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Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

“As Eve was seduced by the word of a [fallen] angel to flee from God, having rebelled against his word, so Mary by the word of an angel received the glad tidings that she would bear God by obeying his word. The former was seduced to disobey God [and so fell], but the latter was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. As the human race was subjected to death through the act of a virgin, so was it saved by a virgin, and thus the disobedience of one virgin was precisely balanced by the obedience of another.” -Irenaeus [Against Heresies]

Over the past few months, our adult class at church has been studying “Women of the Bible” exploring cultural perceptions of women both then and now. The two most significant figures in Scripture are Eve [the mother of all the living] and Mary [the mother of Jesus]. So it is especially interesting to note the connections that early Christian scholars made between the two. While I don’t believe they would draw all of the same conclusions that I do here, their perspectives and those of early Jewish scholars serve to demonstrate that many entrenched interpretations of the Bible held today are far from given. In the quote above, Irenaeus makes an amazing parallel of Eve and Mary which bears resemblance to Paul’s comparison of Adam and Jesus:

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” [Romans 5:12-15]

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