You know what you don’t except to hear when you listen to a podcast from Bethel Church, a charismatic megachurch with its own School for Supernatural Ministry?
St Irenaeus’ theology of Mary as the New Eve.
A friend sent me a podcast on Christianity as the “Original Women’s Movement”. But my favourite bit was at the beginning when a a prose poem was read. It was by a woman called Christianna Reed Maas, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I just need to be reminded that who I am – as woman – is a precious and powerful thing.
This does that.
My willingness to carry life is the revenge, the antidote, the great rebuttal of every murder, every abortion, and every genocide. I sustain humanity. Deep inside of me, life grows. I am death’s opposition.
I have pushed back the hand of darkness today. I have caused there to be a weakening tremor among the ranks of those set on earth’s destruction. Today a vibration that calls angels to attention echoed throughout time. Our laughter threatened hell today. […]
It is finally quiet, but life stirs inside of me. Gaining strength, the pulse of life sends a constant reminder to both good and evil that I have yielded myself to Heaven and now carry its dream. No angel has ever had such a privilege, nor any man. I am humbled by the honor. I am great with destiny.
I birth the freedom fighters. In the great war, I am a leader of underground resistance. I smile at the disguise of my troops, surrounded by a host of warriors, destiny swirling, invisible yet tangible, and the anointing to alter history. Our footsteps marking land for conquest, we move undetected through the common places. […]
I am a woman. I am a mother. I am the keeper and sustainer of life here on earth. Heaven stands in honor of my mission. No one else can carry my call. I am the daughter of Eve. Eve has been redeemed. I am the opposition of death. I am a woman.”
Awesome, don’t you think?
But here’s why it’s extra awesome. St Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 150 – 202 AD) was the first theologian to describe Mary, the mother of Jesus as the New Eve. The title parallels Christ’s as the New Adam. (cf. Rom 5) The Bible is clear that in both the Fall and the Redemption, the ultimate responsibility is on the Man.
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Co 15:22)
But in both, the Woman facilitates this, Eve by saying “Yes” to the serpent, and taking the fruit. Mary by saying “Yes” to the angel, and conceiving the fruit of her womb, Christ.
In that sense, Mary facilitates our salvation, and it’s why St Irenaeus, all the way back in the 2nd Century, called her “the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race.”
“It was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” (Against Heresies, III, 22)
It makes sense when you think about it.
If a woman precipitated the Fall, it is only fitting that she play some small role in bringing about Redemption, her own and the whole world’s. Because the fact is that Mary could have not believed the word of God, just like her mother Eve did.
But she didn’t. She believed. She chose to believe the Word of God, to bear life, and to play her role in defeating Satan.
The remarkable thing is that all of us women participate in Mary’s “Yes” when we chose to live by faith, and trust in the Lord. We follow our new mother in faith, not Eve who sinned, but Mary who believed. The name Eve means “mother of the living”, (Gen 3:20) but the great truth is that now, in Christ, Mary – His own flesh and blood mother – has become the mother of all those who live in Christ. The poem highlights this because it could equally be applied to any mother, to any woman, or indeed to any one trusting in the promises of God.
We were daughters of Eve but now, thanks be to God, Eve has been redeemed, and we are, in Christ, daughters of God and of Mary. It’s a pretty sweet deal. In fact, you know that saying, “I am woman, hear me roar.” Well, in light of all this it’s looking a bit weak really Myself, I prefer a much more evocative, if not downright crunchy, version.
“I am woman, hear me crush Satan’s puny little snake head.”
(For a much better (I really can’t stress how much better) summary of all this, check out the 6 Biblical Reasons Mary is the New Eve.)