When Cyril [of Alexandria] writes in his commentary on the Gospel of John, he sees another dimension to the Resurrection. The Resurrection was evidence that Christ was a unique kind of man. Christ, he writes, “presented himself to God the Father as the first fruits of humanity…. He opened up for us the way that the human race had not known before.” Before Christ came into the world “human nature was incapable of destroying death,” but Christ was superior to the tribulations of the world and “more powerful” than death. Hence he became the first man who was able to conquer death and corruption. By showing himself stronger than death, Christ extends to us the power of his Resurrection “because the one that overcame death was one of us.” Then Cyril adds the sentence, “If he conquered as God, to us it is nothing; but if he conquered as man we conquered in Him. For he is to us the second Adam come from heaven according to the Scriptures.” This is an extraordinary statement and to my knowledge unprecedented. Cyril asserts that Christ triumphed over death because of the kind of human being he was. His human nature makes Christ unique.

Robert Louis Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. Seeking the Face of God, 120-21.

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