Mother of Invention


or Drive-By Typology

Rome has this whole nutty Oedipus thing going. They want the infantile security of Mary’s breast when God calls them to grow up, to be as individuals men worthy of a bride’s affections, and corporately a bride who adores only her Husband!

Verifying typological connections is a tricky business. Like driving, it is not a skill but an art. This means that although there are certain rules to follow, above all of that there are situations where being steeped in the types and structures of the Bible is the only way to proceed with wisdom. James Jordan recently commented that any such exegesis should be carried out within the conversation of the church, and:

“The popular notion that everyone should be able to read and exegete the Bible equally, as a result of learning some so-called “science” of hermeneutics, is about as stupid as thinking everyone can write music like Bach and Beethoven by studying the rules of harmony and counterpoint; or that anyone can be a Shakespeare.”

I’m no Shakespeare, but James Jordan’s identification of the biblical “universals” and an explanation of biblical types has helped me enormously. The Bible matrix structure has also helped me enormously. They are typological “systematics.” It is this kind of grounding, like practising scales on a piano, that enables us to more easily identify abuses of typology — such as the claim that Mary is a “New Eve.” Dischordant notes can be used to great effect in great music, but it takes a practised musician to know when it is within a greater “harmony” and when it is not. This is beyond the basic scales.


Mary is the New Eve?

Mary is very clearly Old Covenant. She is a type of the woman with 12 stars (sons) as a crown, a fruitful tree in the garden. But Mary is only part of the picture. She typifies one facet of first century Judah and only one. There is also the cursed tree with only leaves and no fruit.

The Old Covenant people is typified by other women, too. What about Herodias, who, like Athaliah, like Jezebel, formed false alliances and executed the faithful?


Mary’s Womb as Holy of Holies

The Temple was still a Holy Place until the crucifixion, or even until Pentecost. At Pentecost, the glory moved from ‘Saul’ to ‘David’, from Jesus’ mother Mary to Mary freed from seven demons, filled with a new Spirit. If anyone is a type of the resurrected Israel — the Christian church — Mary Magdelene is!

Then the Holy of Holies womb of Judah deliberately became a tomb. Like Rome, Judah gilded her own merit and put it on a pedestal. It refused to partake of Jesus’ death and denied His resurrection. But it was a womb opened by Christ for the very purpose of having more children. This is where totus Christus comes in. Jesus is the head of a body, and the birth pangs He referred to concerned the body, the revelation of the sons of God.

With Israel being divided in two by the creative Word, the unfaithful defiantly became a separate woman, Hagar instead of Sarah, the liar of the two prostitutes in Solomon’s court, a harlot who rejected the head and then rejected the body as if they were unclean things. Like Athaliah, Judah wanted nothing to do with Covenant succession and would wipe out this new Messianic line (just as Rome attempted with Protestantism). She was holding onto her “irrevocable” gifts tooth and claw. In rebellion, she even gave birth to an army of false brothers, Judaisers (unholy Nazirite locusts), as contenders for the throne. Then, get this, to end her harlotry, God actually “commanded” her to be truly fruitful one last time. Because she had become a new Egypt, He called His children to “come out of her” so they might avoid her plagues. She died in childbirth and there was no resurrection.

The main point here is, the womb is opened miraculously for the very purpose of having more kids, raising an army. Even the ‘harlot’ side of Israel bore children as a synagogue for Satan. Eternal virginity has Onan and Ichabod written all over it, just like Rome. Perpetual virginity is not sinlessness. It is a whitewashed tomb, a gilded sarcophagus, full of dead men’s bones.

God wants Covenant heirs to take dominion. Why wouldn’t Joseph and Mary’s life typify this, like every other marriage in Israel? Jordan writes:

“[Concerning] typological ‘evidences’ for Mary as perpetual virgin, queen of heaven, etc. I assert here that these have never been the reasons for Marian doctrines, but that they have been brought into consideration by those who are already completely convinced of those doctrines because of their traditions. As the previous discussion demonstrated, I believe, there is no Biblical warrant for the notion that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus Christ. The Bible explicitly states that Joseph did not routinely have sex with her until after her purification.” [1]


Mary as the Ark of the Covenant?

Here is a perfect case of drive-by typology. Tom Riello writes:

“I am surprised that you do not think that perpetual virginity of Mary has no typological basis in the Old Testament. Here is a case where you use the Greek Orthodox against the Church of Rome [concerning papal apostolic succession] and yet here is a case where the Greek Church would say to you, ‘bite your tongue.’

Surely the travel narrative in Luke’s Gospel, of Mary traveling to Elizabeth in the Visitation, follows the pattern of the travel narrative of the Ark in 2nd Samuel 6. The comparisons are astounding and if Luke did not intend this, then the happy hand of providence surely made sure that he would do this. The early Church almost unanimously acclaimed Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant and with good reason, as the Ark under the Old Law carried the Word (Tablets), the Manna, and the budding rod of Aaron (as Hebrews informs us).

As I am confident you know, typology works from the lesser to the greater and if that is the case, and it is, then if the lesser covenant Ark was pure, holy and immaculate and not to be touched (Uzzah) then why should we should expect that under the New and greater covenant that the Ark is pure, holy and immaculate.” [2]

There was later  a comment about a Pope claiming this visit to Elizabeth was the first Eucharistic Procession! I’m afraid this is an instance of starting with a “doctrine” and then looking for typological evidence to support it. The exodus/return pattern is common throughout Scripture, but observing these leads us to see Christ as the Ark, not Mary. He is the Law incarnate (in a box), not Mary. He is the mediator that protects us from coming face to face with the Law of God, not Mary. He was the One speared so the good things hidden in the Ark could be poured out (Word, Sacrament, Government). He is the box carried on human legs. [3] His was the sinless blood that allows us to approach the heavenly throne of grace, not Mary’s. The whole thing is back to front. This is where the “eternal virginity” is imposed on the text.

The Catholics agree with typology being a process of lesser to greater. But Mary is a type of the faithful Old Covenant remnant. She is lesser, and as Jordan points out, we hear nothing of her after Acts 1. Like John the Baptist, she passed the baton on.


Rome’s Oedipus Complex

The Roman church fails to understand the difference between a mother and a bride, and how the process of Covenant succession flows through the OT. The RCC follows the church fathers’ error concerning Mary as New Eve and sees this as the foundation for the “unveiling” of the doctrine of the immaculate conception. But Mary isn’t the New Eve, the church is, so that whole construct is a very badly built house of cards. Mary is, if anything, the antitype of the Old Eve. Her Son begins a new creation, and creation comes before Eve does. Rome has this whole nutty Oedipus thing going. They want the infantile security of Mary’s breast when God calls them to grow up, to be as individuals men worthy of a bride’s affections, and corporately a bride who adores only her Husband! This is the process of Covenant succession. Mum doesn’t figure in the new equation. A man leaves his father and mother and begins a ‘new covenant.’ Mary grew old and was then under her Son’s care, under His New Covenant, brought into His new house.[4] The house of Jacob is absorbed by the new house of Joseph. The Tabernacle of David is absorbed by the Temple of Solomon, etc.

I hold the Bible as an authority over church tradition, including the fathers. Jordan and Leithart deftly identify the “universals” that we find in biblical types. That’s why I call this process “systematic typology.” By this I mean symbols contained in repeated structures, which allows us to verify the connections. I can say Judas being sent out from the last supper is both a type of the coming destruction of Judah and an antitype of the scapegoat because all three events follow the structure of the seven feasts in Lev. 23. None of these Marian claims meets such a criterion. They are one-offs and drive-bys. If we practice our scales enough on the actual biblical structures, aberrant ideas like Mariolatry stick out like a sore thumb, or in this case an extra limb! They rub the Bible’s fur the wrong way. 

I should say that an identification of biblical structure is also the reason I strongly disagree with Jordan and Leithart concerning infant(ile) baptism, but that’s another story. In my opinion, that’s where they also get fluffy and rely on tradition and read biblical types the wrong way.[5] That’s where they see typological “support” for an extrabiblical practice. This too rubs the Bible’s fur the wrong way. Mariolatry and paedobaptism get childhood and maturity round the wrong way, and I can demonstrate from the Scriptures that this is so. It is no one-off or drive-by type.

(As always, I may sound uncharitable and arrogant at times but I am not. I am dealing here with ideas and if I ever attack anything, it is ideas. I consider all these men brothers in Christ, and part of that relationship is the ability to be frank within the bounds of love. I am ever willing to be corrected on any doctrinal point as long as the Scriptures are our agreed standard over any tradition. Any idea can and should be tested without mercy as long as one’s ammunition is Scripture.)

See the discussion and comments at:
[1] Concerning BMEVMore Thoughts on BMEV and Protestants and BMEV.
[2] Discussion in comments under Ecclesial Deism.
[3] I was then accused of Nestorianism, but explained, “Seeing Christ as the Law written on tablets of flesh is not inevitably Nestorianism. I believe Jesus was/is in fact more truly human than you or I. His glory was temporarily veiled. The contents of the box were both as divine and as human as the box. Jesus was the Word, Sacrament and Government man. Is there a name like “Nestorianism” I can call the error of giving Mary the obvious symbolic divinity of the Ark? The Ark lid was a symbol of the throne of God (see Leithart Adding Mary into the mix is foreign to the Bible, whatever the fathers or church tradition says. So, yes, Mary’s journey was like the Ark’s journey, but so was every exodus throughout the OT (and my book outlines most of them). We don’t give this divinity to anyone else.”
[4] See Behold Your Mother.
[5] See Cutting Off Flesh By Water.

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5 Responses to “Mother of Invention”

  • Kelby Carlson Says:

    I’ve read some expositions of the New Eve (most notably in Neuhaus) and find them compelling if not wholly convincing. I’m sure you’re familiar with the argument, but I believe it goes something like this:

    1. Jesus is the “seed of the Woman” tha crushes Satan’s head. Eve was the original woman, making Mary a type of the original eve.

    2. Mary was the mother of Christ, who drew the church to himself at his resurrection. Eve is called the “mother of all the living” and those within the church are “alive”. THerefore another aspect of Mary as Eve.

    I understand your points (I think), but I’m also not totally convinced that their is no warrant for calling Mary a “new Eve”. Though i certainly agree with you on perpetual virginity.

  • Mike Bull Says:


    For sure – but Jesus is a new Adam and the church the new Eve (typified by Mary Magdalene). This is what I meant by Mary as mother being the antitype of old Eve: Eve and Mary bookend the Old Covenant. As you said, Mary is a type of the original Eve. But I do not believe she entered the New Covenant as a “new Eve.” She is the mother not the bride. I hope that makes sense.

    Re #2, she was the mother of all living, but she could only give birth to sinful men. God changed that with Christ and made the Old Covenant new. It is our unity with Him (as a corporate bride) that gives us true life. Therefore it is actually we who are the New Eve and have children.

    I believe this is linked to baptism also (sorry to harp on this!) Circumcision was about killing the bad offspring through the death of Christ. Now with a new Covenant head, credo-baptism is about entering the city He founded, the New Eve, as the nations bring their glory into her.

  • Victor Says:

    Hello Mike!

    I’m a student of typology – endlessly fascinating endeavor! – and am not and never have been Catholic myself. I would like to comment on your point about the Ark of the Covenant. (I just noticed that MS Word wants to capitalize “ark of the covenant”!)

    I understand that you recognize the many parallels between the “Visitation” account in Luke 1 and the Ark’s journey narrated in 2 Samuel 6. The cumulative effect of the many commonalities between them makes the typological connection impossible to be denied. I can’t help but recognize its validity.

    OTOH, I understand that you’re trying to say that in the specific context of Luke 1 the Ark should be interpreted as an image of Christ, not of Mary.

    I can see a link between the person of Christ and the Ark, but, in the precise context of Luke 1, it seems inescapable to me that the comparison is made between the Ark and the person of Mary the mother of Jesus. That’s the whole gist of the correlation between the stories of 2 Samuel and Luke.

    Each correspondence found between 2 Samuel 6 and Luke 1 makes a point that associates Mary and the Ark. For example (sorry for all caps since there aren’t any formatting options):

    2Sa 6:9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall THE ARK OF THE LORD come to me?
    Luk 1:43 And whence is this to me, that THE MOTHER OF MY LORD should come to me?

    2Sa 6:11 And THE ARK OF THE LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months.
    Luk 1:56 And MARY abode with her about three months.

    The parallel is perfect and exact. And it makes all the sense. Christ is the incarnate Word (Greek: Logos) of God. The tablets of the Law were the written Word (Hebrew: Davar) of God – hence the “decaLOGUE.” The typological correspondence is clear. The Ark held the written Word of God in stone just as Mary held the living Word of God in flesh inside her womb. Ark is a feminine noun in Greek and its capacity of receiving the Word inside coheres with the feminine overtones associated with quiescence and receptivity.

    Just like the Cloud of God’s Glory “overshadowed” (episkiazo, LXX) the Ark in the heart of the tabernacle (Exodus 40:35; Leviticus 16:2), the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” (episkiazo) Mary (Luke 1:35). The same rare Greek word is employed here.

    Another very rare Greek word used in the account is anaphoneo (Luke 1:42) Mary shows up and Elizabeth “cries” (anaphoneo) with a loud voice. The word appears only here in the entire NT. Where is it used in the Greek OT? ONLY when the Ark shows up! It appears but a few times, most especially in the parallel narrative of the Ark’s travel in Chronicles. Brenton’s translation of the LXX so renders it:

    1Ch 15:28 And all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of a horn, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, playing loudly (anaphoneo) on lutes and harps.

    1Ch 16:4 And he appointed before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, Levites to minister and lift up the voice (anaphoneo), and to give thanks and praise the Lord God of Israel. [It just occurred to me as I copy this that Elizabeth was a Levite…]

    The evidence seems overwhelming and incontrovertible. The comparison takes place between a box that had the great honor of accommodating the written Word and a woman that had the great honor of sheltering the Living Word.

    In Christ our Lord,

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Victor

    I appreciate your comments very much. The parallels between the Greek words used are extremely interesting.

    As I stated, the exodus/return pattern is frequent, and I certainly see these factors as providing extra support. Luke does similar things in Acts, also.

    Marys’ womb can also be considered a Holy of Holies as there are numerous parallels between womb and tomb in Scripture.

    Mary can also be considered a type of the Land (which is also feminine in Hebrew) made once again fruitful. (Notice that, as Israel, Jesus is also pictured as Land coming up out of the waters.)

    Where it goes off the rails is when Uzzah’s death is used to support Mary’s sinlessness, or this type is made the foundation for the eucharistic procession, or Mary is considered to be a permanent Holy of Holies when there is no obvious or typological support.

    Thanks for your interesting comments. I welcome any criticism and hope I can count on further input from you around here.

    Kind regards,

  • Victor Says:

    I noticed that you posted an entry on my observations! I’ll post more there: