Adam and Eve question

How would I answer a guestion addressed to me by a co-worker, who is by the way a former Catholic, on Adam and Eve being our descents. She worded it as how can they be our descents if they only had two sons and no daughters? How can we have so many nationalities or ethnic groups?

I found a really good site explaining one theory. And it makes complete sense.

I wish I could remember the site… To put it simple, it theorises that Adam and Eve were given souls when they gained human-like intelligence, such as a realisation of self or something.

Adam gained a soul first and learned the word ego (me). He then kept gesturing to himself saying ‘ego’, but no-one understood. Eventually, he met a woman who understood, pointing to herself and saying ‘ego’. Eve then received a soul. Adam then named himself, saying ‘ego Adam’. Eve caught on and said ‘Ego Eve’. It could have been that they received a soul first and then gained intelligence, but I can’t remember.

(skipping a bit)

Then they look at the sun and give it a name. Some how with this they begin to realise that there is a big Ego and is good. Later they realise that if there’s a good Ego, there must be a bad one and so on…

At some point, it explains about the vanishing from the garden and how they mate with other “humans”? At some point, the others gain souls.

Then came the time of Noah and those who hadn’t receive souls began to fight over food shortages etc. The ice age came and so on from there.

This is really badly summarised and I probably got a lot wrong, but it’s so well written and really gets you thinking. I’ll try find the link though.

Genesis doesn’t state that Adam and Eve had ONLY two sons and no daughters. In fact, Genesis 5:4 says that Adam had “other sons and daughters.” It says that Adams lifetime was 930 years. That’s time enough for a lot of sons and daughters!

Because the Bible does not name ALL of the children Adam & Eve, does not eliminate the fact that in their very, very long life times, they had many, many children. For reasons that only GOD knows, the names of their two sons, have been provided instead of the complete geneology of their family - which is continuing to grow with you and I and our children etc.

Can anyone else, like a theologian, give a true biblical answer.

I thought the Catholic Church was okay with the idea of evolution and that the Adam and Eve story was symbolic rather than historical?

If you mean what science teaches about evolution I don’t think the church is ok with that. Now what you said about symbolic I think, but I’m not sure, you might be right. Can anyone help us out please?

St Augustine - I think this fits a description of a theologian.
Adam and Eve had both sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). Because there were no human beings except those born of Adam and Eve, sibling marriages were a necessity. St. Augustine says,

As, therefore, the human race, subsequently to the first marriage of the man who was made of dust, and his wife who was made out of his side, required the union of males and females in order that it might multiply, and as there were no human beings except those who had been born of these two, men took their sisters for wives,—an act which was as certainly dictated by necessity in these ancient days as afterwards it was condemned by the prohibitions of religion . . . and though it was quite allowable in the earliest ages of the human race to marry one’s sister, it is now abhorred as a thing which no circumstances could justify.

*(The City of God XV.16)

If you mean what science teaches about evolution I don’t think the church is ok with that. Now what you said about symbolic I think, but I’m not sure, you might be right.

Church Position on Adam, Eve and Evolution
Catholics are not allowed to see the Adam and Eve story as a symbol. Although the language used is figurative, the Church teaches that there was a real man and woman who committed the Original Sin.

God Bless

Adam and Eve were our first parents. They had many sons and daughters. Only a few were mentioned.

The Book of Jubiliees states that Cain married his twin sister Avan. Jubilees is worth reading.

Buffalo, what is your expertise? Reason for my questioning is that I want to be sure I’m repeating correct doctrine to my co-worker.

Not to be a pedant, but we are the 'descendants" (not ‘descents’) of Adam and Eve and they are our ANCESTORS. Not our ‘descents’.

If your coworker (or you) are not native English speakers I totally understand the confusion and I absolutely mean no disrespect. But it is always better when correct words are used so that discussion of meanings can be absolutely clear.


A common idea but the Church declares Adam and Eve as the parents of all human beings.


St Augustine: City of God.

Chapter 16.— Of Marriage Between Blood-Relations, in Regard to Which the Present Law Could Not Bind the Men of the Earliest Ages.

As, therefore, the human race, subsequently to the first marriage of the man who was made of dust, and his wife who was made out of his side, required the union of males and females in order that it might multiply, and as there were no human beings except those who had been born of these two, men took their sisters for wives—an act which was as certainly dictated by necessity in these ancient days as afterwards it was condemned by the prohibitions of religion. For it is very reasonable and just that men, among whom concord is honorable and useful, should be bound together by various relationships; and one man should not himself sustain many relationships, but that the various relationships should be distributed among several, and should thus serve to bind together the greatest number in the same social interests. Father and father-in-law are the names of two relationships. When, therefore, a man has one person for his father, another for his father-in-law, friendship extends itself to a larger number. But Adam in his single person was obliged to hold both relations to his sons and daughters, for brothers and sisters were united in marriage. So too Eve his wife was both mother and mother-in-law to her children of both sexes; while, had there been two women, one the mother, the other the mother-in-law, the family affection would have had a wider field. Then the sister herself by becoming a wife sustained in her single person two relationships, which, had they been distributed among individuals, one being sister, and another being wife, the family tie would have embraced a greater number of persons. But there was then no material for effecting this, since there were no human beings but the brothers and sisters born of those two first parents. Therefore, when an abundant population made it possible, men ought to choose for wives women who were not already their sisters; for not only would there then be no necessity for marrying sisters, but, were it done, it would be most abominable. For if the grandchildren of the first pair, being now able to choose their cousins for wives, married their sisters, then it would no longer be only two but three relationships that were held by one man, while each of these relationships ought to have been held by a separate individual, so as to bind together by family affection a larger number. For one man would in that case be both father, and father-in-law, and uncle to his own children (brother and sister now man and wife); and his wife would be mother, aunt, and mother-in-law to them; and they themselves would be not only brother and sister, and man and wife, but cousins also, being the children of brother and sister. Now, all these relationships, which combined three men into one, would have embraced nine persons had each relationship been held by one individual, so that a man had one person for his sister, another his wife, another his cousin, another his father, another his uncle, another his father-in-law, another his mother, another his aunt, another his mother-in-law; and thus the social bond would not have been tightened to bind a few, but loosened to embrace a larger number of relations.

Excuse me?

Certainly I have no wish to ever be rude. I can’t understand how you could have thought my post was rude in any way. Would you please explain rather than simply ‘slapping my face’? Thank you.

In reading the Bible, we are to listen to the guidance of the Church, which states that we must be closely attuned to the purpose of the original human writers.

Genesis is a complicated book because there is evidence of so many pieces of stories being merged together. This is more clearly understood in analyzing the Hebrew, rather than English, for example.

In this sense, we certainly don’t have all the details of life in Eden and outside of Eden, of Adam and Eve. And, this is understood to define the boundaries of what the writing is supposed to do for us.

And, we ought to take into consideration, which is very difficult in the case of Genesis, to figure out what the readers or listeners would have understood both from what was said and from what was not said.

One comment alluded to already, is that incest was not expressly forbidden until a much later time, although an awareness of the prohibition of incest can be sensed in some of the later parts of Genesis.

There are many issues with Genesis that the text itself more or less brings out, but serious scholarly research brings out many more issues.

for example, why did God feel justified in nearly wiping out all mankind? Jewish commentaries suggest that there was a non-documented covenant that had been violated on a widespread basis, that resulted in this divine judgment and punishment.

another example, the repetition of certain Hebrew words periodically splits Genesis into twelve parts. The number twelve is significant in that it is the same as the number of tribes of Israel. There’s not a basis for saying much more, so the division of the text may not be highlighted in your average study bible. This point may not seem so significant in terms of its apparent immediate meaning. But, it is evidence of the final editing of Genesis which was done to put the book into the form that we have it today.

Another observation about Genesis has to do with all the different names of God which occur there, along with some unique place names – neither of these are found consistently in the rest of the Bible.

To this point, a previous poster has cited where the text talks about the other sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, so the OP is resolved in the Bible itself.

In a more general sense, it would be wrong to read too much into events that are seemingly recorded in a certain order of time. Jewish scholars have noted for centuries that events are not always reported in the Bible in the necessary order required by logic.
So, the placement of daughters in Chap Five of Genesis may be misleading into the thought that they came along later. The general rule is, we don’t know.

My intention was to say it with one word. I always struggled with English grammer. Was afraid of being corrected again. If my grammer is crude so what just let it go…everyone else did.

We don’t know? The Church teaches that we do, in fact, know. Biblical scholars have put a lot of time into this and the Church has issued documents about this. Adam and Eve - two individuals - sinned. That is why Jesus Christ was born.


The Catholic Church is okay with certain areas of evolution such as insects, plants, and non-human animals as long as God is credited as the Creator. Please refer to Genesis 1:1. When it comes to human beings, science alone cannot adequately address our rational/corporeal nature. It is the Catholic Church which addresses the reality of you and me.

Adam and Eve are real people and we are their real descendents. The first three chapters of Genesis proclaim real events such as Adam, Original Sin, and the promise of a Redeemer. However, these chapters also use figurative language. It is the business of the Catholic Church to define Divine Revelation in Genesis.


Basic Catholic teaching **regarding the Adam and Eve Question **is found in the
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, ISBN: 1-57455-109-4
Paragraphs 355-421.

The good news of Jesus Christ follows in Paragraph 422, etc.

One can put the word paragraph and its number in the Catechism’s search bar in link

Entering topics is also very useful since the Catechism does expand on the basics and implications. Do check out the references in the margins and in the Index.

When one enters a paragraph number, like “paragraph 355”, and then clicks on the opening line, CCC Search Result - Paragraph # 355 the following is under the paragraph:

»Table of Contents

[FONT=Arial]Our first parent Adam was the apple of God’s eye.
(example of reality and figurative language)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit