Father Robert Barron said that Adam was a figurative figure not a literal one? Help!

Ok, so I really respect Father Robert Baron, but I came across this video:


at the 6 minute mark

And to say I was shocked was an understatement.

Can anyone provide some insight here? Doesn’t this fly in the face of original sin? I am sooooooo confused.:frowning:

But for Adam

But for Adamf] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribsg] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the ribh] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

  • Genesis 2

It is clear from this extract from Genesis that the account of Creation is allegorical rather than literally true.

Why do you think that the spiritual condition of original sin requires the literal existence of a specific man named Adam?

Wait what? How can it not??? Please enlighten me. I thought we all inherited sin from one man and woman? The first man and woman? Adam and Eve?

I am so confused here!

But that discredits original sin, does it not? I mean I understand that genesis cannot be read as a historical scientific account, but the acceptance of One souled man and One souled woman is essential to the truth of original sin and why our Lord had to die on the cross… No?

Just for clarity, I know that a specific man would not need to be called Adam for a correct reading of Genesis.

But there was A SPECIFIC man and A SPECIFIC woman who were given souls who were our first parents, who sinned (obviously as they were human), and we inherited that original sin, no?

If I were you I would avoid Fr Barron and stick to the catechism. Sometimes when one attempts to clarify a teaching it just causes confusion.Go to the source

The Catholic teaching on Adam and Eve is very specific though allegory is allowed in the interpretation. However it is clear # 375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original “state of holiness and justice”. This grace of original holiness was “to share in. . . divine life”.

390 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.

399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

Some of Fr Barrons his teachings on being “born again” are also apt to mislead unintentionally.He clarified his statements in another video regarding Catholic views on the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. A Catholic is “born again” through the waters of baptism.Many protestants sects see being born again as an experience separate from Baptism.

So would you say he misspoke, or was unclear. The video may point to him simply saying that - Adam, not the literal Adam of Genesis, but the theological one, was the one tasked with naming the animals, which of course seems illogical in an actual sense. I hope that’s what he meant.

He never said he doesn’t beleive in original sin, so it stands to reason, that he sees the account of Adam and Eve’s fall as being real, but not historically depicted as it written in genesis - Does that make sense?

I’m scratching my head hard on this one…

I listened to a few of Fr Barrons videos and was not satisfied with his clarity. I prefer to stick with the catechism to learn what the Church teaches.

As far as the account of genesis and the talking snake,yes,I doubt that was real,but it may have been symbolic of man’s desire to usurp God in deciding what is good and what is evil.

There are also schools of thought that see the forbidden fruit as spiritual enlightenment and the serpent a representation of the kundalini.

While the Church does allow for a figurative interpretation of the “six days” Creation tale, she DOES still require belief in a literal Adam and Eve, or as it is called in biology circles, monogenesis. See Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis, which can be found here:


The thing that bothers me the most is that he has been asked to clarify his position and hasn’t.

See here:


I don’t get it. What’s going on with Father Barron, who I admire so much???

I’m not sure- without a further explanation from him, we won’t be able to tell whether he just misspoke or is in need of correction. I admire him as well, and I hope the issue will be resolved soon.

The document you really ought to read if you want the Church’s official (and indeed infallible, through the Ordinary Magisterium) teaching on this is Humani Generis by Pius XII. It’s a long document and he deals with other issues as well, if you are interested I cover the document (by quoting extensively) on my Blog HERE. Give it a read if you are interested. The money line might be “original sin… proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam”

As far as Fr. Barron goes, he is a good evangelist and stays within the bounds of orthodoxy. He does have some opinions (which the Church allows us to have) which I think he is dead wrong on (e.g. his promotion of universalism) but i wouldn’t avoid listening to him or reading him because of that. Michelle Arnold had an article in Catholic Answers Magazine, or maybe a blog post here on Catholic.com, that dealt with reading with a filter rather than avoiding certain authors. Someone might be able to find a link. God bless. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

I believe that God created man and woman. The how and when I do not know. I believe the account in Scripture is telling us a story. Was the first humans named Adam and Eve? I seriously doubt it, but yet the moral of the story still holds true whether their name’s were Steve and Jane or Emash and Isodole. OS is still there because whomever were the first, brought about sin.

Fundamentalist will prescribe to the story as 100% truth. That is wonderful if one believes that but not really important as long as one gets the meaning of what the author was trying to get across. Make sense?

It does make sense, absolutely - and I agree and hold to that notion. I wonder if Father Barron could have been more clear on this though.

When I was in seminary, we had one guy that brought forth the idea that Adam(was a tribe) and Eve(was a tribe) and everyone got into a frenzy over it. I calmly reminded them that we have no clue if they were tribes or singles but the MORAL of the story still rings true.

Example: There was a boy Johnny that loved to play outside. Every night when the sun was going down, his mother would call for him to come in. One dusk he did not listen to her call and continued to play. The sun set and the moon and stars were out before he decided to go home. On his way home, a boogieman jumped out of the woods and snatched him. No one ever heard from Johnny again.

This is a story that my grandmother would tell us. The moral of the story was to listen to your parents. Was Johnny real and was the boogieman really going to get me if I stayed out after dark? Who cares! lol Listen and obey your parents is what one should get out of that story. lol

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