Updated: Oct 28, 2021
Introduction to Mary as the New Eve
The redemptive role which women play in the history of salvation has been long scorned, culminating in the monstrosity that is this age. This is a lamentable loss. What was once a glorious pedestal of utmost importance has been torn down and perverted, spit upon and mocked, ignored and twisted into either an empty equity or a sad subservience. Which direction shall we go in? Which path shall we take in this touchy topic? Shall we remove all distinctions and make women out to be in the same roles as men, yet with some clear biological distinctives, or shall we make women out to be a group which has no redemptive significance since they are barred from the pastorate, or neither?
We must only look to the word of God to walk this tightrope, to cut this Gordian knot, to diffuse this bomb, to drench this forest fire (whatever illustration works for you). If we look very closely, tracing those female saints of old through redemptive history, all roads lead to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the New Eve, and much more. In this we see something glorious, a spiritual service of utmost importance, incessantly necessary for the salvation of the world and the growth of the kingdom of God, that is, motherhood. Yes, motherhood is that theological path we must walk, which is the jewel of the redemptive role of women. Both Feminists and Misogynists—if such a term even has meaning anymore—have fallen off the path and I am shining the glorious light of scripture to illume the truth path again, which will lead to something which affirms both the creational nature and redemptive telos (purpose) of women. Cease to hate the light, cease to butcher femininity into either masculinity, or something worthless, both come from the same sexism which equates masculinity and femininity, favoring the former and hating the later.
In our quest of biblical theology,1 we will start with Eve and end with the Blessed Virgin Mary, showing how the chief contribution of each of these is in the children they bear and nurture, the types of Mary as the New Eve, being contrasted to the types of Christ as the New Adam.
Let us begin with Eve, in creation they were given the command to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion.”2 It was by this “multiplication” via childbearing that the earth would be “replenished,” and in this they would “subdue it, and have dominion.” For her very name is Eve “because she was the mother of all living.”3 But, she failed this task. Rather than being the “mother of the living,” she bore death for all. Due to this, her womb was cursed, and by extension all wombs, that “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children,”4 yet in God’s unmerited grace, He gave her a promise that her womb would bring froth life, though she had brought forth death, saying “I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”5 Redemption will come, and it will come through the wombs of women in general, by bearing prophets, priests, and kings, and in particular the Prophet, Priest, and King with Mary as the New Eve.
Next, we move on to the wife of Noah and the wives of Noah’s Sons. In this situation “all flesh died that moved upon the earth,”6 and those who were “corrupt before God”7 were destroyed, and “eight souls were saved by water.”8 God had destroyed the “seed of Satan” and preserved the “Seed of the woman,” preserving the church on earth, and then echoing what Genesis 2 says “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,”9 commanding them to bear the offspring of a New Humanity on this “New Earth,” to replace that old and sinful humanity which was corrupted by sin and destroyed by the flood.
Thirdly, we have the patriarchs’ wives. Between the time of the flood and Abraham, the earth again was filled with idolatry. Out of this, God called Abraham to possess a new land and bear a new people. Sarah (Abraham’s wife) is barren, and this is the driving force behind the account of her in Genesis. God, though, shows His grace to her, promising to Abraham that “I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly,”10 and that this line would be through Sarah, saying “I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.”11
This hearkens back to Eve’s “mother of the living,” that out of her bareness will come forth “Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”12 Sarah becomes the “freewoman” who bore a child “by promise,” and is described as an “allegory” of “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”13 Following suit is Rebecca, and Rachel and Leah who bore—by miraculous intervention—children which built the nation of Israel.
The next major figure we run into is that of Moses. Moses’ mother (Jochebed) is famous in the preservation of her Son against the Egyptian slaughter. For she “conceived, and bore a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein, and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.”14
In the period of the Judges there is the example of Manoah's wife, the mother of Samson.15 She “was barren, and bore not,” but “the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, ‘Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.”16 This son, like Samuel, was to be dedicated to the Lord, and “be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”17
What About Deborah?
Some may ask, “well what about Deborah?” Deborah is a favorite of feminists and is often seen as the “gotcha” figure for egalitarianism, but things are not as clear cut. In short, Deborah was not a Judge in the purest sense of the word, yes is says that she “judged,” but this must be taken in a different sense as a true “Judge.” A Judge in the book of Judges is one who is the liberator of Israel from a foreign enemy, called prophetically to the task of leading the army of Israel. With this definition of a true Judge we see that Deborah does not fit the bill but was a prophetess who’s first action was to get Barak (the true judge). This is reflected in the listing of Judges in the book of Hebrews where Deborah is absent and Barak is present (Hebrews 11:32), it is clear where the emphasis is placed, even so in the words of John Knox, “[they argue that] Deborah did rule Israel, and Huldah spoke prophecy in Judah; ergo, it is lawful for women to reign above realms and nations, or to teach in the presence of men. The consequent is vain, and of none effect. For of examples, as is before declared, we may establish no law; but we are always bound to the written law, and to the commandment expressed in the same. And the law written and pronounced by God forbids no less that any woman reign over man, than it forbids man to take plurality of wives, to marry two sisters living at once, to steal, to rob, to murder, or to lie. If any of these has been transgressed, and yet God has not imputed the same, it makes not the like fact or deed lawful unto us. For God (being free) may, for such causes as are approved by his inscrutable wisdom, dispense with the rigour of his law, and may use his creatures at his pleasure. But the same power is not permitted to man, whom he has made subject to his law, and not to the examples of fathers. And this I think sufficient to the reasonable and moderate spirits.”
Next, is Hannah, who bore the Prophet Samuel. Like, many of those before her she was barren and could not conceive so she cried out to the Lord, saying “O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thy handmaid, but wilt give unto thy handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”18 The Lord remembered her and she burst out in singing, saying, “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over my enemies: because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none besides thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” 19 Keeping her vow Hannah consecrated her child to the Lord, saying “For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.”20
Then is Ruth. Ruth almost certainly is placed in such high esteem for being the mother of Obed. The entire story of Ruth shows God’s covenantal faithfulness in bringing her into Israel and having her participate in the Davidic (messianic) line. This is seen clearly at the end of the account when immediately following her son’s name it says “he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 21
Lastly is Bathsheba. Bathsheba is the mother of Solomon and the Queen of Israel. This may seem odd to us that Bathsheba was the Queen, since she was the mother of the King, but this title “this title is properly applied to the queen-mother, since in an Oriental household it is not the wife, but the mother, of the master who exercises the highest authority. The extent of the influence of the queen-mother is well illustrated by the narrative of the interview of Solomon and Bathsheba, as given in 1 Kings 2:19–25. The term is applied to Maachah, Asa’s mother (1 Kings 15:13), and to the mother of Jehoiachin (comp. 2 Kings 24:12 with Jer. 13:18).”22
Mary as the New Eve and Much more
All of these figures come together when we consider the Blessed Virgin Mary. The most striking connection comes when we consider the Blessed Virgin as the New Eve, this is picked up by the Church Fathers,23 succinctly stated by Jerome that “Death came through Eve, but life has come through Mary [the New Eve].”24 For, just as Eve listened to the deceitful Angel, so did the Blessed Virgin Mary listen to the good Angel.25 Just as Eve questioned the word of God, so Mary, the New Eve, accepted the word of God, saying “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”26 Just as Eve conceived the word (of the serpent) which bore the fruit of death to all, so the Blessed Virgin Mary, the New Eve, conceived the Word which bore the fruit of life for all. Just as Eve was ordered to replenish the world with life by her womb, so the Blessed Virgin Mary fulfilled it by bringing forth the one who replenished spiritual life. Just as Eve was the Mother of the living, so the Blessed Virgin Mary as the New Eve is the Mother of “the Life,” and the Mother of those who are given eternal life. Just as Eve was the one who failed to have dominion over the world, so the Blessed Virgin Mary as the New Eve brought forth the man who will reign “until I [Yahweh] make thine enemies thy footstool.”27 Just as Eve brought forth a murderer, so the Blessed Virgin Mary as the New Eve brought forth one who was murdered. Just as Eve wept for her sin at a tree, so the Blessed Virgin Mary, the New Eve, wept for the sins of many at a tree. Just as Eve was promised that her seed would crush the head of the serpent, so the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Seed, the New Adam, crushed the head of the serpent before her eyes.
So also, we see this connection with the women on the Ark. For just as the flood destroyed the “old world” creating anew the world and destroying the old humanity, and through their wombs creating a new humanity, faithful to God. So also, the Blessed Virgin Mary from her womb creates a new humanity, giving birth to our older brother,28 the Matriarch of the new humanity. From her womb comes the One who will populate the New earth after the flood waters of eschatological judgement destroy the old earth,29 not only that, but as the mother of the church, her children will be the ones populating the new earth, as the women on the Ark’s children populated the new earth.
She fulfills the general type of the “barren woman.” For, in the old covenant God miraculously intervened in the lives of barren women, to give them great joy by bringing forth a son who was redemptively significant. But, in the new covenant God made an even more miraculous intervention by giving her the greatest joy of any woman, causing her to cry out “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath magnified me; and holy is his name.”30 Not only did he made a barren woman pregnant, but alas! He made a virgin pregnant. Not only did God give her a child who would be a prophet, priest or king, but she gave birth to the One who was the Prophet, Priest, and King, fulfilling all of the former types.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the New Sarah bringing forth the New Isaac, the One who is the Obedient Son to His Father, the one who was placed on the alter and sacrificed by His Father, the One who is the Father of the New Israel, the One who was the first fruits of the people set apart from idolatry. She bore the One who “I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”31 The one whom the New Sarah bore is given the fulfillment of the everlasting covenant, and not only is the covenant established with His seed, but He is the Seed who was the “seed after” the one who the Old Sarah bore.
She is the New Rebekah the one who bore the New Jacob, whose people take upon His name, previously they were called after the name of Jacob, Israelites, but now they are called after the name of the Son of the New Rebekah, Christians. Rebekah bore the head of the Old Israel, just as the Blessed Virgin Mary bore the head of the New Israel.
She is the New wife of Manoah, for the One she bore not only was a fallible human judge, temporarily taking back the Old Israel, but He will the Perfect Judge which will “put all his enemies under his feet,” winning an eternal victory, and an eternal land. Just as an angel visited the New Wife of Manoah, so also “the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman.”32Just as the Old Wife of Manoah dedicated her Son to the Lord, so did the New. Just as the Old Wife of Manoah was told that “he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines,”33 so the New was given an even greater promise, that “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”34
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the New Hannah. Just as the Old Hannah bore the Prophet Samuel, who brought the word of God to His people, so also the New Hannah bore the very Word of God of which the Prophet Samuel spoke and by whose Spirit Samuel spoke.35 In her most precious song, the Magnificat, the New Hannah echoed the Old Hannah.36 Just as the Old Hannah dedicated her beloved son to God in the temple, so also did the New Hannah do so.
Moving on from the barren women, the Blessed Virgin Mary shines forth in other, non- barren women. She is the New Jochebed. Just as the old Jochebed preserved her son, who would become a prophet, priest, and king of Israel, from the slaughter of Pharaoh, so also the New Jochebed preserved her Son, who is the Prophet, Priest, and King, from the slaughter of Herod. She is the New Ruth, from whom comes the Kingly line. We may also speculate a bit and say she fulfills the “handmaid” of the Psalms, the old mother of David who bore the old David, who is fulfilled by the one who, “descended from David according to the flesh.”37 For, in Luke’s account the Blessed Virgin Mary refers to herself as a “slave” or “handmaiden,” 38 once, most significantly in the Magnificat.
Lastly, from this flows the mother of the kings. The greatest example is from Bathsheba. For, Bathsheba bore the King of Israel who defended and expanded the people of God as their King, and so does the Son of the new Bathsheba defend the church as her King. As we observed, the mother of the King was the queen in Israel. The Old Bathsheba was the queen of Israel, the New Bathsheba is the Queen of Heaven,39 for it is in motherhood that a woman reached heights that no woman has ever before, mother of God, Bride of the Holy Spirit, Queen of Heaven, with Great honor being shown to her by her Beloved Son.40
As we have seen, from a biblical theological survey of the scripture, the redemptive role of women has been, primarily, in the bearing of children. This culminates in the ultimate example of this in our Blessed Mother who fulfills the Old Testament types of motherhood. She is, as Pope John Paul II tells us, the ultimate example to women “as [the] model in faith hope and charity.”41 She is the “exceptional daughter of the human race, that extraordinary woman who became the Mother of Christ.”42 Now, this is in contrast to their sons. The sons of these Marian types are the ones who take the roles of prophets, priests, and Kings, typifying Christ, beginning with Mary as the New Eve.
What shall we then do with this information? Realize, dear reader, that these examples are redemptive and eternal, and principles which are redemptive, and eternal do not change with culture. When asked “well, since women can’t enter the priesthood what are we to do?” We must unashamedly, unwaveringly, confidently answer “motherhood.” Who are we to despise such a noble estate, such a spiritual service? Which ministry reaches so deeply into the heart of someone than being their mother? Which ministry so effectively evangelizes and shifts culture?
Which ministry is so noble that it crowned a woman Queen of Heaven? Motherhood. We are seeing the arrogance and foolishness which shows forth from a culture which not only makes the negative statement against motherhood, i.e. that motherhood ought to be either looked down upon or severely restricted to 1 or 2 children. But the absolute rot of a culture which does not make the positive statement for motherhood, i.e. how necessary it is for women to have children. For, motherhood is not some optional thing to trifle with, rather it is one of the most vital purposes which God has made woman for, it is a means of battle against the kingdom of darkness, by which the kingdom of light is supplied not only with our citizens, but with those who are the priests and kings of that kingdom.
Photo Credit: Coronation of Mary
1 For those not accustomed to “Biblical Theology,” all this means is that it is theology that is done “redemptive-historically,” that is, that rather than taking all the verses about a single subject and constructing scripture’s teaching on a subject (systematic theology), I will be tracing a theme throughout all of scripture. 2 Ge. 1:28 KJV
3 Ge 3:20 4 Ge 3:16. 5 Ge 3:15.
6 Ge 7:21. 7 Gen 6:11 8 1 Pe 3:20
9 Ge 9:1. 10 Ge 17:2.
11 Ge 17:16.
12 Ge 17:19.
13 Ga 4:26.
14 Ex 2:2–3. 15 Knox, John. The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstruous Regiment of Women. Geneva: J. Poullain and A. Rebul, 1558. Accessed October 6, 2020. 16 Jdg 13:3. 17 Jdg 13:5. 18 1 Sa 1:11. 19 1 Sa 2:1–2.
20 1 Sa 1:27–28.
21 Ru 4:17. 22 Thomas J. Shepherd, The Westminster Bible Dictionary (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1880), 427. 23 To avoid the archaic phrasing and lengthy explanations given by the Fathers, the texts will be quoted in the footnotes. 24 Jerome, “The Letters of St. Jerome,” in St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. W. H. Fremantle, G. Lewis, and W. G. Martley, vol. 6, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1893), 30. 25 See, Irenaeus, Against Heresies V.5, “For just as the former was led astray by the word of an angel,” and Tertullian “As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel,” and Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, “As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel” 26 Lk. 1:38
27 Ps 110:1. 28 Mark 3:35; Romans 8:17
29 2 Peter 3:1—7 30 Luke 1:46—49 31 Ge 17:19.32 Jdg. 13:3 33 Jdg 13:5.34 Matt. 1:21 35 1 Peter 1:11 36 Forestell, James T. (1961) "Old Testament Background of the Magnificat," Marian Studies: Vol. 12, Article 12, Pages 205-244, this work consistently cites the Song of Hannah as the greatest influence on the Magnificat. Notice: “Hannah” is referred to as “Anna” 37 Rom. 1:2 ESV
38 Luke 1:38, 48 39 Scott Hahn, Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, 1st ed. (New York; London; Toronto; Sydney; Auckland: Image Books; Doubleday, 2001), 78—81 40 1 Kings 2:19 41 John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1987). 42 Ibid.