The First Adam-Second Adam Typology in John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria

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Abstract

Patristic scholars have commented on the early church’s common practice of drawing catechetical instructions from the creation account in Genesis. One of the recurring motifs in such discussions is the fathers’ use of the Adam-Christ typology with its soteriological and sacramental implications. The present study briefly explores this theme in John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria with particular reference to the baptism of Jesus and the theological challenge it posed to the early church: Did Jesus the Lord receive the Spirit at his baptism? Why did he need to be baptized? What is the relationship between the baptism of Jesus and Christian baptism? Both Cyril and Chrysostom make insightful use of the Adamic typology in this context as they discuss how Christ’s work restores fallen humanity from corruption and death that followed Adam’s sin. First, the study examines how the aforementioned fathers from two distinct traditions view the baptism of Jesus in the recovery of God’s grace that was lost in Adam’s fall. Second, the study will demonstrate that both Chrysostom and Cyril had much in common in their understanding of the transforming grace and work of the Spirit in refashioning the believer into a new creation at baptism. And third, it will be shown that there was a consensus on soteriological and sacramental perspectives among the Alexandrians and the Antiochenes.

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The Theological Journal of Emanuel University

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