The One Created in the Image of the Holy Trinity, Adam
After creating the different creations for five consecutive days, the Holy Trinity said this in the early morning of the sixth day (Friday): “Let Us make man according to Our image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26). If one may ask how the Holy Trinity would say in Our image and likeness, the Holy Trinity are ingenious, do speak, and are eternal. Adam is also created to be ingenious, to speak, and to have eternal life. As the Holy Trinity have a definitive image, so does Adam. The Holy Trinity is personified with the heart, the spoken word, and breath; likewise, man has a heart, speaks, and has breath. The Holy Trinity, who rule over Adam because of the essence (nature) of Their Deity, have granted Adam the right to rule over creations by grace.
Adam, bestowed with such grace and created in the image of the Holy Trinity, became the subject by whom the one who previously lost his place due to his pride Sataniel (Satan) has been shamed and on whom God’s perfect Divine wisdom was revealed. The unquestionable wisdom of God was reflected through man because He has created him as sparkly as a drinking glass, as marvelous as flowers, moreover, because He has created him wise. God gave Adam the mandate over all creations in the four corners. “He created Eve from his body so that she helps him. He placed them in the endeared eastward, in the Garden of
Eden. (It is said eastward for the Garden of Eden has four corners.) He gave them everything without restriction so that they would find pleasure in all that can be received from God.” After all this, He gave them an order regarding only one plant. This plant was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If one were not to eat from it, one would know good; if one were to eat from it, one would know evil. It was given as a symbol of the ruler and the ruled. Those who would eat from it would die; hence, they were ordered not to eat from it.
Transgressing God’s Laws
After living in the Garden of Eden for seven years, Adam and Eve broke the order they were given by eating from the tree that they were told not to and brought death upon themselves. Our father Adam was condemned to die because of his transgression. Since he listened to Satan’s advice and severed his relationship with his Creator, he fell under Satan’s rule. He lived in melancholy and sorrow in this world. He cried deeply for having fallen under adversity. He did not cry because he lost his honorable place, comfort, and joy in the Garden of Eden, but because of his unworthy deed which saddened his Creator. That is why it is said that Adam had no reason to make him cry other than his sin.
Because he was convicted to die, the body of Adam the one who was formed from the dust of the earth and came alive with God’s breath was laid in a grave; his soul suffered in Hades (Sheol). In death of the flesh, death of the soul found him, and in being lowered into the grave, he was lowered into hell; he was given to death. While animals were created to look down as they walk, there was a reason Adam was created to walk upright (made able to look up to the skies).
It is to indicate that animals are always led by instinct, and that they decompose and rot once they die whereas he has eternal life and will eternally live in heaven which God has prepared for him. However, man, who was honored and created righteous was defeated by the grave. He was defeated by death. Death went on for years by decomposing and rotting Adam’s body in the grave and by torturing his soul in Hades.
Descendants of Adam were also entrapped by this trap of death. Snatching and keeping their souls in Hades and their bodies in the grave, death left them in a total darkness where there is no glimmer of hope. The scholar Saint Athanasius asks his father Adam through the Holy Spirit as follows about the death that was inflicted on us because of the tree of knowledge: “Dear Adam, how have we wronged you for you to bring the judgment of death on us? What have we done to you, dear Adam, for you not to let us stay and be merry in the Garden of Eden, with our Lord, where there is joy? What have we done to you, dear Eve? Our bodies have blackened from too much sin when we should have had a heavenly life.” (Saint Athanasius’ Divine Liturgy, numbers 28 & 29). As the scholar said, death entered the world through the one Adam; we, his children, were all doomed to die.
Redeemer of the World
No one could annul this power of death among creations. Since everyone was indebted and no one, except for our Lady, Holy Virgin Mary, was found unaffected by the debt from Adam’s sin, people could not pay a restitution. Nor did animals and angels have the capability to pay reparation for Adam’s sin of the flesh and soul. It is for this very reason that God wanted to send His Only-Begotten Son into the world. It was the will of God that death which entered the world through the first Adam would be annulled through the second Adam, Christ. Hence, for the love of mankind, He sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world. This is why the Apostle Saint John wrote that God went to the extent of giving his Only-Begotten Son to be the redeemer of all; He sent Him into the world for He so loved the world that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world so that His Son would convict the world. He says that the world was already in condemnation and thus it was not to condemn it but rather to save it from its condemnation. (John 3:15-17).
One of the three Persons, God the Son, came down to the world and became flesh to redeem mankind. He became Man. He manifested Himself as the second Adam in order to erase the first Adam’s wrongdoing. Apart from sin, He had all of man’s traits.
After His conception and before His birth, when He was in the womb for nine months and five days, He never left His throne; after He was born, for thirty three years and three months He
never left His throne and was Man at the same time. Saint Jared (a hymnist and scholar who invented the Ethiopian Orthodox Incarnition Church chants) says this in one of his writings Anketse Birihan (one of many descriptions of the Holy Virgin Mary meaning Bearer of the Light), “When they saw their Lord, who holds all creation in His hand and feeds all creation, tucked under your arm and feeding on your breast, they found Him with His Father and the Holy Spirit in this world as it was from the beginning.” Being worshipped by the angels in heaven, He was incarnated to be one and inseparable with our flesh through His profound wisdom and became fully Man while being fully God. We found the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary among us. After having manifested Himself and becoming inseparably one with our flesh, He drew mankind closer to Him through His teachings and miracles.
In the end, He was crucified on a cross at Calvary and in His own will died in the flesh that He wore for Adam’s sin. The flesh that He took from our Lady, Holy of Holies, Virgin Mary without a man and without pain was crucified. Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped His body and buried Him in a new tomb. Afraid that what was prophesied about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would come true, Jews had the tomb guarded by Roman soldiers. The soldiers guarded the tomb with diligence to prevent the words “He rose on the third day” from being heard. Although they were being accomplices of the devil so that the power of death would live on pervasively, since there is not anyone who would not be conquered by the Creator and anyone whom God’s authority would not defeat, the Word Incarnate Jesus Christ won victory over death and resurrected on the third day. The mystery that the flesh will be raised after death and that it will live eternally, the hope of resurrection, became apparent through Christ’s resurrection. Being the first to be risen from the dead, He granted resurrection to all of us. (1 Corinthians 15:20). What cannot be done by man was done by the One Who was manifested in the flesh. The power of death is abrogated forever by His Divine power. Saint Cyril says this in Haimanote Abew (a book whose title translates to Faith of the Fathers), “He abolished death’s victory. Because He is Life and the Creator, the flesh is also His and that He died in the flesh, rose after He died and destroyed death; we should know that He gave us quality and the essence of His Deity. This deed, meaning, victory over death and annulling its power is not the deed of the weak like ourselves. It is far beyond man’s ability.” (Faith of the Fathers 79:13).
The Resurrection of Christ
Even though Adam’s body was decomposing and rotting in the grave with its power revoked for a while, he was able to gain power and conquer death because it inseparably became one with the nature of the Deity afterwards. Christ suffered in the flesh and went to the grave, He beat death with His Deity and Divine authority and made the flesh with which He inseparably united victorious. By wearing man’s flesh which was humiliated, scorned, and crushed, He took man back to his place of dignity and honored him.
Therefore, Resurrection reminds us that death once had a power. Resurrection reminds us the Creator’s immense kindness. Resurrection reminds us that following Christ’s example we will rise in the end instead of remaining decomposed and rotten. This is why we celebrate His Resurrection as one of the major holidays. We have read stories about plenty of people who rose from the dead in the Old Testament (2 Kings 13:20-21). All these people, nonetheless, did not abrogate our death; they did not get rid of death’s power. When they were raised from the dead with the prophets’ and apostles’ prayers and God’s kindness, it was to live for themselves. In fact, they have returned to death’s bondage from which they escaped. However, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through His Deity and Divine authority, defeated death for eternity and rose. He made us cross over from death to life.
Christ Our Passover Lamb
The Israelites (also known as Israelites in the flesh) used to observe Passover ever since their exodus from Egypt to reminisce the bitterness of their slavery. On this holiday, they used to re- member the bitter life in Egypt, their forefathers’ torment and adversity. When God used to speak to them through His prophets in different eras, He used to say to them, I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 20:2) He used to remind them how He freed them. In relation to this, we celebrate Easter (Fasika) in the New Testament for having found the main freedom of the soul. We Christians (known as Israelites in the soul) celebrate the holiday in spiritual enjoyment for being free from slavery in Hades which was symbolized by Egypt. In remembering Adam’s and his descendants’ life of torment and adversity in the Holy Week (Semune Himamat), we celebrate Easter on the Christian Sabbath Sunday. Christ is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). We believe and affirm that we are set free through the suffering and death of the Word Incarnate, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.