Adam and Eve: A Type of all Humans

As an example of typological thinking,  consider the following verse from the Pentecostarion for Wednesday Vespers of the  7th week after Pascha which is commenting on the event of Christ’s Ascension

Adam leap for joy!  Rejoice with him, O Eve!

Cast down in Paradise of old, you were clothed in garments of corruption.

Receive today the hope of immortality,

For your Creator has taken you back to Himself!

He wondrously leads you to eternal life;

Today he lifts you on high,

Restoring you to communion with the Father.

The typological imagery begins by addressing Adam and Eve, the first humans created by God, who by their sin destroyed the God established order to the universe in which humans were to be the mediator between God and the rest of creation.  The “garments of corruption” refer to the clothes which God gave Adam and Eve after their sin to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:21).    The consequence of the sin of Adam and Eve was that death became part of the human condition (Romans 5:12). 

The above hymn says finally with the Ascension the hope of immortality is given to Eve and Adam, a hope they had lost when they sinned and were told they would die for their disobedience to God.   The hymn implies the undoing of God’s curse on humanity, for the Creator now accepts Adam and Eve – not just those two as individuals, but as a type of all humans.   If we read the hymn literally it implies that Adam and Eve were taken into heaven on Ascension Day, but there is no mention of such a thing in the Scriptures.  But in Christ ascending to heaven, we have the reality that humanity is united to divinity in Christ, and thus our humanity (our human nature, not just the persons Adam and Eve) is restored to communion with the Father.  Typological thinking helps us to understand the cosmic and universal dimensions of salvation.  Sin did not just affect Adam and Eve, it affected all humanity.    The same is true of Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection.   All humanity and all humans are touched by the salvation accomplished through Jesus Christ who is both fully man and fully God.  We also learn from this a biblical perspective in which humans share a common human nature and thus all humans are interrelated with each other, and everything that one human does affects all of humanity.  We are not unrelated and separated individuals – we are each part of the human race, and always connected to all other human beings.

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