One of the many doctrines of the Romanists that finds no place in the Word of God is that of Mary as the “New Eve.” This erroneous teaching rests upon a number of different premises which are all false and clearly contradict the Scriptures. I list them below, and refute them.
1. Through One Woman’s Disobedience?
The first of these false premises is the idea that as sinless Eve brought sin into the world through an act of disobedience, so sinless Mary brought righteousness into the world through an act of obedience. Romanists claim that there is a “beautiful symmetry” between Eve and Mary, just as there is a beautiful symmetry between Adam and Christ. They say that this symmetry can be seen in the fact that as Eve brought sin into the world by an act of disobedience, so Mary brought salvation/righteousness into the world by an act of obedience.
The problem the Romanist faces, however, is that Scripture does not teach that it was Eve who brought sin into the world. Scripture explicitly declares that the head of every woman is man; therefore, Eve was under the headship of Adam; therefore, Adam was Eve’s, as well as all subsequent humanity’s (of course, excluding Christ whose Head is God the Father),1 federal representative. Paul explains to us that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”2 By this one verse, Paul has forever demolished the foundation of the supposed “beautiful symmetry” between Eve and Mary, for responsibility for the entrance of sin into the world, as well as its consequence of spiritual/physical death and the spread of sin and death to all men (i.e. all humans), is attributed to the federal representative, viz. Adam, not Eve.
This should be enough to convince the rational soul that the Romanist doctrine is plainly false. However, they will, no doubt, insist that they are not in the wrong, that their belief is not irrational, and that it is Christians who are in the wrong. Very well, let’s accept their doctrine as true, for the sake of argument, that Mary is the “New Eve” because just as Eve brought sin into the world by an act of disobedience, so Mary brought salvation/righteousness into the world by an act of obedience.
We will, for the sake of argument, agree.
However, we cannot simply end our discussion of this supposed symmetry with Mary’s role as federal representative. We must push to see if this parallel actually holds any weight, or if it is a false doctrine. So we ask the inevitable:
If Christ is the Last Adam and Mary is the New Eve, then would this not mean that Mary is the wife of her Son?
The Romanists are probably offended at such questions, but we are simply taking their doctrine seriously and working out its logical implications. If Mary is the antitype of Eve, as Christ is the antitype of Adam, then Mary is the wife of her own Son. But if Mary and Christ are wedded, as their supposed symmetrical parallels were, then Christ and Mary are both guilty of heinous crimes against God. For if Mary is the New Eve to the Last Adam, it follows that she is the incestuous bride of her Son. And if her Son is involved in incest, then He is guilty of sin.
Moreover, if Mary is the New Eve to the Last Adam, then she is necessarily the bride of Christ; yet Christ already has one bride, viz. the Church, and to have more than one wife is sin; therefore, if Mary is the New Eve, then she is the incestuous and adulterous bride of her own Son. Please note that I draw out the implications of the false doctrines of Romanism. I take no pleasure in even saying these things, but I must say them. I don’t believe that Romanists believe that Mary is wedded to her own Son. My point is simple: If Adam is the Last Adam and Mary is the New Eve, then, in order for the parallel to even mean anything, they must be wedded to one another. I understand that the conclusion is shocking, blasphemous, and is not even entertained by Roman Catholics. However, there is no logical reason why they do not believe this to be the case. Romanism arbitrarily has assigned a role and function to Mary that indicts her and Christ of heinous sins.
Following the Romanist’s train of thought, it goes without saying that if Mary is the New Eve to the Last Adam, then not only Mary but Christ as well are both sinners. But it is Mary’s sinfulness that is evidenced in the fact that she needed as Savior,3 while Christ ever remains eternally sinless. Therefore, the notion that Mary is the New Eve must be rejected as false.
[There are Romanist attempts to justify this heinous error, see here for instance.
Reformed apologist Turretinfan has helpful some resources dealing with different aspects of this Roman Catholic dogma:
2. The Church Has Only One Mother
The second of these false premises is the idea that Mary is the “mother of the church.” Turning to Galatians 4:26, the apostle Paul states: “…the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” We note firstly that the mothership of the church is not ascribed to Mary but to the Jerusalem above. Secondly, we note that this mothership is not literal but figurative based on an allegorical interpretation of the Abrahamic narratives contained in Genesis 16-17 & 21-22. Mary is not the mother of the church; the Jerusalem above is our mother. Mary was a lowly young woman who received grace from God through faith in His promised Messiah, her Lord God and Savior.
At this point, the devoted Mariolater might interject by claiming that
“Mary said yes to God! It was by her obedience to God’s command that we have been given a Savior, Christ the Lord! How can you diminish her importance?!”
To this we ask a simple question:
Where is Mary shown to “say yes” to God? Was it by Mary’s one act of obedience that Christ was brought into the world?
Where in the Scriptures do we see God commanding Mary to be the mother of Christ?
The answer is: Nowhere.
The words of the annunciation given in Luke 1:26-38 contain one imperative and it is this: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”4
Contrary to what the Romanists teach, this is in no way, shape, or form equivalent to a command from God for Mary to be the one who bears the Messiah. Rather, the imperative that comes from the angel is preceded and succeeded by indicative statements.
We note that the angel says:
(i.)the Lord is with you
(ii.)Do not be afraid
(iii.)you have found favor with God
(iv.)you will conceive in your womb
(v.)you will bear a Son
(vi.)you will name Him Jesus.
Mary is the passive agent in (i.), (iii.), (iv.), & (v.). Mary is not commanded to “say yes to God;” Mary is commanded to not be afraid. Why? Because she was afraid.
Lastly, even though it appears to be the case that Mary is the active agent in (vi.), we learn from Matthew’s account that the command to name the baby “Jesus” was given to Joseph, for it is written:
“She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus…”5
“And [Joseph] called His name Jesus.”6
It is pure mythology, then, to say that it was by Mary’s obedience that Christ came into the world, for as we have just proven: Mary was the passive recipient of Divine favor, i.e. Divine grace. The one command she received was this: “Do not be afraid.”
3. If Mary is the “Queen of Heaven,” Then She is Not a Perpetual Virgin
In the third and final place, the Romanist bases his false belief on a tortured interpretation of Revelation 11:19-12:6. Now regarding the abuse of this passage, one wonders how well the Romanists think out their doctrines, for if their interpretation of this selection of verses is correct, then their Marian edifice, once again, crumbles at the very foundations.
Note that the Romanists make a connection between the ark of the covenant and the woman mentioned in these verses. However, there is NO exegetical link between the two that would warrant an identification of the former with the latter. In other words, the text of Scripture must be irreparably mangled by the Romanists in order to support their interpretation.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that Mary is signified by the woman in this pericope of Scripture who gives birth to the Messiah. If this is so, then we must ask:
Why does the Holy Spirit identify this woman as a sinner by informing us that “she was…crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth”?7
“Birth pains” and “the agony of giving birth” are noted as part of the curse of God upon women because of Eve’s sin. For the Lord tells the woman:
“I will multiply your pains in childbearing”
“in pain you shall bring forth children.”8
A possible objection may be raised from the fact that Christ, although He was sinless, was a man just like us, suffering the effects of the fall and eventually dying. What this objection fails to note is that Christ became sin for us.9 In other words, Christ’s experience of the effects of the Fall are Substitutionary. In fact, His fulfillment of the Law requires that this be the case. Mary, on the other hand, was not our substitute. If Mary was without taint or stain of original sin, she had to be free from the effects of the Fall; but if Rev 11:19-12:6 is about Mary, then it infallibly identifies her as a sinner.
Moreover, if Mary is the woman of Revelation 12, and the birth of the Child is not apocalyptic imagery but a literalistic record of the birth of Christ, then does it not follow that Mary did not remain a perpetual virgin? For we are told that after she had been assumed into, well, the wilderness (not heaven), she reappeared on the earth to be delivered from the serpent’s persecution. And then we are told that:
“the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.”10
If the Roman Catholic wants to see Mary in this passage, he must deny the dogma of her perpetual virginity, immaculate conception, and her perpetual sinlessness.
If, on the other hand, the Romanist wants to continue to cling to his error, then he is under obligation to deny that Revelation 11:19-12:6 teaches what he thinks it does about Mary. And he must admit that his dogma finds no place in the Word of God.
Soli Deo Gloria
1 Cf. 1 Cor 11:3
2 Ro 5:12
3 Cf. Luke 1:47
4 Luke 1:30
5 Matt 1:21
6 Matt 1:25b
7 Rev 12:3
8 Cf. Gen 3:16b
9 Cf. 2 Cor 5:21
10 Rev 12:17