Tuesday, December 7, 2010

RC (and OC) Hermeneutics and New Eve typology

In my last post, I mentioned that RC seems prone to a radical hermeneutic. This is in no case more evident than in Marian dogma. Here is one recent example of RCs falling over themselves looking for any support for the Immaculate Conception.

I have been having a discussion with an OC who, like several RCs with whom I have dialogued on the same topic, argues that Eve was a type of Mary. Now it seems obvious to me that the church, not Mary, is the helpmate to the last Adam in the same way woman/Eve was the helpmate to the first:

//…for the Christ to be the true second Adam, He must have a true bride with which to generate children in His image… Paul regards the church as Christ’s antitypical helpmate in Ephesians 5:21-33. It sounds obvious when one thinks about it, yet the implications are profound. It was no more good that Christ should bring about the goals of the dominion mandate – goals which His work alone could effect – than it was for the first Adam to attempt to do so. The church is woman in Genesis 1-2 (Isaiah 54:5-8, John 3:29), yet a woman who will no longer be seduced by Satan’s temptations (Revelation 21:2, cf. Ezekiel 16, Hosea). Paul’s revelation of the relationship between Christ and the church functions as an explanation of the ways in which they interact: Christ as head, church as body; Christ as authoritative, church as submissive. Believers are not to be static after salvation – in fact, it is not a stretch to suppose co-working with Christ is a means of conformity to His image, as such would reflect what would seem to be an appropriate inter-connectedness of biblical theology.// (link to original post)

Mary wasn't married to Christ. Mary isn't called the mother of believers (Galatians 4:26) - John 19:26-27 is an exceptionally poor proof-text on which to base such a claim. Mary doesn't spread the the gospel to the ends of the earth, fulfilling the garden-temple extension mandate by the believer-temple extension. The church is and does that.

But the bad arguments don't end there. From the website of the OC with whom I was speaking, we find typical OC-RC attempts to connect Mary-Eve:

1. Jesus called Mary "woman"; Adam's wife was called "woman"; therefore, Jesus was indicating Mary was the new Eve.

2. Woman entices Adam to sin on the seventh day of the first creation; Mary entices Jesus to perform a miracle on the seventh day after John proclaimed the Lamb of God had come; therefore, Mary is a better Eve than Mary.

On the other hand:

1. Jesus calls the Samaritan woman at the well "woman" - are RCs and OCs prepared to say that every time Jesus or the prophets address a woman as "woman," a typological connection to Adam's wife is intended? How ridiculous.

2. The numerological argument above may seem air-tight... However, the OC forgot to show Adam's wife tempted Adam on the seventh day, and he forgot to show that the new creation was inaugurated with John's proclamation rather than, say, Christ's crucifixion-baptism which tore the veil symbolizing our separation from God's presence.

At least he didn't argue that Genesis 3:15 referenced Mary (which is an assertion I have unfortunately encountered more than once).

I generally avoid writings posts which can seem to cast a shade over a group of people on the basis of select individuals within the group. But I can't help but note that the above sort of argumentation is representative of every RC and OC who has told me that Mary is the New Eve. This is just my experience, and I do realize that the fact I cannot account for how the adherents to such systems can actually believe what they write apart from the suggestion their system encourages a defensive-minded, radical hermeneutic does not imply there is no other answer, but if nothing else, hopefully some of these poorer arguments will be discarded.

UPDATE: TurretinFan guest hosted the 12/9/10 Dividing Line (link), on which he speaks at length on the RC arguments for Mary-New Eve typology, as well as its implications. He mentions some points I missed;. I had no idea that the RC catechism - a dogma-defining document - explicitly taught Mary is the New Eve. Another good point TFan makes: even if such a typology was valid (and the above should be sufficient to disprove that or, at least, prove that to speak dogmatically on a possible connection is absurdly presumptuous), RCs make eisegetical connections to suit their own doctrines. For instance, some RCs argue that since Eve was born without sin, so too Mary, if she is New Eve, must have been born without sin. But of course, Eve was taken from Adam's body whereas Jesus came from Mary's body, and this goes to show that to speak dogmatically about what connections between Mary and Eve must be true is arbitrary - if the relation between Eve's creation and Adam's (Adam -> Eve) differs from the relation between Mary's creation and Christ's (alleged new Eve -> new Adam), why should we not think that the creation of sinless Eve differs from the creation of Mary? And let us not forget that we are assuming that the typology is valid in the first place. Anyways, it was an interesting program and I recommend it.


Robert Hagedorn said...

Do a search: The First Scandal Adam and Eve.

Ryan said...

"The garden of Eden is the human body in the state of grace."

And exactly what support do you have for this hypothesis? I invite you to compare your utterly speculative allegorical interpretation with this.