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Typology is a system or method by which people or things can be classified as a particular type. With most typologies, schemes are used to order multiple types in relational manner, and commonly in a hierarchical manner. The word typology is derived from the two Greek terms τύπος (typo) meaning "type" and λόγος (logos) meaning "word." Typologies therefore involve the study of types of almost any nature.

Disciplinary uses

The term has at least four distinct uses in the fields listed below.


Biological typology is the concept that organisms exist as distinct types with each member of a type possessing certain essential features or themes of the archetype (a hypothetical and highly generalized representative of its type). According to the typological model, members of a type are simply variation of this underlying theme, and are fundamentally invariant or immutable. As such, the concept is diametrically opposed and irreconcilable with macroevolution or the general theory of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin.(Denton, p94)

The typological model of nature was adhered to by nearly all of the great biologists and naturalists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including the founding fathers of the modern disciplines of comparative anatomy, taxonomy, and paleontology.(Denton, p99) For example, Louis Agassiz summed-up the feeling of many biologists in the preface of his book, Methods of Studying in Natural History, published just four years after Darwin's book The Origin of Species.

It is my belief that naturalists are chasing a phantom, in their search after some material gradation among created beings, by which the whole Animal Kingdom may have been derived by successive developments from a single germ, or from a few germs.(Denton, p94)

Other notable adherents of the typology model included Carolus Linnaeus who is the founder of modern taxonomy, and Georges Cuvier who virtually founded the fields of vertebrate paleontology and comparative anatomy and was a strong proponent of catastrophism. Richard Owen, who coined the term dinosaur and produced a classification system for reptiles was also a typologist, as was the geologist Charles Lyell who is best known for his book Principles of Geology.(Denton, p99)

The concept of typology is closely analogous to the modern Creation Biology discipline called Baraminology, which views organisms as created in a number of separate baramins (kinds or “types”).


Theology denotes the authorial use of allusion employing ectypal figures or conditions to represent an archetype. Many use typology to interpret some characters and stories of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) as allegories foreshadowing the New Testament.

The types of events and people in the Bible can easily be organized by typology in attempt to draw parallels to later events in the New Testament. Most of these types refer in one way or another to the life, work and ministry of Jesus. Extensive Bible study will reveal a huge number of types that help to show the overall divine authorship of the Bible.

Our authority for using typology is found in a number of biblical examples of its use, such as John 3:14 and1Corinthians 10:6,11 .

Biblical types

Abraham and Isaac
  • Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac is a type of God the Father's giving his son to be sacrificed for our sake
  • Isaac's submission to his father's will typifies Jesus submission to God the Father
  • The ram which was substituted for Isaac is a type of Christ's substitutionary sacrifice
  • Moses represents the law, whereas Joshua represents salvation through grace. Moses was not permitted to enter the promised land, whereas Joshua led the people into the land.
  • Moses lifted up the bronze serpent on a pole so that the people could look to it and be healed. Bronze is a symbol of contact with sin. In the same way Jesus was made sin for us and lifted up on the cross, and all who look to him will be saved.
  • Just as Jonah was "buried" in the belly of the sea creature for three days and nights, so Jesus was to be in the tomb for three days and nights.


Archaeology is the systematic organization of artifacts into types on the basis of shared attributes.


The discipline of Anthropology is the study of cultures and the different forms in which humans structure their societies.


Typology should not be used to go beyond what is taught explicitly. It is intended for illustration, not for originating doctrine.


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See Also