Children before the Fall?

Is anyone able to source a direct Magisterial teaching (or a clear Bible passage) that Adam and Eve did not go forth and multiply before eating of the Tree?

I realise there are a number of Biblical passages that may infer this did not happen but there seems to be nothing iron-clad conclusive I can find.

(If it was possible that they had progeny before eating then presumably the children would have remained in Eden if they did not also Fall.)

If this had been the case, it seems significant enough that it would have been mentioned in the Bible.

It seems that something like this occurring would create two races of men. A fallen race and a holy race.

Where is the holy race of men free of sin?

The significance of Eden is that it fundamentally changed the relationship between God and Man.

There are a lot of things that Adam and Eve might NOT have done (at least, while in Eden). They might not have ever built a fire, or used a wheel (activities we associate with primitive humans). But the Church has never compiled a list of things that they did NOT do.

It is interesting to wonder, if they had children while in Eden, what would have happened to those children. Would they have also been expelled from Eden (in ancient times, the sins of the father were often visited upon the children, even for several generations). Or, could there be a parallel race of humans in Eden (wherever that is)? If so, did they remain free from sin? Did Jesus die for them? Could they go to heaven?

The answers (and even the questions) are pure speculation. The Church does not give us any insight into this area.

The bible says that all men have sinned.

If there were people born to Adam and Eve before the fall, then that would mean some people would not have sinned. That would go against the idea that all men have sinned, or that all men need salvation.

Praise be Jesus Christ.

Yes I am thinking along these lines.
It does seem significant enough an issue for the absence of clear teaching to itself be significant - ie it may be validly held as possible and the Church does not see any theological reason ofr denying this unlikely possibility.

What then are the consequences and are they compatible with the principles of Catholic theology/teaching that have arisen from the usual understanding?

I suspect there is no inherent theological conflict between the two scenarios.
Then again it could be that, as DF suggests, the Church has never had to fight off a mistaken controversy in this area.

Catholic theologians are usually given the freedom to explore ambiguity until told otherwise. Which is why I am attempting to see if I have missed anything first before speculating further down this path.

But as to the question you raise about “two races.” Yes I anticipated this consequence which is why I mentioned below: “the children would have remained in Eden if they did not also Fall.” Eden is not necessarily a place that jungle explorers can stumble into accidentally. Not does there have to be anyone left in it. Aquinas and other Fathers saw it as a “staging area” for eventual “Translation” of the just to heaven without death.

Fred can you supply actual quotes.
The ones I covered myself were actually making other slightly different points than this so they can be considered inferential only. (Thus sinless Mary is not a contradiction to this “law” you mention).

What I was reffering to was the beginning events in the story of paradise. They were excluded from paradise after the sin and at that point lost their friendship with God by hiding in the shrubs. The actual friendship they lost is sanctifying grace, the life of God in the soul, and God’s personal presence therein. This loss of grace was for all their descendents as well.

If they had had children before this sin, then those children would not have lost their friendship with God and would have maintained their innocence and would have been free of sin.
And their descendants would have no sin passed to them as Adam had, but would have been born in innocence with God’s personal presence in them.

Romans 5:12
“Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.”

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Its entirely possible IMO, while it does not mention it in the bible, thats not to say it did not happen, we all know the bible does not include everything, only that which we are meant to know…keep in mind there is ALOT more that we dont know.

Im curious if anyone can speculate about how long adam and eve were living in the garden before they ate of the fruit? I realize their lifespans were MUCH longer than ours and I believe humans back then lived close to 900 or more years, also since we know adam and eve were never kids, they were created as adults, so it is actually unlikely they DID NOT procreate in all those years before the fall…Im guessing it was at least a 100 yrs or so before they ate of the fruit…?but not sure of this.

It’s hard for me to speculate the way you want since I tend to reject a literal translation of the Creation Story.

I personally believe that humans evolved along with all life under Gods plan. That the first Adam and Eve where the two chosen by God to have a soul infused by his breath, and that they lived under his care here on earth until they rebelled.

Therefore all of this took place on this earth meaning any “unfallen” children would still be present.

Thanks, yes that is how I see it theologically also.
(Incidentally would you also conclude that Mary did not in fact need to be Redeemed because she was already conceived in original Justice with sanctifying grace?).

The only reason Mary was created by God sinless was because if the Redemption of Christ.

In her own words “I rejoice in God my Savior”

The way that Mary was kept immaculate, that is free of original sin of Adam, was that she had the fullness of the divine life of grace from the first moment she was conceived in the womb of her mother St. Ann. This is explained by the understanding that Christ’s merits on his cross were administered upon Mary simultaneously with her conception, and thus preserving her from the sin of Adam. Yet Mary was still redeemed by her own son’s death, but full grace applied in advance. As angel Gabriel said, “Hail Mary full of grace”, which was said in advance of Christ’s life and death.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

I see no reason why the timing of the births would have had any impact on the withdrawal of the supernatural gifts God had bestowed on the human race from the children. It seems that thoughts expressed on this thread as to the possible existence of two races of men, fallen and unfallen, follow the same flawed understanding of original sin that many non Catholics hold: namely the original sin is transmitted biologically, as if the was a new “sin-gene” given to man as punishment of the fall.

No that’s not how I believe original sin is passed down. Although original sin does affect our physical bodies.

But no, the speculation in two lines of men has to do with free will.

If Adam and Eve had children before the fall, then those children had free will like Adam and Eve. They had the same rules for them as for Adam and Eve. The same command from God.

So if their parents fell from grace, why should they?

If your parents are horrible sinners and God judges them should you face the same punishment ? Should I?


So too with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve did not hold the free will of all humans alive at the time (I would of course say it was just the two of them) Just themselves. The fallen nature stems from their choice and the race of modern humans that followed them where born into that fallen state.

And the answer is different based on the timing of the birth’s?

Why could they not:
(a) still be in Eden?
Nobody said Eden was a place that any fallen jungle explorer could find on earth. (As is the case with “Paradise”, “limbo”, “Sheol”, “the bosom of Abraham etc”).
There is an angel with a flaming sword guarding Eden to prevent fallen humans from returning and vice-versa. I don’t expect that to be a physical gate.

(b) be Translated to heaven (without death).
Many Fathers opine that Eden was never meant to be our final abode (as is also the case with Purgatory).
All going well the inhabitants would grow old an eventually be Translated to heaven “when their time had come” pretty much like Mary.
(Though Mary actually died in solidarity with all those living outside of Eden (but without corruption) as Eastern Catholic tradition attests.)

Yes, it is a Church Teaching that the Wound we bear is not due to our personal sin but due to that personal sin of our forebears. It is communicated by the processes of biological generation.
Therefore, at face value, this teaching means that progeny generated before Adm’s Fall cannot have “the Wound” retroactively applied. Unless the “time” in Eden is a very different beast from “time” on earth.

It is a point of controversy/mystery as to how such passing down of the Wound can actually happen.
It cannot be passed down by the soul, as that is made perfect by God at the moment of conception. Neither can it be passed down by some flaw in the biology of either Adam or Eve (not even genetic) because it is the soul that shapes the body.

Aquinas proposes a solution based on some flaw in the efficacy of the semen.
However this answer is no longer serviceable as the ancients had a completely wrong understanding of how the semen transmits life.
(They believed semen was basically a sort of spiritual,catalystic architect-bot that “shaped” the mother’s biological matter without contributing anything material itself).

So it seems we have a teaching that nobody is able to elegantly explain at a philosophical level yet due to breakthrough advances in understanding reproductive biology from a mere 150 years ago.


If Eve only had sinned, Adam would not have been punished, nor their kids. M

I’m not sure why you think they should be??

Well, if God felt the need to place an angel with a flaming sword to prevent the fallen from entering Eden, this implies that a fallen person COULD find Eden today, but still would not be able to enter…that is interesting, i did not know about the angel guarding the entrance.

Ive seen a few documentaries and know some experts today have a pretty good idea on where Eden was according to the bible, but there is no evidence of a paradise still there, but could it be somehow hidden…or underground?

This is a misrepresentation of what Aquinas said.

Article 1. Whether the first sin of our first parent is contracted by his descendants, by way of origin?

I answer that, According to the Catholic Faith we are bound to hold that the first sin of the first man is transmitted to his descendants, by way of origin. For this reason children are taken to be baptized soon after their birth, to show that they have to be washed from some uncleanness. The contrary is part of the Pelagian heresy, as is clear from Augustine in many of his books [For instance, Retract. i, 9; De Pecc. Merit. et Remiss. ix; Contra Julian. iii, 1; De Dono Persev. xi, xii.]

In endeavoring to explain how the sin of our first parent could be transmitted by way of origin to his descendants, various writers have gone about it in various ways. For some, considering that the subject of sin is the rational soul, maintained that the rational soul is transmitted with the semen, so that thus an infected soul would seem to produce other infected souls. Others, rejecting this as erroneous, endeavored to show how the guilt of the parent’s soul can be transmitted to the children, even though the soul be not transmitted, from the fact that defects of the body are transmitted from parent to child–thus a leper may beget a leper, or a gouty man may be the father of a gouty son, on account of some seminal corruption, although this corruption is not leprosy or gout. Now since the body is proportionate to the soul, and since the soul’s defects redound into the body, and vice versa, in like manner, say they, a culpable defect of the soul is passed on to the child, through the transmission of the semen, albeit the semen itself is not the subject of the guilt.

But all these explanations are insufficient. Because, granted that some bodily defects are transmitted by way of origin from parent to child, and granted that even some defects of the soul are transmitted in consequence, on account of a defect in the bodily habit, as in the case of idiots begetting idiots; nevertheless the fact of having a defect by the way of origin seems to exclude the notion of guilt, which is essentially something voluntary. Wherefore granted that the rational soul were transmitted, from the very fact that the stain on the child’s soul is not in its will, it would cease to be a guilty stain binding its subject to punishment; for, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5), “no one reproaches a man born blind; one rather takes pity on him.”

Therefore we must explain the matter otherwise by saying that all men born of Adam may be considered as one man, inasmuch as they have one common nature, which they receive from their first parents; even as in civil matters, all who are members of one community are reputed as one body, and the whole community as one man. Indeed Porphyry says (Praedic., De Specie) that “by sharing the same species, many men are one man.” Accordingly the multitude of men born of Adam, are as so many members of one body. Now the action of one member of the body, of the hand for instance, is voluntary not by the will of that hand, but by the will of the soul, the first mover of the members. Wherefore a murder which the hand commits would not be imputed as a sin to the hand, considered by itself as apart from the body, but is imputed to it as something belonging to man and moved by man’s first moving principle. In this way, then, the disorder which is in this man born of Adam, is voluntary, not by his will, but by the will of his first parent, who, by the movement of generation, moves all who originate from him, even as the soul’s will moves all the members to their actions. Hence the sin which is thus transmitted by the first parent to his descendants is called “original,” just as the sin which flows from the soul into the bodily members is called “actual.” And just as the actual sin that is committed by a member of the body, is not the sin of that member, except inasmuch as that member is a part of the man, for which reason it is called a “human sin”; so original sin is not the sin of this person, except inasmuch as this person receives his nature from his first parent, for which reason it is called the “sin of nature,” according to Ephesians 2:3: “We . . . were by nature children of wrath.”

(Boldness added)

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