Adam and Eve and Human Origins


#1

When the Church says that we need to believe that Adam and Eve were actual people who commited the deed that led to original sin, how much of the story are we supposed to take as literal historical fact? Was the fruit tree an historical material entity? How as a Catholic should I approach theories founded on logic and sound archaeological evidence which suggest otherwise, such as the idea that Homo sapiens evolved seperately in different parts of the world, meaning there were many “first parents” and that not every human decended from the same man and woman?

This is a problem that I run into a lot, being an anthropology student. It’s always problematic for me when my faith and science overlap. I feel like one piece of undeniable scientific evidence could challenge all the faith I have in the infallibility of the Church or Christianity for that matter.

Also, I’ve already read the Catholic Answers article on evolution.


#2

Hi mcliffor…it’s my understanding that the Church only affirms that Adam and Eve are the first human parents, that they were created in the state of original grace, that they were tested by God and failing the test, lost the state of original grace for both themselves and all their progeny. The telling of this story in Genesis is understood as allegory. A literal interpretation is not demanded.

With regards to any archaeological evidence which suggests the evolution of mankind from many “first parents”, I believe the Church allows the possibilty that the human body “could have evolved” from lower animal forms but that at that point inwhich the human species truly became “man and woman” with a spiritual soul - capable of abstract thought - would have to have occured only in the first instance with God’s infusion of a spiritual soul into the bodies of Adam and Eve.

I’m sure others may know better about this issue than myself but science will never prove anything contrary to faith. It’s simply not within the realm of science to be able to do so.

Keep the Faith
jmt


#3

[quote=John Taylor]Hi mcliffor…it’s my understanding that the Church only affirms that Adam and Eve are the first human parents, that they were created in the state of original grace, that they were tested by God and failing the test, lost the state of original grace for both themselves and all their progeny. The telling of this story in Genesis is understood as allegory. A literal interpretation is not demanded.

With regards to any archaeological evidence which suggests the evolution of mankind from many “first parents”, I believe the Church allows the possibilty that the human body “could have evolved” from lower animal forms but that at that point inwhich the human species truly became “man and woman” with a spiritual soul - capable of abstract thought - would have to have occured only in the first instance with God’s infusion of a spiritual soul into the bodies of Adam and Eve.

I’m sure others may know better about this issue than myself but science will never prove anything contrary to faith. It’s simply not within the realm of science to be able to do so.

Keep the Faith
jmt
[/quote]

That’s also my understanding.


#4

'How as a Catholic should I approach theories founded on logic and sound archaeological evidence which suggest otherwise"

What makes you so sure its the evidence is sound? Have you ever tried examing both sides of the arugment instead of just the indoctrination of evolutionistic humanism that goes on in the schools?

I think the fundamentalists got it right this time. Genesis should be taken as literally only, or not at all. You can do your best to compromise the Bible to fit the fallible science of the day, or take the plain understanding of what is, by definition, an infallible book.

answersingenesis.org/


#5

M,

Just because evidence of humans has been found in widely separated areas doesn’t mean they evolved there.

To me, it means that civilization had evolved to the point that the people’s artifacts lasted long enough for us to dig them up.

What about the DNA evidence that showed we all had one common female ancestor? I read about it a long time ago; I don’t know whether it’s been refuted since, like so many things! But if it hasn’t been, I’d say that it “trumps” the archeological evidence.


#6

[quote=Kane]'How as a Catholic should I approach theories founded on logic and sound archaeological evidence which suggest otherwise"

What makes you so sure its the evidence is sound? Have you ever tried examing both sides of the arugment instead of just the indoctrination of evolutionistic humanism that goes on in the schools?

I think the fundamentalists got it right this time. Genesis should be taken as literally only, or not at all. You can do your best to compromise the Bible to fit the fallible science of the day, or take the plain understanding of what is, by definition, an infallible book.

answersingenesis.org/
[/quote]

The fundamentalists are not correct. Their way is to take the bible only at face value which would mean literally God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. The Catholic way is the contextual approach where we would study when, where, why, and by whom the book was written and conclude that Genesis 1 teaches religious truths and not precise scientific data.
There is of course history in the bible as well as parables, laws, poetry, songs and many other forms of writing each of which can teach religious truth in its own way.
This is part of a Catholic study course I am doing called “We Believe” and is cross referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which gives us what the Catholic Church believes about God and the meaning of life.


#7

Well, the “tree of life” and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9) sounds kind of metaphorical to me. When did the apple get such a bad press?


#8

I believe it was Christopher West who posited that Original Sin was sexual in nature. After Adam and Eve sinned, they covered their genitals. Why? Why did being naked mean their genitals were exposed instead of their hands and mouth. After all, if the sin was eating forbidden fruit, ISTM they would cover their hands and mouth. There was no concept of “nudity” before the sin. So where did the concept of nudity being exposure of the private parts come from?

ILO


#9

From the Catechism:

The senses of Scripture

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two *senses *of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."83

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

  1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.84

  2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.85

  3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.86

118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses: The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.87 119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."88

But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.89


#10

“The fundamentalists are not correct. Their way is to take the bible only at face value which would mean literally God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. The Catholic way is the contextual approach where we would study when, where, why, and by whom the book was written and conclude that Genesis 1 teaches religious truths and not precise scientific data.
There is of course history in the bible as well as parables, laws, poetry, songs and many other forms of writing each of which can teach religious truth in its own way.
This is part of a Catholic study course I am doing called “We Believe” and is cross referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which gives us what the Catholic Church believes about God and the meaning of life.”

They are quite correct. Do you have something wrong with the fact that God could have created the world in 6 days? Or are you a person of little faith? Reading the Bible with not a literal approach, but a plain understanding of what it contains is the only way. Excerpt from Answers in Genesis of what the Bible contains. :

" *Poetry—as in the Psalms, where the repetition or parallelism of ideas is in accordance with Hebrew ideas of poetry, without the rhyme (parallelism of sound) and metre (parallelism of time) that are important parts of traditional English poetry. This, by the way, is the reason why the Psalms can be translated into other languages and still retain most of their literary appeal and poetic piquancy, while the elements of rhyme and metre are usually lost when traditional Western poetry is translated into other languages.

*Parables—as in many of the sayings of Jesus, such as the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3–23), which Jesus Himself clearly states to be a parable and about which He gives meanings for the various items, such as the seed and the soil.

*Prophecy—as in the books of the last section of the Old Testament (Isaiah to Malachi).

*Letters—as in the New Testament epistles written by Paul, Peter, John, and others.

*Biography—as in the gospels.

*Autobiography/testimony—as in the book of Acts where the author, Luke, after narrating the Apostle Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus as a historical fact (Acts 9:1–19), then describes two further occasions when Paul included this conversion experience as part of his own personal testimony (Acts 22:1–21; 26:1–22).

*Authentic historical facts—as in the books of 1 and 2 Kings, etc."

And guess what the author of Genesis intended it to be? In context, it is simply meant to be taken as historical fact, nothing more nothing less.

God can not have used evolution to create us, because it begs the question where did evil come from? And what does Jesus redeem us from? Without a first Adam there is no need for a second Adam. Perhaps in the future the Church will admit it made another blunder just as it did in Galileo’s time.

Truth is just a click away:
answersingenesis.org/


#11

So you believe God inspired a bloke to write a historical account of creation?

There are three creation stories in the Bible, do you know all three? Which one is the correct one if they are literal?


#12

[quote=FightingFat]So you believe God inspired a bloke to write a historical account of creation?

There are three creation stories in the Bible, do you know all three? Which one is the correct one if they are literal?
[/quote]

Question 43- Was Moses the author of the Pentateuch?

                RS, 

Please put on your theologian hat.

Do you believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch?

If so, would that include the account of his own death?

RB

R. Sungenis: Robert, yes, Moses wrote the Pentateuch. There are several places in the Pentateuch in which he indicates he is the author. This would not be true of his obituary, however. That would have been written by Joshua. All the Fathers agreed to this. The only dissenter was Origen.

Those who posit that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses are modern liberal scholars following the tradition started by the Protestant liberal Julius Wellhausen. To them, for example, they believe Genesis 1 was written by some priest coming back from Babylonian exile around 500 BC in order to invigorate the returning Jews with a sense of God’s power; while Genesis 2 was written by some other Jewish scribe around 1400 BC for his own purposes. They do all this because they simply don’t believe that there could be any divine help in writing these accounts, but only wrote for a political or cultural agenda they had in mind. They simply dismiss the places that Moses indicates he was the author.


#13

[quote=ILO]I believe it was Christopher West who posited that Original Sin was sexual in nature. After Adam and Eve sinned, they covered their genitals. Why? Why did being naked mean their genitals were exposed instead of their hands and mouth. After all, if the sin was eating forbidden fruit, ISTM they would cover their hands and mouth. There was no concept of “nudity” before the sin. So where did the concept of nudity being exposure of the private parts come from?

ILO
[/quote]

It’s my understanding that when Adam and Eve lost their state of original grace from God - the tension between bodily desires and right reason surfaced and began to war in their souls:

…but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Romans 7:23)

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed freedom from inordinate desires which means they didn’t experience lust but rather their sexual faculties were completely under their control which they could call upon as an act of will - governed by right reason - instead of what we now experience as “concupisence”

newadvent.org/cathen/04208a.htm

So the reason that Adam and Eve “felt their nakedness” was that - with the Fall - sexual desire was no longer completely under the control of right reason, rather the body’s appetites were now at war against right reason, and so to gain some control Adam and Eve covered their nakedness.

I hope this makes sense.

Keep the Faith
jmt


#14

[quote=Ruthie]M,

Just because evidence of humans has been found in widely separated areas doesn’t mean they evolved there.

To me, it means that civilization had evolved to the point that the people’s artifacts lasted long enough for us to dig them up.

What about the DNA evidence that showed we all had one common female ancestor? I read about it a long time ago; I don’t know whether it’s been refuted since, like so many things! But if it hasn’t been, I’d say that it “trumps” the archeological evidence.
[/quote]

I was going to bring up this DNA evidence as well. I, too, can’t recall the source(s) from which I heard this. But I do recall that the (theory/evidence?) DNA could be traced back to a female in Africa, they called her the “African Eve.” This was in a secular publication. Does anyone else have sources?

Peace.


#15

mcliffor,

Okay, I did a google search on “Afrcian Eve”. There are thousands of articles. This one, being from an archeological magazine, I thought would interest you:

archaeology.org/9609/abstracts/dna.html

Peace.


#16

with regards to the true interpretation of the Genesis account… I realize that many non-Catholic christian denominations dogmatically declare that it MUST be understood literally but since I don’t recognize their authority to dogmatically declare anything infallibly pertaining to that Faith “once for all entrusted to the saints” which would bind a believer in conscience - does any catholic here contend that the Magesterium has dogmatically declared “de fide” that the Genesis creation account MUST be understood either one way or another? Are we not free to consider both positions?

Keep the Faith
jmt


#17

The part of the creation story we must believe is that there was one man and one woman created by God, that sinned (the Original sin) resulting in the fallen nature of the entire human race.

see
usccb.org/catechism/quizzes/os7.htm

for one explanation.

Peace.


#18

[quote=Kane]“The fundamentalists are not correct. Their way is to take the bible only at face value which would mean literally God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. The Catholic way is the contextual approach where we would study when, where, why, and by whom the book was written and conclude that Genesis 1 teaches religious truths and not precise scientific data.
There is of course history in the bible as well as parables, laws, poetry, songs and many other forms of writing each of which can teach religious truth in its own way.
This is part of a Catholic study course I am doing called “We Believe” and is cross referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which gives us what the Catholic Church believes about God and the meaning of life.”

They are quite correct. Do you have something wrong with the fact that God could have created the world in 6 days? Or are you a person of little faith? Reading the Bible with not a literal approach, but a plain understanding of what it contains is the only way. Excerpt from Answers in Genesis of what the Bible contains. :

" *Poetry—as in the Psalms, where the repetition or parallelism of ideas is in accordance with Hebrew ideas of poetry, without the rhyme (parallelism of sound) and metre (parallelism of time) that are important parts of traditional English poetry. This, by the way, is the reason why the Psalms can be translated into other languages and still retain most of their literary appeal and poetic piquancy, while the elements of rhyme and metre are usually lost when traditional Western poetry is translated into other languages.

*Parables—as in many of the sayings of Jesus, such as the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3–23), which Jesus Himself clearly states to be a parable and about which He gives meanings for the various items, such as the seed and the soil.

*Prophecy—as in the books of the last section of the Old Testament (Isaiah to Malachi).

*Letters—as in the New Testament epistles written by Paul, Peter, John, and others.

*Biography—as in the gospels.

*Autobiography/testimony—as in the book of Acts where the author, Luke, after narrating the Apostle Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus as a historical fact (Acts 9:1–19), then describes two further occasions when Paul included this conversion experience as part of his own personal testimony (Acts 22:1–21; 26:1–22).

*Authentic historical facts—as in the books of 1 and 2 Kings, etc."

And guess what the author of Genesis intended it to be? In context, it is simply meant to be taken as historical fact, nothing more nothing less.

God can not have used evolution to create us, because it begs the question where did evil come from? And what does Jesus redeem us from? Without a first Adam there is no need for a second Adam. Perhaps in the future the Church will admit it made another blunder just as it did in Galileo’s time.

Truth is just a click away:
answersingenesis.org/
[/quote]

Your profile says you are Catholic. You must then accept the Church’s teaching and not the fundamentalists.


#19

By training I am an anthropologist. I try to keep up with my field. I think the verdict is still out with mitochondrial Eve but that is a debate for science. What I can tell you as a Catholic and as an anthropologist, something happened about 50,000 years ago. There were anatomically correct homo sapiens sapiens (we humans) living before this time. After this time there is an explosion in creativity and for the first time ever there are artifacts that clearly have religious meaning which suggests belief in an afterlife. What separates us from the animal kingdom? Our immortal souls. God breathed on Adam and Eve and gave them souls. It is that life’s breath from God that separates us from the animal kingdom. Adam and Eve are not simply primates. Adam and Eve are new creations - they have souls. Science can only describe (and that inaccurately at best) the conditions of the world a point A, B, or C. Science will never be able to prove possession of a “soul”. That is a matter of faith.

Something happened back then and I don’t think it was the black monolith of 2001 A Space Odyssey.


#20

[quote=nobody]I was going to bring up this DNA evidence as well. I, too, can’t recall the source(s) from which I heard this. But I do recall that the (theory/evidence?) DNA could be traced back to a female in Africa, they called her the “African Eve.” This was in a secular publication. Does anyone else have sources?
Peace.
[/quote]

I believe the reference /source was given by someone in a recent thread on this same subject: Were Adam and Eve real people or something like that?


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