At what point does the Church teach that Genesis becomes literal?

My understanding is that the Church teaches that Catholics do not need to believe that the Adam and Eve story is completely literal. Obviously at some point we are to believe that Genesis (or the Old Testament) becomes literal history, so my question is at what point does this happen?

For instance, I have personally been taught that Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Babel, and Noah are a combination of literal and allagorical truth, and that starting with Abraham, it becomes all literally true. Does the Church specifically teach at what point it becomes literal?

Regardless of the different interpretations of Genesis, we are required as Catholics to believe that we descended from a single set of parents who did commit the first sin:

“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 parent 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 with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.” - Venerable Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, Ch 37

I believe the document Humani Generis suggests that the first eleven chapters teach true history but uses metaphorical language. Chapter Twelve begins the Call of Abram, which
makes sense in being more literal history.

At what point? In the beginning…I guess:D

Pretty much this. Although, I know I’m not as wise as Pope Pius XII, but I still don’t understand how Original Sin couldn’t affect people in the same way even if there were 100 different people. Sin spreads like wild fire, so if one commits sin then the rest do so as well. Once sin stains the soul things change regardless of if there was one or one hundred. Does Original truly need to mean the absolute first, could it not mean a collection of sins that occurred at a time when humans were pure and without sin?

“And God saw the joke, and it was good” :wink:

I was taught that you don;t have to believe anything in the Old Testament…

I was taught that you don’t have to believe anything in the Old Testament…

Oh so wrong. We have to believe EV-
ERYTHING in the Bible, we just can’t
interpret everything the exact same
way in every instance.

Well please tell that to the Ursulines who taught me…

*]The Doctrine of Revelation Regarding Man or "Christian Anthropology"
*] The first man was created by God. (De fide.)
*] The whole human race stems from one single human pair. (Sent. certa.)
*] Man consists of two essential parts–a material body and a spiritual soul. (De fide.)
*] The rational soul is per se the essential form of the body. (De fide.)
*] Every human being possesses an individual soul. (De fide.)
*] Every individual soul was immediately created out of nothing by God. (Sent. Certa.)
*] A creature has the capacity to receive supernatural gifts. (Sent. communis.)
*] The Supernatural presupposes Nature. (Sent communis.)
*] God has conferred on man a supernatural Destiny. (De fide.)
*] Our first parents, before the Fall, were endowed with sanctifying grace. (De fide.)
*] The donum rectitudinis or integritatis in the narrower sense, i.e., the freedom from irregular desire. (Sent. fidei proxima.)
*] The donum immortalitatis, i.e.,bodily immortality. (De fide.)
*] The donum impassibilitatis, i.e., the freedom from suffering. (Sent. communis.)
*] The donum scientiae, i.e., a knowledge of natural and supernatural truths infused by God. (Sent. communis.)
*] Adam received sanctifying grace not merely for himself, but for all his posterity. (Sent. certa.)
*] Our first parents in paradise sinned grievously through transgression of the Divine probationary commandment. (De fide.)
*] Through the sin our first parents lost sanctifying grace and provoked the anger and the indignation of God. (De fide.)
*] Our first parents became subject to death and to the dominion of the Devil. (De fide.) D788.
*] Adam’s sin is transmitted to his posterity, not by imitation, but by descent. (De fide.)
*] Original Sin consists in the deprivation of grace caused by the free act of sin committed by the head of the race. (Sent. communis.)
*] Original sin is transmitted by natural generation. (De fide.)
*] In the state of original sin man is deprived of sanctifying grace and all that this implies, as well as of the preternatural gifts of integrity. (De fide in regard to Sanctifying Grace and the Donum Immortalitatus. D788 et seq.)
*] Souls who depart this life in the state of original sin are excluded from the Beatific Vision of God. (De fide.)

I thank our Lord everyday that we are not bound by sola scriptura. The HRCC has always been at the forefront of scientific inquiry. If we were bound to believe in Genesis, I’m not quite sure where I would turn.:shrug:

The teaching of the Church is that No part of Genesis, or in fact no part of the pentatuech is required to be interpreted as “literal history” in the way a lay person would Concieve of such an idea.
However it all contains the TRUTH as received from the long process of authorship which gave us the OldTestament which was not compiled into its final form and defined as canonical in the 4th century AD.

The Book of Genesis presents us with a prologue to the book of Exodus which presents a reinterpretation and retelling of a wide range of stories about the creation of the universe and pre history of Man.
We learn of the origins of the Semetic people’s and the origins of Israelites as one group of these people in a format of retelling and reinterpretation of the oral historys and written histories of various branches of those peoples who came to become a single nation after the time of the exodus.

The books of Gen and Ex were formed into their current form around the time of the return from exile. … about half a millenium BC.

However in adding this it is important to understand that even today there is no such thing as “literal history” human memory is very fallible and the whole point of recorded history is to sign meanings and importance to events deemed to be significant.
Such interpretations are by necessity subjective and determined by ones point of view.

The importance of Genesis is that it tells us the significance of Creatuon as the act of a living God. The impedance of the Covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isac as pre figuring the covenant with Moses and ultimately leading to the New Covenant.

However the events are recorded and interpreted for a people’s who did not share or understanding of"literal truth" as we would imagine a flying stealth spy camera mot have recorded.

There is clear evidence of confusion about the details of some of the events. … e.g were the 10 commandments given at a mountain in Sinai or on Mt Horeb. Both are stated in different locations.

Was the Exodus the result of a group escaping or a group expelled? .
There is evidence in scripture and elsewhere of both occurring!

There was a short period when a Semite dynasty rose to power. Not just as the Pharohs 1st minister but a Semite Pharoh.
It is acceptor to conclude that this person may have been the "real"Joseph

These semites we then mostly expelled and driven from Egypt. They settled in the land now called pallestine.

Later there were Semite slaves. It is reasonable to believe that it was a group of these led out of Egypt by Moses.

There is evidence that there were so me Semite in the promised land before the military conquests described in Judges. It is possible they joined forces with their brothers coming into the land from Transjordan and their histories were merged in the development of the Torah some 1000 years later when it was compiled into is current firm in Exile and later under Esdras on turn from exile. …

The truth in these books less in the meaning of the events described. Not in whether the details of those events were what a time traveler would be able to witness.

At the word “In” of Gen 1:1 is a good place. When people rationalize or argue for allegory or scriptural deconstruction, they are on the road to atheism through liberal Protestantism.

2 Tim3:16-17 New International Version
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The term “God Breathed” here translates as “from God’s mouth onto the paper (or Papyrus)”. It is popular today to speak of Scripture only as a story written for a particular time by men to keep power in the hands of the writer’s. Ths goes against how Scripture was written, confirmed by the church and believed by all generations prior to ours.


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