Gospel Matters - Hail, the New-Adam!

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Home > Media > News > Gospel Matters - Hail, the New-Adam!
Gospel Matters - Hail, the New-Adam!

By Dr Christine Wood, Director of the Office of Evangelisation & Catechesis

The ancient Jews waited in eager expectation for the Messiah who would redeem the world from sin. Christians celebrate the birth of this Messiah in the newborn Christ-child.

Christians believe Christ to be the one who conquered sin and crushed the head of Satan. This belief originates in our primeval history where, after the first sin, God declares to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

This first-gospel message of hope is the source of the Ancient Jewish expectation that a Messiah would come. He would be the ‘seed of the woman’ who would conquer evil and put an end to death.

In his Letter to the Romans, St Paul contrasts Christ with the first Adam: through Adam’s disobedience sin entered the world, then condemnation and death spread to all men. Through his obedience, Christ brought life and acquittal so that many would be made righteous.

St Paul pushes the contrast further in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Christ, the New-Adam, reverses the sin of first Adam. This is what we celebrate in Christmas.
The final verse of the familiar Christmas carol, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, reads: “Come, Desire of nations, come! Fix in us Thy humble home: Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring seed, Bruise in us the serpent’s head; Adam’s likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place: Final Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love.”

The carol triumphantly declares that Jesus is the seed of the woman foretold in Genesis. Jesus’ birth begins the work of crushing Satan’s head. We beseech Christ to erase the sinfulness we inherited from Adam and place the stamp of his own image within us. 

Another verse of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” ends with: “Born that man no more may die; Born to raise the sons of earth; Born to give them second birth.”

God’s great love for us is revealed in the newborn Christ-child. Through Adam we are condemned to die, but through Christ we are offered a second birth.

Christmas reminds us of the humility of God in becoming human, for us. God longs to reinstate us in his love, to reconcile us to himself through Christ. Let this be our primary thought as we give God thanks this Christmas!