Adam and Eve vs. Monogenism

So there is a papal encyclical promoting a historical Adam and Eve and the Catechism is pretty insistent on the idea of Adam and Eve as the literal first humans from whom all descended.
However, the idea of a first pair of humans that everyone descends from - not even Monogenism but Biblical Monogenism - is biologically impossible and irreconcilable with mass breeding involved in Evolution.
Fr. Robert Barron asserts that Adam and Eve aren’t historical figures. With the Catechism and a past pope against him, how could he properly make the claim?
It’s either the Catechism is wrong, so the authority of the church who set it up is wrong, thus Catholicism is debunk.
or
The Catechism is wrong but that is biologically impossible so the church that set it up is wrong, thus Catholicism is debunk.

Monogenism as scientists promote it is not the Biblical Monogenism Catholicism holds.

With all due respect, casabolg, there’s a lot of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and misdirection in your post. Let’s look at some of the issues …

Theologically speaking, the doctrine of Adam and Eve merely says that there were two original human beings with eternal souls.

However, the idea of a first pair of humans that everyone descends from - not even Monogenism but Biblical Monogenism - is biologically impossible and irreconcilable with mass breeding involved in Evolution.

All humans with souls descend from the original humans with souls. No problems there.

Fr. Robert Barron asserts that Adam and Eve aren’t historical figures. With the Catechism and a past pope against him, how could he properly make the claim?

You’re mischaracterizing – or, at best, misunderstanding – the claim. I’m assuming that you’re referencing the outcry against Barron’s “Misreading Genesis” video. Here’s the thing: what Barron is calling “theological poetry” is the account found in Genesis 2, in which Adam names all the animals in the world. What is ‘poetry’ is the allegory of Adam’s naming of animals; there’s no literal figure in history who did this, at least as Genesis records it. Rather, the account of Genesis 2 speaks to another theological truth.

It’s either the Catechism is wrong, so the authority of the church who set it up is wrong, thus Catholicism is debunk.
or
The Catechism is wrong but that is biologically impossible so the church that set it up is wrong, thus Catholicism is debunk.

Nah. It’s that you’re misunderstanding what the Catechism is saying. It’s your take on it that’s bunk. :wink:

Monogenism as scientists promote it is not the Biblical Monogenism Catholicism holds.

Agreed. But, science doesn’t have anything to say about humans with souls. :wink:

Love to.

Not at all. This is the bulk of the problem.
Our best science upholds that the idea of a single pair of all human descendance is both biologically impossible and incapable with evolution, as we would have all a common descent as a species but not all the common descent of individuals. This there where monogenism and biblical monogenism split. Biblical monogenism is incorrect scientifically and yet the Catechism and encyclicals support it. The former is telling of the authority of the magisterium.

This would imply humans who didn’t descend from Adam that simply do not bear human souls. This also struggles to be reconciled with Catholicism’s support of hylomorphism.

Not at all. This is not a problem at all.

Our best science upholds the idea only that there is not a single pair of hominids from which we all proceed. That does not preclude theological monogenism.

This there where monogenism and biblical monogenism split. Biblical monogenism is incorrect scientifically and yet the Catechism and encyclicals support it.

No – “biblical monogenism is incorrect scientifically” only if one conflates Biblical monogenism and scientific monogenism, as you seem to be doing. If one allows that the two are not identical, then there is no conflict.

The former is telling of the authority of the magisterium.

Your assertions are telling of your preconceived opinion of the magisterium. :wink:

This would imply humans who didn’t descend from Adam that simply do not bear human souls. This also struggles to be reconciled with Catholicism’s support of hylomorphism.

How so? The only way that this could be so, is if you assert that soulless humans exist. I’m making no such claim; rather, I’m only asserting that soulless hominids existed at one point in time.

May I respectfully point out that we are talking about theological monogenism because the Catholic Church considers that the fact of two sole real fully-complete first human parents as the founders of the human species is based on Divine Revelation.

Regarding biological propagation, it only takes one male and one female to produce a crowd.

Monogenism as scientists promote it is not the Biblical Monogenism Catholicism holds.

May I respectfully point out that the word “monogenism” actually refers to one male and one female. The word you are probably thinking about is polygenism which means that humans owe their origin to a large indiscriminate random breeding humanizing population.

It’s either the Catechism is wrong, so the authority of the church who set it up is wrong, thus Catholicism is debunk.
or
The Catechism is wrong but that is biologically impossible so the church that set it up is wrong, thus Catholicism is debunk.

Whoooooo. As Treebeard says, don’t be hasty.

In this instance, the job of the apologist is not to use science to prove that the Adam and Eve event happened, but rather to show that the Adam and Eve event is compatible with what we know from science, which it is. In other words, we argue that Adam and Eve is compatible with the current theories of biology, but that the current biological models don’t necessarily require Adam and Eve, and so Adam and Eve must be defended on other grounds (the authority of the Church, or the reliability of the Bible historically, for example). To put it roughly as St. Thomas would: Faith is reasonable, but not all of it is provable by reason. The belief in the Adam and Eve event is reasonable, but it can’t be really proven by reason (the Adam and Eve event is not logically contradicted by the evidence).

Here’s a good theory, presented humorously and seriously:

tofspot.blogspot.com/2011/09/adam-and-eve-and-ted-and-alice.html

Here’s another:

edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/09/modern-biology-and-original-sin-part-i.html

edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/09/modern-biology-and-original-sin-part-ii.html

Also, remember that it is very, very likely that these biological theories will be changed in the future due to better evidence, different interpretations, etc., so these compatibility theories I link to demonstrate that Adam and Eve are compatible with the evidence, but they are likely to have to be edited not because of changing Church teaching, but rather because of changing scientific evidence.

Christi pax,

Lucretius

Here is additional information about the science. It is worth the time it takes to read it.
crisismagazine.com/2014/did-adam-and-eve-really-exist

hprweb.com/2014/07/time-to-abandon-the-genesis-story/

amazon.com/Origin-Human-Species-Third-Edition/dp/1932589686/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1412467670&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Origin+of+the+human+species++Bonnette

Here is additional information about the science. It is worth the time it takes to read it.
crisismagazine.com/2014/did-adam-and-eve-really-exist

hprweb.com/2014/07/time-to-abandon-the-genesis-story/

amazon.com/Origin-Human-Species-Third-Edition/dp/1932589686/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1412467670&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Origin+of+the+human+species++Bonnette

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monogenism#In_the_Abrahamic_religions

“The belief that all humans are descended from Adam is central to traditional Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

You can see Humani Generis:

“For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.”

The Catechism also attests to the notion of Adam as a literal first man whom all descend from.

This view is that we came from a single pair. This is Biblical Monogenism. This is biologically impossible and denying of evolution.

Conflate? What? I make a point of separating Biblical Monogenism from Monogenism. Hence why I gave one the name “Biblical Monogenism” and not the other.

Because:

  1. Hylomorphism is that things are a body/soul composite. To not have a soul would be against the notion of hylomorphism.
  2. It is as absurd as Biblical Monogenism to assert that no matter how we originated, we lost a very large amount of humanity somewhere along the line and all man now descend from that.

Yes, but it’s biologically impossible for mutation to reach this stage from one human pair alone. Further, it’s impossible to assume that one pair evolved from humans and all humans extended from there are there are thousands of the species that we descended from. There would just have to be many first parents for humanity.

This is a confusion the church makes. Monogenism can be taken as both one pair or one ancestral type. The former is more specifically “biblical monotheism” and the latter is what scientists refer to when they promote monogenism. The church confuses polygenism with the monogenism scientists promote.

Would you mind explaining the difference between Biblical monogenism and scientific monogenisim, as far as I know monogenism is simply the assertion that the entire human race descended from an original pair of human beings? And it matters not whether we are speaking of Biblical or scientific monogenism.

Linus2nd .

It matters entirely whether we’re speaking of Biblical or Scientific Monogenism as Biblical is considered impossible scientifically and the scientific one is denied by the church.

I clarify the difference between the two in this post:

“This is a confusion the church makes. Monogenism can be taken as both one pair or one ancestral type. The former is more specifically “biblical monotheism” and the latter is what scientists refer to when they promote monogenism. The church confuses polygenism with the monogenism scientists promote.”

You can see the outright denial of scientific monogenism with Humani Generis:

“For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.”

I always understood the teaching as Adam and Eve being the first animals with immortal souls. Thus, there would be a difference between a human as the church defines it (a created, material being with an immortal soul) and a homo sapien (a specific animal species, as defined by science).

Thus, it would be possible that Adam and Eve were the first “true men” in that they had immortal souls, not that they were necessarily the first homo sapiens (a belief that I don’t think contradicts church teaching). This would get around the problem of the species not being able to descend completely from two people. Adam and Eve’s children would have bred with other homo sapiens (ones that, while biologically similar to them, lacked an immortal soul). Any of their offspring, however, would have a soul.

I have to admit that my knowledge on this topic is amateur at best, but as I understand it, isn’t there someone called Mitochondrial Eve, that is someone who all living humans can trace their lineage in an unbroken line back to?

“Unlike her biblical namesake, she was not the only living human female of her time. However, her female contemporaries, excluding her mother, failed to produce a direct unbroken female line to any living person in the present day.”

While she may not have been the only living human female, it is possible that she was the only living human with an immortal soul (or, as the church would call her, a ‘true human’). Any of her offspring (and their offspring, including us) would have soul. Thus “true humans” as defined by the church (homo sapiens with an immortal soul) are descended from her.

That was my understanding as well. I’m no expert, but it seems to satisfy both the Biblical and scientific claims.

The resurrection of Jesus can’t be proved with science–why should anyone care whether Adam and Eve as sole parents can be proven with science?

Adam and Eve are our sole parents. Jesus rose from the dead. Take it or leave it!

Caution!

The O.P. has failed to prove that there is a biological or scientific monogenism from which descended our first human parents, from whom all true human beings descended. The so called biological monogenism is pure speculation, it is not scientific fact. All Catholics must believe is that Adam and Eve were a single human pair, endowned with a rational soul and blessed by the grace of original innocence, later lost through sin, and that from this first pair descended all true human beings. Whether they had biological precursors which had no rational soul is pure speculation, as is the biological form these may have been. The account of Genesis may indeed have been the way God created our first parents. In other words, there may not have been any biological precursors to Adam and Eve, God may, indeed, have " formed them from the dust of the earth. "

Linus2nd.

May I respectfully clarify the reference to one ancestral type?

When talking about an “ancestral type”, the current science of human evolution describes that ancestral type as a population in the thousands developing over many years. A developing population of a multiple random mating ancestral type is certainly different from the Catholic position that you and I descended from a population of two fully developed human beings.

As someone who spotted an attack on the divinity of Jesus in her first adult biography of Jesus Christ, I respectfully offer that Original Sin freely committed by a real first true human required a Divine Person to restore the Original Relationship between humanity and Divinity. Please refer to John 3: 16-17, and to paragraph 389, last sentence, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition.

Unfortunately, in various geographical areas, there are real people who look to natural science, especially technology, as a solution to whatever is wrong with the world. This serves as one of the reasons for some intense curiosity on both sides.

But, as others have pointed out, you either seem to misunderstand the terms, or misunderstand the implications of what Biblical monogenism could mean (and instead, simply dig in your heels and repeat “one man. one woman. no other non-human hominids.”)

  1. Hylomorphism is that things are a body/soul composite. To not have a soul would be against the notion of hylomorphism.

Agreed. And therefore, a hominid without a soul (e.g., a pre-Adam hominid) would not be a human. This would not be “against hylomorphism.”

  1. It is as absurd as Biblical Monogenism to assert that no matter how we originated, we lost a very large amount of humanity somewhere along the line and all man now descend from that.

Who ever said that “we lost a very large amount of humanity somewhere”? I certainly didn’t!

In fact, if by ‘human’ we mean ‘hominid with a soul’, then the assertion is exactly the opposite of what you bemoan here: humanity wasn’t ‘lost’ at the ensoulment of Adam and Eve – it was gained! But, I suppose, what you’re trying to say is that you perceive my argument as asserting that there was a huge die-off of unensouled hominids? That, too, I never claimed.

Yet, looking at it from a Darwinian framework, one could make that argument, don’t you think? If certain features of animals give them advantages over other animals, such that these advantages favor the subset (i.e., certain camouflage, or other offensive or defensive abilities, etc), then that subset is the one that benefits from the notion known as “survival of the fittest.” Would anyone suggest that the presence of a soul – the defining feature of what we now call ‘humanity’ – is not a huge advantage over not having a soul?

If that is true, then the only question remaining is how the population of humans (NB: humans, not hominids) grew. Many have theorized about this; many possibilities exist.

Not currently interested in discussing this but I just wanted to say good luck! This was one of the things that basically killed my faith last year. I’m trying to revive it, but with the understanding that the Truth and the Church aren’t as black and white as I had made it out to be… That there is no way to have certainty of any of this whilst being just a mere human (with no time travel machine, no super truth discerning power, no supernatural abilities)… So just because polygenesis and the story of Adam and Eve doesn’t mesh too well, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water (i.e. You don’t have to leave the faith just because your understanding of it was more black and white than the reality of it is).

Again, GOOD LUCK!!!

Remember, pre-Adam and Eve Humanoids didn’t lack a soul per se: what you mean is that they lacked a spiritual soul. However, they processed a material soul, like all other animals, plants, etc.

Christi pax,

Lucretius

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