THE VIRGIN MARY AND THE VIRGIN EVE CONTRASTED
Genesis 3:15 contains the promise of the redemption of mankind after the Fall of Adam and Eve. The Incarnation of the Christ was the manifestation of the promise and it was fulfilled with Jesus Christ's sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. The New Testament portrays Jesus as the "Second Adam" whose obedience and sacrificial death on the cross undo Adam's disobedience [see Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-49]. Jesus, the Second Adam, triumphed over the same temptations to which the first Adam fell into sin [compare Genesis 3:6 to Luke 4:1-13].
Just as there is a Second Adam there is also a Second Eve. Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ is the Second Eve. Just as the First Eve in the exercise of free will cooperated in the Fall of man so the Second Eve, in the exercise of her free will, cooperated in the redemption and salvation of the entire human race.
The two Eves contrasted
|THE VIRGIN EVE||THE VIRGIN MARY|
|Daughter of the first Covenant between God and Adam||Daughter of the Sinai Covenant|
|Pledged obedience under the covenant||Pledged obedience under the covenant|
|Eve's disobedience resulted in the fall into sin of the entire human race. The result was death, physically and spiritually.||Mary's obedience to God resulted in the offer of the gift of salvation to the entire human race. The result was eternal life|
|Eve's name means the "mother of all living" and indeed all of humanity is descended through her.||Mary became the "mother of all who truly live" when at the cross, Jesus gave His mother to the Church as the Mother of all who come to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and therefore receive the gift of eternal life.|
From the Annunciation to the Crucifixion of her Son, Mary can be seen as God's ultimate validation of free will. The Virgin Mary's obedience to the will of God as conveyed to her in the angel Gabriel's message was no less voluntary in its affirmation than the disobedience of the virgin Eve had been in its negation.
Catechism of the Catholic Church# 494 "...'Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.' Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert 'The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.' Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary 'the Mother of the living' and frequently claim" 'Death through Eve, life through Mary.'" [CCC quoting St. Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and St. Jerome]
Also see the document: The Virgin Mary's Role in Salvation History in the "Documents and Resources" section of Agape Bible Study's website at www.agepebiblestudy.com
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2000 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.