Immediately after the Fall, God promised a Redeemer to Adam. He forgave man, although He had not forgiven the rebel angels. He was more merciful to man than to the angels. In making the promise, God spoke of the Blessed Virgin, who was to be the Saviour’s Mother.
These are taken from the wonderful Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow
27. The Promise of the Redeemer
(Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed.)
Did God abandon man after Adam fell into sin? –God did not abandon man after Adam fell into sin, but promised to send into the world a Saviour to free man from his sins and to reopen to him the gates of heaven.
God could have abandoned man as a consequence of Adam’s sin; then the human race would have suffered eternal separation from Him.
- The promise was first made to Adam before God sent him out of Paradise. God said to the serpent who had tempted Eve: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head” (Gen. 3:15) In this passage, the woman spoken of is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her seed is Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the Redeemer promised by God. God said that there would be complete enmity between Our Lord with His Mother on one side, and the devil with his followers on the other.
- This promise was renewed several times to the Patriarchs of the Old Testament: to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. Because Abraham remained true to the worship of God in the midst of idolatry, God led him to Canaan. As a reward for his obedience, God promised, “I will make of thee a great nation … and in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:2,3). This promise was repeated twice. The same promise “in thy seed shall all the nations be blessed” was repeated to Abraham’s son Isaac, and to Isaac’s son Jacob. Finally, hundreds of years later, God commanded the prophet Nathan to repeat to King David the very same promise, “He shall build a house to My name, and I will establish his kingdom forever” (2 Kings 7:13)
- Later, God sent the Prophets. Through them He foretold many things about the Redeemer: about His birth, His Person, His sufferings. His death, and His final glory. God enlightened the Prophets so that they could speak in His name to the Jews or Israelites’ the descendants of Abraham. There were about seventy prophets, the last being Malachias, who lived some 450 years before Christ.
- God chose the Jews as the people among whom the promised Saviour would live; for this reason we call the Jews the “chosen people”. God prepared them for the coming of the Saviour: by heavy trials, by severe laws, by miracles, by prophecies. The selection of the Jews did not mean rejection by God of the other nations. Every renewal of God’s promise recalled blessings in which all were to share. Even among other nations there were just men, In Greece, Socrates spoke against the worship of idols. Holy Job lived in Arabia. The Magi were of the East. Vergil the poet prayed the virgin-born Son to come and reign over His people.
Why did God wait thousands of years before sending the Redeemer? –God wished men to realize the enormity of sin.
- God wished men to see how low they could sink without His help. He wanted the world to prepare for the Redeemer. Men became so wicked that God destroyed all in the Deluge, except Noe and his family. God permitted men to sink into the deepest misery, so that they might be roused to a longing for the promised Saviour. When the Saviour at last came, all nations were sunk in idolatry and wickedness except the Jews. Even among the Jews there was continuous dissension and sin.
- From the time of Adam the true religion was preserved till the advent of the promised Saviour by the patriarchs, prophets and other holy men inspired by God to teach and lead his Chosen People. In spite of the imperfection of the old religion, there was always only one true religion. It was but a shadow of the perfection that was to come, but was the true religion before Christ: the Jewish Faith.
Who is the Saviour of all men? –The Saviour of all men is Jesus Christ.
Men would know the Saviour by certain signs which God revealed through the Prophets.
- Of His advent the Prophets spoke:
- The Messias was to be born in Bethlehem, when the Jews were no longer free. “And Thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity” (Mich. 5:2). “The scepter shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations” (Gen. 49:10)
- The Messias was to be born of a virgin of the House of David. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is. 7:14)
- The Messias would be preceded by a precursor who would preach in the desert. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight in the desert the paths of our God” (Is 40:3).
- A new star was to announce the birth of the Messias; He would be adored by kings from distant lands bringing Him gifts. “A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a scepter shall spring up from Israel” (Numb. 24:17). “The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts” (Ps. 71:10)
- Many children would be put to death at the time of His birth. “A voice was heard on high of lamentation, or mourning, and weeping, of Rachel (representing the Jews) weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not” (Jer. 31:15).
- Of the person of the Messias the Prophets spoke: He was to be the Son of God. He would work great miracles, and teach the people. He would he King of a new kingdom, which was not to be destroyed, and was to include all nations. “The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee” (Ps. 2:7). “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free” (Is. 35:5-6). “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed … and it shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44).
- Of His sufferings the Prophets spoke: He was to enter Jerusalem riding on an ass. He would be betrayed by one who ate at the same table with Him. He would he abandoned, mocked, beaten, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, and given gall and vinegar to drink. Lots would be cast for His garments. His hands and feet would be pierced with nails. He would die between two evildoers.
- All the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Redeemer, the Saviour that God in His mercy had promised. The angels announced Him as the Redeemer to the shepherds when He was born, and to St. Joseph in a vision. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son” (John 3:16)