Adam and Eve : Real people or allegorical myth?

Why do some Catholic reject the idea of Adam and Eve being real persons as recorded in Genesis?

This kind of thinking disturbs me

An author (Whom I agree with) of An article from Catholic Answers had this to say :

"Even if Genesis 1 records God’s work in a topical
fashion, it still records God’s work—things God really

The Catechism explains that “Scripture presents the
work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six
days of divine ‘work,’ concluded by the ‘rest’ of the
seventh day” (CCC 337), but “nothing exists that does
not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world
began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all
existent beings, all of nature, and all human history is
rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by
which the world was constituted and time begun” (CCC

It is impossible to dismiss the events of Genesis 1 as a
mere legend. They are accounts of real history, even if
they are told in a style of historical writing that
Westerners do not typically use."

He goes on to say :

“The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one,
even if not written entirely according to modern literary
techniques. The Catechism states, “The account of the
fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a
primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning
of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of
faith that the whole of human history is marked by the
original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC

I think it has a lot to do with scientific theory.

Darwinian evolution, despite its flaws, has been accepted as (scientific) orthodoxy. That being the case, most people who subscribe to it have a hard time reconciling its findings with the Biblical account of a real Adam and Eve.

However, as the Church has taught, we cannot adopt this point of view. In Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII warned us strictly about the error of “polygenism” (i.e. the human race did not descend from a single pair of parents), which is the evolutionary alternative to the Biblical account.

Honestly, what’s so hard about accepting an initial pair of parents, named “Man” and “Mother”? :smiley: (This point tends to get obscured because Adam and Eve are now recognized names in many languages) The church permits lawful speculation about creation - you can be a young-Earth creationist or a theistic evolutionist if that’s what you find the best explanation - but the first man and woman are “non-negotiables”.

**The latest:

Science and Human Origins**,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01.jpg

…I chose to look at the HLA-DRB1 story because it seemed to provide the strongest case from population genetics against two first parents. If it were true that we share thirty-two separate lineages of HLA-DRB1 with chimps, it would indeed cause difficulties for an original couple. But as we have seen, the data indicate that it is possible for us to have come from just two first parents.

…Moreover, the data indicate that DNA similarity is not going to be a simple story to unravel. There are already regions of human DNA known to more closely resemble gorilla sequences than chimp sequences.22 Now we have sequences that resemble macaque DNA, a primate not part of the hominid group. Furthermore, when adjacent regions of DNA yield different evolutionary trees, linked to species that diverged well before the putative most recent common ancestor of chimps and humans, something unusual is going on.
This result was a surprise to me, and threw me back into a consideration of the whole story of our common descent from ape-like ancestors. I already knew from my own research that similarity of form or structure was not enough to demonstrate that neo-Darwinian common descent was possible. I knew that genuine protein innovations were beyond the reach of naturalistic processes. I therefore began to re-examine everything
I knew or thought I knew about human origins. I reviewed paleo-anthropology, evolutionary psychology and population genetics research articles, I reviewed popular books and textbooks. I applied strict logic to the story of what would be required for our evolution from great apes.
As a result of all this reading and reflection, although I was always skeptical about the plausibility of human evolution by neo-Darwinian means, I have now come to wonder about the extent of common descent as well.
Currently, neo-Darwinism is the accepted explanation for our origin. It may be, though, that as we continue to investigate our own
genomes, the Darwinian explanation for our similarity with chimps—namely, common descent—will evaporate. We may discover additional features in our genome that defy explanation based on common ancestry. As evidence of common descent’s insufficiency as a theory grows, alternate theories will need to be tested.
**But one thing is clear right now: Adam and Eve have not been disproven by science, and those who claim otherwise are misrepresenting the scientific evidence.


Thanks for the update on the scientific front, Buffalo,…at least the genetic field.

As a younger man I was seriously with the common ancestry with chimps! It was when the banana entered the fray that caused me to re-examine the field I was studing and changed my ‘future’ profession.

It has been known for awhile that the genetics were pointing toward either a common pair of humans or common people, like the theory of all humans coming out of Africa etc. About that time, I knew the result will be as according to Holy Writ; ONE Pair!


It is good that it disturbs you, for it should. If Adam is a myth, then Jesus is not God. For Christ treats Adam as a real, historical figure, who caused a real, historical Fall from innocence and blessedness. If Jesus is incorrect about this, then He is either a liar, or does not know all things.

Christ Jesus is the second Adam, not the second allegory.


We have to be aware of the nature of the Scientific Method and unless you can recreate the method under similar conditions you can have no certainty of the results. Also into play we have to consider the “Chain of Custody”, for lack of a better term. The continuous observation of that which is being tested in order to ascertain that the conditions have not been altered. So unless you can definitely reproduce your theory, it remains a theory and not a definite verified result.

But seems that some scientists and pro-science thinking has a lot of Faith in their theories :smiley:

Genesis is a real description of real events told from a poetic storyteller form of narration. We’ve lost this form of communication in this era of journalism and detail to the point where we don’t even recognize it.

Adam and Eve have to be real persons for christianity to be valid. The way themes involving them were established in Genesis can be literary devices used to summarize more complex realities. Eve being made from Adam’s rib isn’t necessarily a biology lesson, but a lesson about how man and woman TOGETHER are the most complete way in which man is in the image and likeness of God. The forbidden fruit might not literally be an apple, but could be a tangible illustration of how man made a decision that resulted in the Fall.

But if we aren’t descended from common parents, then the concept of the Fall collapses. That’s how I see it, anyways.

The sad fact is that some post here to sow confusion, and to try to convince us that God needs science to do something. Pope John Paul II is one miracle away from sainthood, but that is ignored by those who say: if science can’t prove it it didn’t happen.

Original Sin is passed on to all by our two actual parents, but there are those who try to obscure that fact. In the Bible, Adam is not a generic term:

Romans 5:12


Thanks for the posts so far guys :slight_smile:

I’m glad to see others like me who feel the same way about this particular issue. It is a worrying issue that needs to be dealt with quickly in order for us to avoid a new heresy which teaches such ideas.

Praise be to God for all the posts and God bless you and I pray that you words may help others find the truth.

And a thorough Fisking of the bad science in that book, here:


Probably for the same reason a lot of Catholics reject a waterproof layer in the sky as described in Genesis 1:6-8, it doesn’t match the real world.

A human being has two copies of every gene. Hence between them Adam and Eve had four copies, or maybe just two if Eve was cloned from Adam. Genes come in slightly different varieties, called alleles. We all have the genes for eyes. Most of us have the brown-eye allele. Some of us have the blue-eye allele and so on.

In some parts of our genome, notably our immune system, there are genes with hundreds of alleles spread through the human population. Chimps also have an immune system and many, though not all, of their immune system alleles match ours exactly. By looking at mutation rates, determined from the alleles that don’t match, we can say that the human population has never fallen much below 10,000 breeding pairs since we separated from our common ancestor with the chimps.

We get further confirmation from looking at Cheetahs. About 10,000 years ago, Cheetahs went through a very severe genetic bottleneck, which reduced them to probably a single family, even perhaps a single breeding pair. Cheetahs have very little variation in their immune systems, and so are very vulnerable to new diseases. Cheetahs are so similar genetically that any Cheetah can accept a skin graft from any other Cheetah. Humans have none of those expected indications of a recent very narrow population bottleneck. Again the evidence is against descent from a single pair any time in the last 5 million years or so.

A literal Adam and Eve are rejected by some because the evidence in the world that God created contradicts that particular interpretation of God’s word. The Catholic Church allows either a literal or a non-literal interpretation of Genesis. In this case the evidence supports a non-literal interpretation, and some Catholics choose to follow that allowed interpretation.

Science does confirm that all humans alive today are indeed descended from a single pair: Mitochondrial Eve’s parents. We are all descended from Mitochondrial Eve, so we are also all descended from her parents. It is just that M-Eve’s parents were not the only biological humans alive - the other 9,999 breeding pairs were also around at the same time. Whether those other 9,999 pairs were given souls by God, or not, is a question that science is unable to answer. That is one for the theologians.


That didn’t take long. I don’t see it as a fisking of bad science. Perhaps the peer review process is not working?

But the DNA language is a language. :hmmm:

She isn’t the only one to state the growing dissimilarity between humans and chimps. He goes on to make a point about suboptimal functioning without knowing the actual intent. Depending on the intended function the limits would not be arbitrary.

He admits here: “So, we are left with a choice. Common descent provides a sound and simple explanation for the nested, hierarchical relationships in biology, while design would only result in the same if the designer has arbitrarily chosen limits. Obviously, this is not impossible, but is difficult to understand if the designer is sentient, because the limits we observe in biology often result in suboptimal functioning, and other sweeping constraints.”

Interview WIth Lynn Margulis - Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create.

The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzyme Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway

…This leads Koonin and Wolf
to reject convergent evolution (extensive similarity appearing
by evolution from dissimilar starting points) as implausible.
But from this they conclude that homology, while not
formally proven by similarity, is nonetheless overwhelmingly
supported in cases where chance convergence is implausible.
The problem with this is that all non-chance alternatives
must be considered once chance is ruled out. Yet Koonin and
Wolf consider only one of these alternatives—the standard
Darwinian one.
We agree with their rejection of chance, but we argue here
that the Darwinian explanation also appears to be inadequate.
Its deficiencies become evident when the focus moves from
similarities to dissimilarities, and in particular to functionally
important dissimilarities—to innovations. The extent to which
Darwinian evolution can explain enzymatic innovation seems,
on careful inspection, to be very limited. Large-scale innovations
that result in new protein folds appear to be well outside
its range [5]. This paper argues that at least some small-scale
innovations may also be beyond its reach.
If studies of this
kind continue to imply that this is typical rather than exceptional,
then answers to the most interesting origins questions
will probably remain elusive until the full range of explanatory
alternatives is considered.

He makes a prediction that Chapter 4 will conflate junk DNA with non-coding DNA. Now this is a switch. In any case, we are learning everyday the functions of Junk DNA. But we will find out tomorrow.

You have touched on a point here. The posts in this thread seem to confuse our biological origin with Original Sin. Science might be able to trace our biological origin, but it cannot say anything about The Fall.

The names Adam and Eve are very symbolic, meaning mankind, humankind; and the latter meaning life or living, etc. In light of this it seems that the names may have not been literal, but given by later Hebrew writers to fit our unknown first parents.

Gen 2 states Adam named his wife Eve.

And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: **because she was the mother of all the living.

The Tomb of Adam
According to Christian tradition, this is the burial site of Adam, the first man.
(Directly below the site of the crucifixtion)


The Church teaches they were two actual, individual people and there is a passage that is not in Genesis that refers to sin entering the world by the disobedience of one man. This is where the never changed origin of Original Sin comes from. A real act of disobedience.

The Church also teaches that the writers were inspired by God in all they wrote. That’s why Sacred Scripture is called Sacred.


Thank you, buffalo. I think there are some here that don’t believe in God that are honestly searching for the truth, while, sadly, there are some who appear to present this theory as carved in stone and we must accept it. That is illogical as your example shows. And it is illogical in the sense that new discoveries are constantly being made, like your example above. It is only an assumption that science is only strengthening this theory. The exact opposite appears to be occurring.

Here’s a great example of something scientists say was conserved - for no particular reason - for 400 million years. This, in my view, is a serious blow to previous claims that things like digits in animals came about through gradual processes and novel pathways that required all that time. It strongly suggests that all the information was front-loaded in the beginning and only required certain switches to activate at certain times.


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