The Fall of Adam and Eve as a Prototype to the Eucharist

The story of Adam and Eve involves three covenants: God’s covenant with humanity; the marital covenant between man and woman; and the breaking of the covenant between humanity and God through an act of eating.

On the seventh day God binds himself to creation, making his creation holy and sacred.  Humanity, made in God’s image and likeness, is the highpoint of his creation.  God enters into a sacred familial relationship with humanity through the covenantal oath he makes on the seventh day.

The story of Adam and Eve also includes the marital covenant between man and woman. The sacred bond between man and woman included a flesh and blood sacrifice of Adam’s rib from which woman is formed.  Thereafter, Adam swears an oath to God concerning the marital relationship between man and woman, thereby establishing a sacred relationship between man and woman forever.

The story of Adam and Eve ends with Adam and Eve breaking humanity’s covenantal relationship with God through an act of eating.  Of all the trees within the Garden of Eden, God particularly points out two trees, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, whose fruit brings death, and the Tree of Life, whose fruit brings eternal life. Adam and Eve are forbidden to eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  But, the Serpent tricks them and they eat of its fruit.  Though this act of eating, they break the covenant.  They are banished from the Garden, are no longer in communion with God, and are to suffer death.  God further places an angle with a flaming sword to protect the Tree of Life and to prevent Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of Tree of Life and have life eternal in their fallen state.

The early Church Fathers saw the tree of life as a prototype of the cross and its fruit as a prototype the Eucharist.  As eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life would give eternal life, so too does eating the fruit of cross, the Eucharist give eternal life.  As the covenant was broken by an act of eating, the familial covenant between God and humanity is renewed through an act of eating.

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