Adam Received Revelation From Christ
The Ancient Eden Covenant Was Christian, and Is Still Valid Today


Christ's role as re-capitulator of the human race through His Incarnation and Redemption forms the core of Irenaean theology. The Saint of Lyons identifies the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity as the one who deals with mankind in the Old Testament even before His Incarnation. Indeed it is the Son of God who creatively designed the universe, who tailored it to be a fitting environment for His future habitation. The thought is in accord with Hebrews, where the Father addresses this profoundly significant witness to Christ as Founder of the cosmos: "Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands" (Heb 1:10). St. Irenaeus follows through with the insight that Christ is not only Creator of the universe, but is also its raison d'etre, the reason for its creation in the first place. All lines of the cosmos therefore focus on Christ. Christ is not an afterthought conceived in God's mind as a response to the sin of Adam; on the contrary, Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the cosmos in the first place; Adam is fitted into the cosmic plans as the strategic gateway through which Christ will enter it:

He recapitulates in Himself all the nations dispersed since Adam, and all the languages and generations of men, including Adam himself. That is why St. Paul calls Adam the "type of the One who was to come" (cf. Rom 5:14), because the Word, the maker of all things, did a preliminary sketch in Adam of what, in God's plan, was to come to the human race through the Son of God. God arranged it so that the first man was animal in nature and saved by the spiritual Man. Since the Savior existed already, the one to be saved had to be brought into existence, so that the Saviour should not be in vain (Adv. Haer. III,22,3; trans. by John Saward, 64).

Note this singular and exceedingly meaningful final sentence. It makes Adam into a "front man" to pave the way for the main event, the arrival of Christ. Irenaeus presents Christ as the towering and dominant figure who is central to divine planning. Christ, Pantokrator, is the focal point in God's design of the cosmos to be created, the central figure for whom God measures the layout of the universe. The saint of Lyons looks to Christ as the keystone of the cosmos, whereas Adam enters it secondarily in the train of logic following Christ, "so that the Saviour should not be in vain." Adam is created to provide Christ with a worthy cause to activate His great love. In Latin this extraordinary sentence reads: Cum enim praeexisteret salvans, opportebat et quod salvaretur fieri, uti non vacuum sit salvans. Adam is ushered in to become the beneficiary of Christ's work of love.

Here the thought of Irenaeus differs from that of Augustine and Thomas. Irenaeus sees Christ before he finds Adam. Christ is the dominating cosmic King, Adam is a service pawn. Whereas Augustine and Thomas see Adam before they see Christ. They reason that Adam, by his sin, occasioned a change in God's original plans, namely the sending of Christ into the cosmos. Thomas tends to agree with Augustine whom he quotes: "Augustine says (De Verb. Apost. 8,2) '...Therefore if man had not sinned, the Son of Man would not have come'" Summa Theologica III, 1,3). In other words, God decreed the Incarnation of Christ in response to the sin of Adam, to save the situation after Adam had spoiled God's first plan by committing original sin. Not so Irenaeus, who presents Christ as the dominant figure, indeed the raison d'etre, of all creation. Adam is secondary in God's plans, as the subject whom God creates for Christ to sanctify. God, so reasons Irenaeus, had scripted Christ's function as the central focus of the cosmos before taking original sin into divine accounting. Duns Scotus (d.1308) would later develop this remarkable theme of Irenaeus more fully.

The word salvans (the one who saves) which Irenaeus uses to designate Christ's role, does not have the narrow meaning of a Savior who merely pays a ransom to rescue sinners. The word Savior means to Irenaeus, and to the Greek Fathers typically, the more inclusive role of Sanctifier. The Sanctifier elevates the natural man to the supernatural state originally, as well as after the Fall. Christ, in the concept of Irenaeus, elevated Adam to the state of holiness and justice before the Fall, and redeemed him after it. He is more than a repair-man who reconditions a damaged product. He is an architect who builds the structure originally according to God's primal plan, and then reconditions it even more magnificently after Adam's temporary crash. [End of quotation from the book.]

If we accept, then, that it was Christ who gave Adam grace and the Edenite revelation, there is an unbroken continuity in the history of salvation from innocent Adam until the present. And what is more, the revelation given to Adam before the Fall is valid now as well. It is this revelation which Adam transmitted to the race, the same which is the foundation of the beliefs found among the primitives, the same which still supports human culture and civilization everywhere today.

The revelation which God gave to our first parents was communicated by them to their offspring, and down through succeeding generations. God had commissioned our first ancestors to populate the earth and subdue it: "Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control" (Gen 1:28). The race grew and multiplied, and peoples sought out new territories. Eventually they traveled to the far parts of the globe - to Australia, Asia, North and South America, Europe, and Africa. Anthropologists tell us that it was only about 10,000 years ago that humans learned to raise domestic cattle and cultivate fields. Before that - for probably over 100, 000 years - our ancestors lived as food gatherers, harvesting what nature offered.

Fr. Wilhelm Schmidt, SVD, with his colleagues, has done a monumental work by bringing together traditions still told by food gatherers in scattered parts of our globe. These are printed in the 12 volume set of Ursprung Der Gottes Idee, where we can get a notion of what our ancestors must have believed, and how they lived, before new life styles were invented 10,000 years ago. Schmidt describes, for example, how food gatherers speak about the first revelation and its subsequent transmission:

Immediately at that time, while the Supreme Being still dwelt intimately with man on earth, He took the moral, social and religious education of man into His own hands, as it were, promulgated His laws regarding these activities, and urged man to the observance of these laws. Whatever relates to morality among these early (Ur)groups of people is always referred back to this first giving of the law, to this first education, and this is done expressly, time and time again. The transmission of these laws is passed down continuously from generation to generation both in the education individual families give to their children as well as at the time when the young men and women are ceremonially initiated into adulthood(Schmidt, UrsprungVI 410 ff; see Brandewie 268; Zimmerman t Chapter 8).

It should be noted that the criticism leveled at the theories of Schmidt about an "Ur" culture and culture circles, does not affect the validity of the data which he assembled concerning the traditions and customs of the food gatherers, some of whom survive to this day.


If the revelation given to Adam, and subsequently carried around the world, is from Christ, then Christ has been in communion with those who did not lose this revelation for perhaps 200,000 years, give or take generously. The message all these people have been hearing will harmonize, then, with the one which Christ gave on the hills and plains of Palestine 2000 years ago. There are no anonymous Christians then, since Christ the Good Shepherd knows all His sheep by individual name, those who lived and died before the time of Bethlehem, and those after. In turn, His sheep know Christ's voice too, and they have been following Him.

Jesus said, "I am telling you the truth:...The sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice (Jn 10:1,3-4).

Our Adam and Eve are the founders of human culture, because they could grasp basic truths about God, man, and creation easily and firmly, tutored by divine revelation, and enlightened in mind by the grace and truth of faith. From the beginning they understood the basic equality of man and woman, the commandment of God about monogamous and life-long marriage, the reverence due to the life of all people - basically the ten commandments. These original truths and commandments have been imbedded into cultures and structures of all peoples as they fanned out over the universe.

The original revelation is the inheritance of our entire race. Its commanding voice is that of the Absolute. Buddhists, Muslims, Confucianists, Taoists, Hindus, Shintoists, Animists, even Agnostics and Atheists, are aware of these commandments: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; honor His Name; honor father and mother; do not kill; nor commit adultery; nor steal; nor lie. But be honest and good and industrious. Love thy neighbor as thyself." Christ speaks to the heart in these commandments. As Saint Maximus the Confessor wrote:

The Word of God, born once in the flesh (such is his kindness and goodness), is always willing to be born spiritually in those who desire him. In them he is born as an infant as he fashions himself in them by means of their virtues. He reveals himself to the extent that he knows someone is capable of receiving him. He diminishes the revelation of his glory not out of selfishness but because he recognizes the capacity and resources of those who desire to see him... A star glitters by day in the East and leads the wise men to the place where the incarnate Word lies, to show that the Word, contained in the Law and the Prophets [read: in the' Eden revelation], surpasses in a mystical way the knowledge derived from the senses, and to lead the Gentiles to the full light of knowledge.

For surely the word of the Law and the Prophets [read: Eden revelation] when it is understood with faith is like a star which leads those who are called by the power of grace in accordance with his decree to recognize the Word incarnate (PG 90, 1182 ff).

One might say that despite all the re-packaging and re-naming, despite accretions, diminutions and distortions, the original message is still very much the foundation and support of our individual thinking and our social lives. The more we believe this original message and follow it, the more are we a united people inhabiting the same globe. The Eden message is a ticket, a pass, issued by God and Christ to the race in Eden which admits us to the banquet hall where Christ now celebrates His espousals with the Church. The gatekeeper of the Church will admit all who show the ticket at the door. Joining the Church is a homecoming, a family re-union after more years than anyone can remember. Christ, Primate, who first spoke in Eden, now speaks anew to all in His Church.

The common origin of our race, traceable to our original ancestors, has profound meaning for international relations and world peace. As Pope John Paul II repeated on New Years Day, 1987:

This Message for the Twentieth World Day of Peace is closely linked to the Message I addressed to the world last year on the theme of North-South, East-West: only one peace. In that Message, I said: "...the unity of the human family has very real repercussions for our life and for our commitment in peace ... It means that we commit ourselves to a new solidarity,the solidarity of the human family ... anew relationship, the social solidarity of all" (No. 14).


Aware that "from ancient times down to the present, there has existed among diverse peoples a certain perception of that hidden power" (NA 2). missionaries must take up the strands of the history of salvation, pull them together, and welcome into the Church those who still hesitate:

Missionary activity ... clearly brings to its conclusion the history of salvation... Missionary activity makes Christ present, he who is the author of salvation. It purges of evil associations those elements of truth and grace which are found among peoples, and which are, as it were a secret presence of God; and it restores them to Christ their source who overthrows the rule of the devil and limits the manifold malice of evil. So whatever goodness is found in the minds and hearts of peoples, far from being lost is purified, raised to a higher level and reaches its perfection, for the glory of God, the confusion of the demon, and the happiness of men (AG 9).

But missionary work will remain a challenge because the demands of the Gospel are absolute, refusing to yield to existing powers and cultures already in place. One cannot make his country absolute, and God likewise absolute. When the challenge is made, the forces of evil show their strength and the battle is engaged. Paul writes:

Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. Put God's armour on so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and Powers who originate the darkness of this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. That is why you must rely on God's armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens or have enough resources to hold your ground (Eph 6: 10-13).

Pope John Paul II reminds us that the battle for souls has repercussions behind the scenes of which the spirits are aware, but not we:

As the evangelist Luke testifies, when the disciples returned to the Master full of joy at the fruits they had gathered in their first missionary attempt, Jesus utters a sentence that is highly evocative: "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning" (Lk 10:18). With these words the Lord affirms that the proclamation of the Kingdom of God is always a victory over the devil, but at the same time he also reveals that the building up of the Kingdom is continuously exposed to the attacks of the spirit of evil (Catechesis 13 August 1986).

This signifies, as the pope continued, that "we must prepare ourselves for the condition of struggle which characterizes the condition of the church in this final time of the history of salvation." And the pope goes on to say that the power of the evil one "becomes all the more acute when man and society depart from God."

Missionaries, therefore, must be prepared to proclaim the message and to engage in battle. They can be confident that their message will find a resonating response in the hearts of God's chosen ones, where the Gospel brings to mind the nostalgic message of Eden within them. When the angels sang out over the plains of Bethlehem, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor" (Lk 2:14), the shepherds were not taken completely by surprise. The song awakened a yearning already present in their hearts, so they did not take long to decide. "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us" (Lk 2:15).

The Gospel of Christ is built on the Gospel of Eden; not one jot or tittle of either Gospel is to be lost, but the New Covenant is vastly superior to that of Eden. At any rate, "We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it" (Eph 2:10).

Because the Eden Gospel was delivered to the father of our race, all members of the race have a right and a duty to know it, and to accept also the follow-up Gospel of Jerusalem. Paul is insistent that there is no excuse either for ignorance or for disobedience:

For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them since God himself has made it plain. Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity - however invisible - have been there for the mind to see in the things he has made. That is why such people are without excuse. They certainly had knowledge of God, yet they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks (Rom 1: 19-21).

The magnificent insights of Duns Scotus which see the grace of Adam as the grace of Christ, which forge links of continuity between the Eden community of believers and the believers of today, should become a dynamic part of our proclamation of the Gospel. There is already a unity of belief and of hope among all who are obeying the Eden message, no matter what culture they live in, what political party they adhere to, or what brand of religion they are associated with. The hand of fellowship between Rome and the major religions of the world can already be joined insofar as we profess a common belief in the revelation which our common ancestors first heard in Eden and then delivered to the entire human race.


1, 2,