There were two founders of the human race, Adam and Christ; two men alike in body but unlike in dignity; completely similar in physical make­up but totally dissimilar in origin.

St Paul says that the first man, Adam, became a living soul; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

The first was made by the second from whom he also received the breath of life; the second was his own creator and fashioner, for he did not look for life from another, but was himself the sole source of life for everyone.

The first was moulded from the common earth; the second came forth from the blessed womb of the Virgin.

In the first earth became human; in the second human nature was raised to divinity.

What more can I say? It was the second Adam who stamped his own image upon the first when he created him.

That is why he assumed the role of the first Adam, so that what he had fashioned in his own image should not perish.

There was then a first Adam and a last Adam. The first had a beginning, the last is unbounded, for the last Adam is in fact the first, as he himself says: I am the first and the last.

I am the first, because I have no beginning; I am the last, because I have no end.

But it is not the spiritual that comes first,says the Apostle, but the physical, and then the spiritual.

[…] The first man, says the Apostle, being made of the earth is earthly; the second who comes from heaven is heavenly. The earthly man is the pattern for earthly people; the heavenly man for heavenly people.

But how is it possible to receive a nature with which one is not born? How if not by ceasing to be what we were and persevering in what we have become through rebirth?

For this, my friends, the heavenly Spirit fructifies the virginal womb of the font with the invisible communication of his radiance, so that it may bring forth as heavenly offspring, and transform into the likeness of their Creator, those who had sunk into a miserable earthly condition because they were fashioned from slime.

Therefore, now that we have been reborn and refashioned in the image of our Creator, let us do as the Apostle says: As we have borne the image of the earthly man, so let us also bear the image of the heavenly man.

Let us be completely like our Creator, not in the majesty which belongs to him alone, but in the innocence, simplic­ity, gentleness, patience, humility, and friendliness which he has deigned to share with us.

Peter Chrysologus (c.380 – c.450): Sermon 117, 1-2, 4-6 (CCL 24A:709-12); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Saturday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I.