"Q. How can you regard Adam and Eve as only symbolic people and still accept the doctrine of original sin?
The Church’s teachings on original sin (which Fundamentalists by and large accept) were defined before we understood much about our origins; it was inevitable that the early Fathers assert a monogenic (two-parent only) context for their teaching. Evolution suggests a polygenic (multiple-parent) origin and a gradual development of human characteristics. Modern theologians have therefore been faced with two alternatives regarding original sin: (1) condemn the theory of evolution while clinging to a scientifically erroneous view of nature, or (2) try to explain how polygenism can be squared with original sin.
The Church’s initial response was to reject evolution, partly because some of the early evolutionists espoused an atheistic interpretation of the theory. As scientists continued to amass a wide variety of data strongly confirming the evolutionary hypothesis, theologians began working more freely on the polygenic alternative. Although no polygenic explanations have been given full affirmation, theologians have pointed out that God may well have chosen only one male and one female out of a humanoid population to bear the consciousness of his image and likeness. In that view, the Adam and Eve story is reaffirmed; their sin spreads to affect others with whom they and their offspring eventually interbreed. Other explanations posit a gradual development of spiritual consciousness with a corresponding awareness of moral freedom. In this view, freedom was misused by one or perhaps many human beings, with the result that eventually we have all been affected and left short of the marks of innocence, justice, and immortality for which we were destined."
The last interpretation to me seems the best, but once again, this seems to contradict Original Sin as the Church views it. He in the previous paragraph DOES admit belief in Adam and Eve as prototypical figures for the rest of humanity (as symbols), however. I am confused … to say the least.