After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the
contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the
coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.
passage in Genesis is called the
(“first gospel”): the
first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle
between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a
descendant of hers.
The Christian tradition sees in this passage an an
nouncement of the “NewAdam” who, because he “became obedi
ent unto death, even death on a cross,” makes amends
superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam.
many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman
announced in the
as Mary, the mother of Christ,
the “new Eve.” Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from
Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of
original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any
kind during her whole earthly life.
why did God not prevent the first man from sinning?
Leo the Great responds, “Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us
blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away.”
And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent
human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after
sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good.
Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the
more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault that earned so great,
so glorious a Redeemer!’”
“God did not make death, and he does not delight in
the death of the living. . . . It was through the devil’s
envy that death entered the world” (
Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen
angels who have freely refused to serve God and his
306 Cf. Pius IX,
DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573.
307 St. Leo the Great,
73, 4: PL 54, 396.
308 St. Thomas Aquinas,
III, 1, 3,