Creation of Adam and Eve vs. Scientific Dating of Human Civilization


I’ve read that Adam and Eve are dated as having lived about 4000BC – however, some human civilizations (such as those based in Australia) are dated as old as 40,000 years. Does any one have insight on this issue and how we are to rectify this?


I assume you are referring to a countback on some of the genealogies in the Bible for the 4,000-year number (if I’m wrong let me know). It is assumed by some that those lists contain every generation from Adam. It may be, however, that the lists skip some generations and only list the “important” people. That could explain the discrepancy between the dating in the Bible and carbon dating. In short, both could be right.


Where have you read this? Not in any Church document.

There is nothing to reconcile. The Catholic Church does not teach the Earth is 6000 years old. The Church does not teach any scientific theories or facts.


In Joseph Deharbe’s A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion, it clearly teaches the time from creation to Jesus was 4,000 years, and that the history of the world is 6,000. If [at one point] it wasn’t the position of the Church, it would not have been taught to millions of Catholics in school.


I think it’s better classified as ‘a teaching/belief the Catholic church tolerated’ - it was not a dogma of the Catholic church. Along the lines of how various miracles are judged as permissable for Catholics to believe in (Like Fatima) without requiring Catholics to believe in them.


This is not a Church document.

This catechism is the work of a single man, not the Magesterium and not infallible or protected from error.

Your conclusion does not follow from your premise. There are numerous things that have been taught to “millions” of Catholics that are not and were not doctrine.

One example would be Limbo, which was taught to Catholics by nuns, brothers, etc, and was never a doctrine of the Church.


I suggest you look up the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Church has a strong interest in science.

I would also like to remind you that when Pope John Paul II stated that “evolution is more than a hypothesis,” it was quickly grabbed and used as a weapon by the anti-God crowd.

Read “Human Persons Created in the Image of God.” It is filled with statements about science, especially regarding scientific knowledge and how it should be viewed by the faithful.

God bless,


The Catholic Church does not view the Bible as a Science textbook.

In Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII made certain things very clear.

*]~ Adam is the first parent of all mankind (HG #37)[/LIST][LIST]
*] ~ Genesis is history in a true sense (HG #38)[/LIST][LIST]
*] ~ Genesis chapters 1-11 is not a myth. (HG #39)[/LIST]See also Catechism chapters:

*]1. CCC #'s 296-299[/LIST][LIST]
*] 2. CCC #'s 355-358[/LIST][LIST]
*] 3. CCC #'s 371[/LIST][LIST]
*] 4. CCC #'s 54-55, 359-360, 375, 390-392, 402-405, 407, 416-417, 419[/LIST] ~ First parents
~ Personal sin
*] 5. CCC #'s 374-379, 384, 398, 415-416[/LIST][LIST]
*] 6. CCC #'s 396-397, 399[/LIST][LIST]
*] 7. CCC #'s 379, 390-392, 394-395, 397-398, 413-415[/LIST][LIST]
*] 8. CCC #'s 379, 390, 399-400, 410 -411[/LIST]God is the primary author of the Bible, however, we must take into account that the ‘pen’ used was in the hand of man. We must read understanding the context of which each book was written and with the scientific knowledge or lacktherof at the time of the authorship.



I disagree. All scripture is given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. Humani Generis very carefully lays out the conditions under which scripture and science should be studied. Any who say that the Bible is not a science book should remember that science is being used to attack it.

When the Church tells us that truth cannot contradict truth, it is not referring to a dictatorship. Truth flows both ways, not one way.

God bless,


We have to assume, though, don’t we, that the aboriginal people of Australia would have ended up there only AFTER the tower of Babel - right (as the flood would have wiped out the world’s population)? So that shortens the timeline more…


I have often considered this. It is possible (only a theory of mine), that people became people in the fullest sense when God gave them souls. Perhaps Homo Sapiens have been around for 40,000 years but only around 4000 BC did God “make them in His Own Image”. (i.e. having an immortal nature- the human soul)


One thread I started on this from the early days of the board.

When Did Adam/Eve Live?

My issue was the dating of the things mentioned in Genesis 4: metal working/metal tools, sophisticated musical instruments, domestication of animals/plants, cites, etc. That seems to put Cain/Abel at least in the 4000-5000 BC range since before 10000 BC everyone was still using stone tools. The things mentioned in Genesis 4 do not show up in the archaeological/cultural/anthropological record until 4000-5000 BC at the earliest.

Or: “The ecological and cultural environment described in Genesis 1-4 would represent not the historical environment of Adam and Eve (who date to 40,000 years ago or more), but rather that of the writer of Genesis.” (from Adam, Eve and the Hominid Fossil Record)

Phil P


Interpreting the Genealogies of Genesis Page 1
1 2 Challenged with the idea that Adam’s date is 4004 BC and that the Flood occurred in 2238 BC, Robert Sungenis shows that, according to biblical chronology and archeological findings, these dates would be impossible, for it would leave only 66 years between Noah and Abraham. Read as Robert shows that the genealogies are actually a biblical calendar that takes us back to about the year 10,000 BC, with the Flood occurring around 5,000 BC.


Science (mainstream science, not quacks) have shown that the most recent common ancestor for everyone alive today lived around 5000BC to 2000BC.

Maybe it’s related to that. Just a half-backed idea for you :wink:

Edit: The great flood around 3000BC would be where we could trace our common ancestry back to, going by bible pre-history.


Science (mainstream science, not quacks) have shown that the earliest common ancestor for everyone alive today lived around 5000BC to 2000BC.

Well, not quite…

**Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all humans via the mitochondrial DNA pathway, not the unqualified MRCA of all humanity. All living humans can trace their ancestry back to the MRCA via at least one of their parents, but Mitochondrial Eve is defined via the maternal line. Therefore, she necessarily lived much longer ago than the MRCA of all humanity.

The existence of Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam does not imply the existence of population bottlenecks or a first couple. They each lived within a large human population at a different time. Some of their contemporaries have no living descendants today, and others are ancestors of all people alive today. No contemporary of Mitochondrial Eve or Y-chromosomal Adam is an ancestor of only a subset of people alive today, because both of them lived much longer ago than the identical ancestors point.**

Maybe it’s related to that. Just a half-backed idea for you

There are some reasons to be skeptical, but it’s a reasonable idea. It makes sense for the last human common ancestor to have lived roughly at that time.


That would undercut our belief that we all decended from a single mother…at least I would think so.


This is not a doctrine of the Catholic Church. In fact only a very few very fundamental Protestant Churches accept this time frame.

Those who do accept this time frame are fairly vocal about it, so it may seem that there are more people who follow along this line of thought than actually do. But, it is not an issue within the Catholic Church.


It wouldn’t effect my belief one way or another. I would hope that my trust in God is somewhat greater than that.


Neil << Science (mainstream science, not quacks) have shown that the most recent common ancestor for everyone alive today lived around 5000BC to 2000BC. >>

Not sure where you are getting those numbers, but I would double-check with the geneticists who are experts in this area:

“…the fact that a single ancestor gave rise to all of the diversity present today does not mean that this was the only person alive at the time – only that descendent lineages of the other people alive at the same time died out…we are all the recent descendents of a single woman who lived in Africa less than 150,000 years ago. This result begs the question of where Eve actually lived – where in Africa was the Garden of Eden? In one sense this is a red herring, since we know that there were many women alive all over Africa at this time…the root of the male family tree was placed in Africa – exactly the same answer that mtDNA had given us for women. The shocker came when a date was estimated for the age of the oldest common ancestor. This man, from whom all men alive today ultimately derive their Y-chromosomes, lived 59,000 years ago. More than 80,000 years after that estimated for Eve! Did Adam and Eve never meet? No they didn’t, but the reason is fairly complicated…” (The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey by Spencer Wells [Random House Paperback, 2003], pages 32, 40, 54)

So it is more like 60,000 years ago for “Adam” and 150,000 years ago for “Eve.” These are not the biblical-Genesis Adam/Eve since, as the author explains, the “most recent common ancestor” does not mean they were the only couple alive. There were plenty of other people around at the time, but mathematically and genetically we trace back to this “Adam” and “Eve” (who are separated between themselves by 80,000 years).

There is also a PBS documentary available with Spencer Wells based on the book The Journey of Man.

Phil P


Its not a matter of trust, its a matter of being able to respond to objections raised by those without faith and trust, hence, the posting of this question in apologetics.

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