Now, you might be asking yourself: “Just what is a ‘collective type’?” Simply put, it’s a number of narratives that share a common theme and theological motif, while differing in specific details (of course), and forming a cohesive typological unity. The collective type of the Trinity in the book of Genesis, beautifully, revolves around the theme of the marriage of one man to one woman, under very special circumstances, which occurs only three times in the book (cf. Gen. 2:18-25; 24 (which is also intrinsically a typological narrative of the Trinity); & 29:1-12). The three men in question are Adam, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). First, I’ll look at the individual narratives and their respective typological qualities, then I’ll tie them together.
Adam and Eve [Gen. 2:18-25]
Here encounter God and Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38b), in an interesting situation. God has decided to make Adam a helper comparable to him, but none could be found. So what does God do? He places his only son under a “deep sleep”, pierces his side, and from the contents thereof creates for him the perfect helpmeet who is his glory (1 Corinthians 11:7). The fact of Adam’s typological qualities are alluded to by Paul the apostle in Ephesians 5:28-32 , where he parallels the marriage of Adam and Eve with the relationship the Lord Jesus has to the Church. Perhaps more explicitly, however, John’s Gospel sequentially parallels the marriage of Adam and Eve in John 19:28-34 (Jesus’ dying or “falling asleep” & his side being pierced), and John 20:15-18 (where the resurrected Jesus and Mary are in a Garden, and Mary mistakes Jesus for being “the gardener” (which Adam, technically, was), but the two do not “cling” to each other).
The very first marriage narrative is a type of the marriage of the only begotten Son of God and His bride, brought into existence via His suffering, and brought to Him by His beloved Father. There are many details to further undergird such a typological interpretation, but I’m trying to make this brief in order to get to the bigger picture.
Isaac and Rebekkah [Gen. 24]
Genesis 24 is an intrinsically Trinitarian type in that all three Persons of the Godhead are typified. The narrative presents us with Abraham (the Father) sending out his best servant (the Holy Spirit) to find a bride (the Church) for his only beloved son who had been “figuratively” slain and resurrected (cf. Hebrews 11:17-19) (obviously, the Lord Jesus).
Jacob and Rachel [Gen. 29:1-12]
This type is beautiful. The blessed and exalted younger son (Christ) leaves the home of Isaac (the Father), going on a long journey to find a suitable bride (the Church). When Jacob, like Christ, rolls away the stone which covers the well, he gives water to Rachel’s sheep – just as Christ poured out the Holy Spirit after His resurrection (cf. John 7:37-39).
The Collective Type
So how do these three types fit together? Well, let’s look at the main typological figures of all three of these marriages narratives. While all three, and I should’ve pointed this out above, are intrinsically Trinitarian, they all have a particular person of the Trinity Whom they seem to give a little more emphasis to.
Genesis 2, for instance, shows God the Father actively creating/making/building (it would be interesting to see how what Greek word the Septuagint uses for the Hebrew word bânâh (built) used here) a wife for His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Father who is here emphasized in His love and sovereignty.
Genesis 24, on the other hand, gives typological stress to the Holy Spirit as He goes about and brings the Church to Christ, taking her from servitude to royalty, bringing glory to the Father and the Son.
Lastly, Genesis 29, again although intrinscially Trinitarian in its typology, gives emphasis to the favored Son of God, the Lord Jesus. He left his Father’s home in search of His bride. He alone rolled away the stone, when no other man could or would, covering the tomb that couldn’t hold Him, and poured out His Spirit upon His sheep.
The Trinitarian type, then, is the collective type of the Godhead working His eternal plan of salvation out. The type is immense and I’ve yet had time to fully flesh out the details of how every type interacts, but I hope to someday soon.
So to recap:
1. Gen. 2:18-25: The Father puts the Son to sleep, pierces His side, builds His church, and brings her to Christ.
2. Gen. 24: The Holy Spirit searches for the bride of Christ, seeking to bring glory to the Son and the Father.
3. Gen. 29:1-12: The Son leaves His celestial home in search of His bride. He rolls away the stone covering His tomb, and He pours out His Holy Spirit upon His people.
The Trinity is present individually, and collectively, to show that this is all a work of God – the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son.
*When I’m not so tired, I might post more elaborate articles on the intrinsic Trinitarian types in each of the above mentioned marriage narratives.
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