Catholic View on Genesis


Hey guys, I was just wondering what the Catholic view on the Book of Genesis and Creation is. I’ve seen some Catholics believe in Young Earth Creationism, and others believe in a Earth aged in the billions of years old. Some say Genesis is meant to be taken literally and others say metaphorically. Is this one of the teachings that isn’t really defined in the church so we can believe what we want (to an extent) or are there any official teachings from the councils or catechisms?


There are over 50+ Threads spanning 12 years concerning this matter.


This forum belongs in apologetics

“Fundamentalists often make it a test of Christian orthodoxy to believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days and that no other interpretations of Genesis 1 are possible.”

" For instance, the Flood narrative (Gen. 6-9) has parallels to pagan flood stories, but is written so that it refutes ideas in them. Thus Genesis attributes the flood to human sin (6:5-7), not overpopulation, as Atrahasis’ Epic and the Greek poem Cypria did (I. Kikawada & A. Quinn). The presence of flood stories in cultures around the world does not undermine the validity of the biblical narrative, but lends it more credence."

Yes it is poetry, but it imparts details and wisdom, dance in its song. Wisdom, the Catholic advice column. Psalms, the emotional Twitter of the day. Genesis the poetry we ought to not take seriously.

A FOCUS talk:

This is my two cents. Let the formal scholars answer this. For the scholars answering this, the difference between this thread and all other (hundered?) posts on Genesis, it the part of, “so we can believe what we want… or are there any official teachings from the councils or catechisms”.

Now onto the formal stuff

“15 How can Sacred Scripture be “truth” if not everything in it is right?
The -> Bible is not meant to convey precise historical information or scientific findings to us. Moreover, the authors were children of their time. Their forms of expression are influenced by the sometimes inadequate cultural images of the world around them. Nevertheless, everything that man must know about God and the way of his salvation is found within infallible certainty in Sacred Scripture.”
YOUCAT english: Youth cathecism of the Catholic Church . (2011). San Francisco: Ignatius Press. Page 21, big yellow circle 15

This quote thus says, it is not a science textbook. Don’t read it as such. I know this book is not the bleeding edge of infallibility. I toss this up to actual scholars who know stuff, unlike humble me.


@Cruciferi has already said everything there is to say about it, really. Even so, I would just add this: Genesis can usefully be approached as a book in two clearly separate parts, chapters 1-11 and chapters 12 to the end. Abraham’s first appearance in chapter 12 can be thought of as the beginning of what most people would recognize as history.


"Real History

"The argument is that all of this is real history, it is simply ordered topically rather than chronologically, and the ancient audience of Genesis, it is argued, would have understood it as such.

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

"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 338).

"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.

"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).”

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I take the first sentence in the bible to be an absolute truth. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. The rest of the bible is a lifetime journey to inspire and encourage me to do something.



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