Adam and Eve


#1

According to Catholic teaching, are Adam and Eve actually the first human beings, or are they symbols of the first human beings? Relevant quotes of the bible or church documents would be appreciated.


#2

Adam and Eve are the sole founders of all humans. Symbols usually do not have descendants. :wink:

For quotes, my favorite source for information are the first three exciting chapters of Genesis.


#3

Symbols usually don’t have descendants, but if the story is a myth, then what about the concept of original sin which is the basis for Jesus coming as a savior?


#4

The Catholic Church does not teach that the first three wonderful chapters of Sacred Scripture are a myth.


#5

We call the first human man and woman who were ensouled by God Adam & Eve. We don’t know the who, what, when or whys of the situation.

Also, the Church does not teach a literal reading of the first 3 chapters of Genesis. There is a large amount of literary and poetic license employed to tell the story. Genesis is not a literal history or biology book.


#6

"Adam and Eve: Real People

"It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2–3) as a fiction. A question often raised in this context is whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism).

"In this regard, Pope Pius XII stated: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

“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 390).”

Source: Catholic Answers tract

Ed


#7

Neither does it teach that it is literal. Once again, the misunderstanding of the word “myth” throws everything off path.


#8

The first three essential chapters of Sacred Scripture contain the foundation for the major basic foundational doctrines of the Catholic Church; for example, the full Divinity of Jesus Christ.


#9

And what does that have to do with the story of Adam and Eve being literal or figurative? I have never known the Church to state that we believe in the full divinity of Jesus Christ because of the first 3 chapters of Genesis, nor does the Church use it as a means to describe the creation of the world.


#10

In the Catholic Church, one of the major common sense teachings is that the real human Adam is not on the same level as the Divine Creator Being.

When Adam shattered the Original Friendship Relationship with God, aka Original Sin, he, not being equal with God, could not repair the damage. Common sense tells us that only a fully-Divine Person could repair this relationship and at the same time assume human nature so that we humans are reconciled with our Creator. This is known as the Catholic doctrine of Incarnation.


#11

While what you write may be interesting, it is still a fact that the Church does not use the first 3 chapters of Genesis as its basis for the teaching of the divinity of Jesus Christ. The Church does not teach Genesis to be literal; why do you?


#12

The first three essential chapters of Sacred Scripture contain the foundation for the major basic foundational doctrines of the Catholic Church; for example, the full Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1: 1 the existence of God. Genesis 1: 27 the existence of Adam and that his existence in the image of God allows him to have a relationship with God. Genesis 2: 15-17 demonstrates that the difference between Adam and God is that Adam has to remain in submission to his Creator. There cannot be two supreme all-powerful Gods at the same time. Genesis 3: 1-7 is the event where Adam with his intellective free will chose to scorn God with his disobedience aka Original Sin. Genesis 3: 15 contains the promise of the Jesus, the Reconciler. Genesis 3: 23 is the natural result of breaking the human relationship with God.

We jump to John 3: 16-17 which gives the solution to the problem that Adam, being the human creature, he cannot do what God must do.


#13

Again, the Church does not teach Genesis to be literal; why do you?


#14

The Church teaches that some aspects of Genesis are figurative, while others are literal. For example, she affirms that there literally existed two human beings who were the ancestors of all humans living today and that they literally committed the first sin, the first act of disobedience of God, with the result that all humanity was expelled from Eden and entered a new world and life with consequences as outlined in Gen 3


#15

Last night I had an answer! Never thought about this approach… still need to work on it a tad.
This morning, there is Holy Mass and then some family stuff.
I will eventually get back to your question.:slight_smile:


#16

The Church teaches that there really were two first ensouled humans. Were their names “Adam” and “Eve”? Well, given the meanings of their names, that’s a stretch.

Did these first true, ensouled humans rebel against God in a way that still affects us? The Church says “yes”. Did that rebellion involve an apple and a snake? That’s the part that’s “figurative.”

As others have mentioned, the Church doesn’t teach that this “figurative” tale means that Adam and Eve are “symbols” or are representative of historical truth. Nor does she teach that they represent a larger body of people.


#17

The fruit Eve ate was never called anything but was called “good for food.”

Genesis 3:6

Parallel Verses
New International Version
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

New Living Translation
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.

English Standard Version
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

The Church does teach that Adam and Eve were real people.

Romans 5:12

Parallel Verses
New International Version
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned–

New Living Translation
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

English Standard Version
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Ed


#18

Fine. Regardless, the point is that the offense doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with an episode of choosing the wrong food. :rolleyes:

The Church does teach that Adam and Eve were real people.

That’s what I said – the Church teaches that there really were two first ensouled human beings. The names that the Bible uses to identify these two are “the guy who came from the red clay” and “the mother of all the living”. :thumbsup:


#19

Here are two definitions for literal.

  1. Literal is taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory.
  2. Literal is conforming or limited to the simplest, nonfigurative or most obvious meaning of a word or words.

If anyone has an easier definition, please post it. My own personal observation is that a literal description refers to something that is real or has been real in the past. That may be why metaphor or allegory would be eliminated in a current use. Definition. 1.

Introduction

In general, it is certain verses, not all verses, in the first three basic chapters of
Genesis which lead to Catholic Doctrines.These are usually events. For example.
The creation of our universe. The creation of the animal kingdom. The unique
creation of humans which established the unique relationship between Divinity and
humanity. The clarification of specific terms for a relationship between a divine being
and a non-divine being. The appearance of Satan and his temptation. Adam yielding
to Satan and the results.

All of the above events occurred in time and space; therefore, we can consider them
real.

One definition of time: the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/time

Time consists of past, present, and future regarded as a whole. Even when we do not have specific dates, if we know that an event took place some at some point (time) in the past, we can consider that the event is real.

Space is easier to understand because it is all around us except when we are looking for a parking space. If we know that an event took place on our earth or on the moon, we can consider that the event is real. Question? Is a literal explanation of that event a truth?

Time and space is found in our material world. Catholicism teaches that in addition to our material world, there is the spiritual world.

Question? When we apply the word literal to the first three down-to-earth chapters of Genesis, are we saying that what is literal is true? We need to take another look at the original post 13 position. “The Church does not teach Genesis to be literal.” On the other hand, the Catholic Church believes that it teaches the truth which flows from the first three amazing chapters of Sacred Scripture. Questions? Is that truth literal? Is truth automatically literal in time and space?

I learned from my Dad that it is a waste of time to :banghead:
Then, he would say to take time to look for a different path around the obstacle. In my humble opinion, our first path is to find the Catholic truths which leap from the first three informational chapters in Genesis. I also suspect that we should check out a few of the non-literal descriptions expressing real events. It is raining cats and dogs, for example.


#20

Fair enough, but I don’t think that this is a reasonable definition in this context, nor is the assertion that “literal” implies “real” (as in “historically accurate”, which is what I’d guess you’re attempting to say by your recourse to “real” here).

In general, it is certain verses, not all verses, in the first three basic chapters of Genesis which lead to Catholic Doctrines.These are usually events.

Yes, this makes sense, since the genre here is “narrative.” Naturally, narratives tell stories through sequences of events.

The appearance of Satan and his temptation. Adam yielding to Satan and the results.

If you want to stick to the words on the page, you’ll have to abandon the “Satan” interpretation – after all, Satan never appears in this narrative. If, on the other hand, you’re claiming that “the serpent” means “Satan”, then you’ve already conceded the game: you’ve conceded the presence of allegory (i.e., the “serpent as allegory for Satan”) in the narrative. :wink:

All of the above events occurred in time and space; therefore, we can consider them real.

This works if you’ve already proven that you’re talking about a historical narrative. If you’re trying to prove a historical narrative, then you can’t presume what you’re attempting to prove – that’s the logical fallacy known as “begging the question.”

Your argument from the perspective of “time” makes the same logical error. :shrug:

the Catholic Church believes that it teaches the truth which flows from the first three amazing chapters of Sacred Scripture. Questions? Is that truth literal? Is truth automatically literal in time and space?

It is possible to describe “literal” truth without recourse to “literal” historical narrative. The former doesn’t imply the presence of the latter.

In my humble opinion, our first path is to find the Catholic truths which leap from the first three informational chapters in Genesis.

Agreed. The attempt to assert that the first three chapters of Genesis only tell symbolic truth because they use figurative language is the flip side of the error that asserts that because literal truth is present, literal historical narrative must be the mode of its expression.

I also suspect that we should check out a few of the non-literal descriptions expressing real events. It is raining cats and dogs, for example.

Yes, but it’s important to recognize that the assertion isn’t that there are figurative expressions within a historical narrative; rather, it’s that the narratives themselves are figurative.


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