Eve is conspicuous by omission, in Humani Generis


When I look at Humani Generis paras 36 & 37, I can clearly see the author trying to leave the door open for an ‘evolustic’ explanation of human origins, whilst simultaneously strenuously insisting that the doctrine of Original Sin is not up for negotiation/dilution. I think it is very significant/fortunate that he avoided the slightest mention Eve. He (rightly) put all the stress on Adam, since Adam alone is relevant for the transmission of Original Sin.

If you look at it practically, it is highly unlikely that Adam, especially in his fallen state, remained faithful to Eve once they were out of Eden (he blamed her for his downfall, remember?). It is quite likely that both of them led promiscuous lives thereafter, under the “slavery of sin”. Whom would they have mated with? Mates could have come from their contemporary group (in an evolustic scenario) or from other humanoid animals then existing.

If Eve indeed had any progeny from other mates, we can safely assume that God let/arranged for those lineages to die out. The same can be said of progeny (if any) of contemporary human couples (if any) existing.

Though we do not know how long Adam lived, I tend to think that God gave him a generously long fertile life (even running into a millennium plus) so that he could have a very, very large number of mates and therefore a humongous progeny. All these progeny and their lineages would carry the stain of Original Sin.

My prime reason for constructing this scenario is that I want to keep Adam as the earliest common ancestor of the human race whist simultaneously ensuring a very large initial gene pool. This is very crucial in order to account for the vast diversity in the human gene pool seen today. Two of the scientific objections to the ‘Adam and Eve first couple’ story is that (a) the diverse human gene pool of today could not possibly have stemmed from a single intial couple, and (b) at no point in history did the human population fall below the tens of thousands. By allowing Adam a large number of mates (running into 10,000+ in the course of a millenium of prolific sexual intercourse), I hope to tide over both the objections. I’m not sure how comfortable genetic scientists would be with such a proposition.

I don’t think that such a stand has the colour of Polygenism as proscribed in HG37, because here Adam means a real and unique individual and not a group of ‘Adams’. This is not to deny the existence of Eve. She would have really existed and played her part in the Fall, but after that she becomes irrelevant.


Let me suggest that you don’t understand what the Church means by polygenism.
You have to keep in mind that when the Church speaks about the human person, it speaks about the unity of body and soul, not just a material being.

The Church addresses humanity as a whole being before God, body and soul. And this is the context in which polygenism must be regarded, IF you are discussing the Catholic context.


I really don’t think that evolution is compatible with the doctrine of original sin.


What does the Church say about evolution?


She doesn’t. She talks of creation http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p4.htm
Evolution is non-scientific, a jumble of ideas none of which can be tested, and most of which are antagonistic to the bible account of creation

“In Humani generis , Pope Pius held a corporate view of theology. Theologians, employed by the Church, are assistants, to teach the official teachings of the Church and not their own private thoughts. They are free to engage in all kinds of empirical research, which the Church will generously support, but in matters of morality and religion, they are subjected to the teaching office and authority of the Church, the Magisterium.” Wikipedia


Look out for the flack you might receive for that comment.


…which particular comment might produce the flack?


The Catholic Church does not mandate that we deny science, nor that we accept it. Science and faith do not contradict each other. God gave us brains – I believe He expected us to use them.


Absolutely agree with you
Just saying that Evolutionary theory is not scientific at all


The one I replied to where you quoted the person who quoted me.


Thanks. The Lord wants us to deal with teaching contrary to the Biblical account, so I think I’ll cope


I think you might like reading thomisticevolution.org, especially





In the same vein is Fr. Spitzer’s article regarding mono vs poly.

Another interesting read is Edward Fesser’s views which I believe are quite similar to what you’re thinking.


What does evolution say about original sin?

There is however one reality, which includes the fall that brought death into the world. I guess belief in evolution does away with that and the reason why the Word was made man, died and was resurrected that we might gain eternal life in Him. The actual science can be reconceptualized within a vision that sees creation rather than evolution. There is no conflict between good science and the Church’s teachings. Evolution is a story, an organization of scientific facts into a mythos which serves the purposes of justifying secular values.


I’m pretty sure that genetic scientists wouldn’t give it a second’s thought, let alone be made uncomfortable by it…


I found this “Pints With Aquinas” podcast on this subject helpful: http://pintswithaquinas.com/podcast/adam-eve-and-evolution/


So do you accept the fall of Adam to be a true account?


Of course.


I’d like to meet you for a beer to discuss this, but I guess you are in the USA while I’m in the UK

Keep up the good work


(by the Church, I’m talking about discussion by Pope’s, theologians, that sort of thing)
What do people who are proficient in the topic say about it?
I hope my question is not too ambiguous.


You can believe it, just as you can believe in unicorns as long as it does not conflict with our faith, which includes the reality of original sin. I hope this isn’t ambiguous either.

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