as he says: I am the first and the last....

As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven.  How shall those not born in such a condition be found so, remaining not as they were born, but as they are reborn?  This is the reason, brothers, why the heavenly Spirit makes fertile the womb of the virginal font by the secret admixture of his light, that it may bring forth as heavenly creatures and bring back to the likeness of their Creator, those whom their origin in the earth's dust had produced as men of dust in miserable state. So now reborn and refashioned to the likeness of our Creator, let us fulfil the apostle's command: Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Now reborn after the pattern of our Lord, as I have said, let us bear the full and complete image of our maker: not in majesty, in which he is alone, but in innocence, simplicity, meekness, patience, humility, mercy and concord -- in which he deigned to become and to be one with us.

Peter Chrysologus  (406-450)

1 Corinthians 15:42-49

John 3:1-15


O God, through your Only Begotten Son
you have made us a new creation:
Look kindly, we pray,
on the handiwork of your mercy,
and at your Son’s coming
cleanse us from every stain of the old way of life;
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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