“Why had Christ to be born of a virgin?
Since he came to give us a new life it was fitting that he himself should be born in a new manner. But this newness, as always, is prefigured in the Old Testament, the Lord’s birth of a Virgin being of a fore-ordained plan. The soil was still virgin, neither yet harrowed by the laborer, nor sown by the sower when the Lord formed from it a living soul. Therefore since tradition teaches that the first Adam is of the earth, then the last Adam (novissimus) must, as the Apostle says, be formed from the earth, to be a life-giving spirit.
And further (for we must not let this allusion to Adam slip by), why is Christ called Adam by the Apostle if his human nature has no earthly origin?
But the divine plan shows that God has restored his image and likeness, held captive by the devil, by an inverse operation. The death-bringing word was heard by Eve when she was still a virgin: the Word of God when he came to revive man must be born of a virgin, so that the same sex which brought in death may now introduce life. Eve believed the word of the serpent, Mary the word of Gabriel. In the fourth century the tradition of Tertullian and Irenaeus is carried on by St Ambrose. ‘Adam is born of the virgin earth, Christ is born of a Virgin. The former was made in the image of God, the latter is the image of God. The first was set over irrational animals, the second over all living beings. By a woman came foolishness, and by a Virgin true Wisdom. A tree brought death, life comes from the Cross.’” (Jean Danielou, From Shadows to Reality: Studies in the Biblical Typology of the Fathers, pg. 46)
You can find links to all the blogs I have or will post during this year’s Christmas season at 2012 Nativity Blogs.