Genesis details

Although these are three question with long explanations, I think they should only result in short answers. So I put these three in one thread.

  1. The Church teaches that we have a lineage to Adam and Eve, as stated in Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis

  2. 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 that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent 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 with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]

However my question is whether this is stating we have an exclusive origin from Adam and Eve or that we have an origin through Adam and Eve. (when I say “human species,” I mean a biologically a human being or of a close relative that does not have a soul since only Adam and Eve and their descendants had souls)

What I do know this rejects is the idea that some have an origin outside of Adam and Eve (polygenism). However, does this also reject the idea that we have a lineage from Adam and Eve but also from other human species?

For example. Adam and Eve had a child. The child had relations with another human species. They have a baby. The baby has its ancestry tied to Adam and Eve. Is this possible within Pope Pius XII’s encyclical on defining monogeism? Or do all humans today have EXCLUSIVE ancestry to ONLY Adam and Eve? I ask this because I’ve always considered Neanderthals to not be truly humans, however Europeans and others have Neanderthal DNA, implying that there was interbreeding between regular humans and Neanderthals. Unless, Neanderthals are descendants of Adam and Eve?

  1. I know the Genesis account does not have to be viewed literally as Church teaching (besides certain specifics such as original set of parents). However, in regards to Adam being made by God, can this be viewed as Adam being born from human species parents, but that only with Adam’s conception that God gave him a soul, hence making Adam the beginning of true humans (with souls). Or does the Church teach a literal point of view that Adam was made completely independently from the rest of the human species? I’ve always viewed with the creation of Adam that he was born from human species but that he was still the first true human because he was the first one to be given a soul. Is this view rejected by the Church? I still view him as one of our original parents, but that Adam was created by God via evolution (and given a soul). I know the church also accepts theistic evolution, but whether it’s acceptable to see Adam being created via evolution or whether his creation is completely independent.

  2. God does not change in what is right and wrong. In His original creation, what is right for them should not be wrong for us. Incest is wrong, however I disagree that God allowed incest in the early days of humanity to populate the Earth. I see this analogous to committing evil (or sin) as a means to an end. If Eden and Genesis was as it should be without sin, then why would God allow something detestable to occur to populate the Earth? Does the church have a stance on this, and whether I can believe God somehow miraculously created wives for children of Adam and Eve?

Re. Adam and Eve, I recommend the following Catholic perspective:

Science, Theology, and Monogenesis (

Science cannot say anything about a soul. So it is not possible, either scientifically or through scripture, to make that connection. Look at the different races alive today. We can interbreed. There are two birds alive today that look almost identical but cannot interbreed.

As far as Adam and Eve’s children:


Exactly, what is incest? And specifically, what is wrong with incest?

In terms of ensoulment, I’m not saying that science can determine anything about a soul, but just as today we understand ensoulment to take place some time during conception or right after, that I would apply it similarly to Adam’s case in his conception. As for your second and third sentence, I’m not exactly sure what you are trying to say :confused:.

And I am familiar with Saint Augustine’s answer for the wives of Adam and Eve’s children, hence how I even know of that explanation in the first place. However, like I explained in part 3 of my initial post, I am not really satisfied with that answer. Hence, I guess my question is whether it is okay within Church teaching to reject what Saint Augustine said and to believe that there was no incest taking place in the initial populating of the Earth.

I know that incest (as something wrong) wasn’t defined until Leviticus. However, am I mistaken to believe that incest is inherently sinful?
If not, then I guess St. Augustine’s explanation for populating the Earth is perfectly fine. However, I am on the premise and knowledge that incest is inherently sinful because in Leviticus it says it dishonors (whomever based on who the incest is done with etc.).

So is incest inherently sinful?

Sorry, I cannot answer that because my basic questions
Exactly, what is incest? And specifically, what is wrong with incest?
have not been answered.

Leviticus and St. Augustine were mentioned but there was no mention of action and by whom and why etc. So I have no clue about some mysterious inherently sinful thing. Perhaps, since Adam and Eve lived long before Leviticus and St. Augustine, whatever incest was and by whom may have been perfectly normal. Personally, I prefer the positive approach.:smiley:

By incest, I meant any relations between siblings, cousins, and parents/children. Not exactly sure on the specificity to what degree though between cousins, but that’s the general idea of what I meant by incest (how it is understood today generally).

Okay, I just so happened to find a forum where a person discussed why it was not a sin in Adam and Eve’s case (and by incest, I mean any sexual or romantic relations between those of close kin, such as between siblings, parent-children, grandparent-children, cousins, etc.). Is this a proper answer (person also linked to a document about it).

In the case of Adam and Eve, it was not a sin because it is not against divine law (incest of the direct line, child, parent, grandparent, etc.). In the case of Adam and Eve’s children, relations between siblings was not incest/sin because it was not against divine law as they are of the collateral line (not direct line). However, especially in the case of genetic mishaps and the fact that man became sinful, it became canon law that marital relations cannot occur between those of the collateral line (siblings and cousins) and was then hence a sin.

So incest of the direct line (parent, child, grandparent) is intrinsically evil and is a no-no under all circumstances as it is against divine law.
However, incest between those close of kin of the collateral line (siblings, cousins) is not intrinsically evil because it is not against divine law and hence any sibling or cousin relations of Genesis were not sinful. However, with the genetic mishaps and issues that may arise from relations between close of kin, it became canon law (Leviticus) that it was a sin and so since then, any relations between close of kin became extrinsically evil and thus a sin.

Is this the correct understanding?
Here is the link I read.

Thank you for your personal research. My apology, due to time limits on my part, I only read the first essential part of the link. Nonetheless, what you posted is the same that I previously found, that is, sexual relations would be forbidden in the direct line. Another reason that direct line incest would be forbidden is that the structure of the family would crumble especially when the incest is between parent and child as their roles would be confused. To me personally, maintaining the family structure would be primary during the first generations of the human species.

When we look mathematically at the first human generations, given the length of female fertility which would lead to overlapping generations, it would be a relatively short period in which siblings would marry. As for genetic mishaps, depending on their type, it would take more than a few initial generations to develop them to the point that specific genes would always affect certain descendants with serious diseases.

The reason I started with question 3 is because once we establish that Adam and Eve were humanly capable to be the founders of humankind, it is easier to deal with the variables in the first two questions. For example: the question that whether or not we have an exclusive origin from Adam and Eve. Since Adam and Eve are capable first parents, there is no reason to consider the possibility of other human species.

I look forward to the discussions on points 1 and 2.

It is intrinsically evil between parent and child, but not between siblings, cousins, etc.

Thank you for answering. Considering you are a forum elder, can you answer how polygenism and monogeism is defined (question 1 of original post)? I understand polygenism means to have a lineage separate from Adam and Eve and thus against the doctrine (dogma?) of original sin and the fall of man. However, having a lineage to both Adam/Eve and non-ensouled people (such as human cousins/subspecies from evolution, or those biologically human but without souls), would that also fall under polygenism? Because monogeism seems to me that everyone must have a lineage to Adam/Eve, but does not necessarily rule out a lineage to other beings as well? (see example in original post).

Just not sure on the technicality of polygenism/monogeism and whether it rules out the possibility of interbreeding with non-ensouled people (those other than Adam/Eve). I think this way because I would think the offspring of Adam’s line and of non-ensouled people would inherit of the fallen nature of the lineage of Adam/Eve, hence my question on the specificity of monogeism/polygeism.

We have two issues to consider. There are humans among us without original sin and there are those among us without immortal souls.

Both these are positions that are irreconcilable with original sin and preternatural gifts.

Genesis and constant Catholic teaching makes it it clear we are all brothers and descendants of a historical Adam and Eve.

If it were so that there were humans among us without immortal souls would they really be human or animals? Could we tell they didn’t have rational souls? If there are humans among us without original sin they would not die, get sick and be free of disordered desires.

I will answer your question by asking you this: How do you know Neanderthals were not fully human since we could interbreed with them?


So monogeism is not just having a lineage from Adam and Eve, but a lineage that is exclusive to Adam and Eve? (so no matter which lineage of our ancestry we look, all of them will go back to Adam and Eve)?

In terms of those without souls, I thought that they just died off. At least to what I used to be taught (not sure what they teach now), that the modern day human came from Africa. Neanderthals, Homo Erectus, etc. ended up dying off as the modern man’s intelligence was superior. I was thinking along these lines, that those modern humans from Africa were descendants of Adam and Eve while every other species ended up dying off (Neanderthals and Homo Erectus). However, there recent articles I’ve read seem to imply interbreeding between Neanderthals and humans (from Africa) because Europeans seem to have some of their DNA from Neanderthals. So hence my question as to whether it is valid to think that some of the descendants of Adam and Eve interbred with those without souls (Neanderthals, Homo Erectus). Biologically they are essentially human but would also be given/made a soul by God as one of his/her parents was a true (ensouled) human.

Unless of course, Neanderthals and Homo Erectus are also ensouled humans, then my view is completely invalid, but considering I haven’t found any teaching that specifies this, this is why I’ve held this view until now.

I definitely believe in Adam and Eve being our original parents, but I am questioning the specifics of it, and whether to think in such a way is valid or against Church teaching.

This is just an assumption based on what I’ve been taught that Neanderthals died out and that modern day humans were largely from Africa (which I’ve always called the true humans of Adam and Eve). However, this is just an assumption. Regardless, even if biologically we were similar or almost the same, I’ve only called true humans those with souls. So if Neanderthals did not have souls, they would not be true humans (just human species). It’s just that I haven’t seem to have found any church documents that condemn such a view since they haven’t really gone into that specifics, so I ask whether my view has any opposition to Church teaching if I missed something or misunderstood something (I definitely don’t want to be in opposition of the Church since I wholeheartedly accept the authority of the Church and the Magisterium).

For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the learning of the learned I will set aside.”l

20Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?m 21* For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,n 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,o 24but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Are you trying to say that I should not pursue this question. :frowning:
Any of my questions on technicalities, evolution, and tying science with Church teaching does not tie in to justify my faith or belief in the church, or trying to be the wiser. Any speculation or thinking on things like this is because of enjoyment of speculation and thinking things out. Unless I’ve completely missed the point of this post and I am doing something wrong or have committed a sin? :confused:

:shrug: You can only get so far in your inquiry.

As I replied to a thread on suffering:
"Suffering is purifying. It unites us to the suffering of our Lord on the Cross. But more than that. What about our Lord’s entire life here on earth. All pure and all good surrounded by…the kinds of creatures who killed Him.

Servant of God Fulton Sheen describes it paraphrasing what would it be like for a human being to become a dog to save other dogs?"

This idea of connecting any scientific concept to the soul is a recent development. Humani Generis makes what the Church teaches clear. The problem is that threads of a similar nature get started on a regular basis. There is no way to prove man descended from proto-humans, so the Church stands in the middle of scientific claims. However, when combined with Divine Revelation, the Church tells us an individual Adam and individual Eve were the first parents of all as explained in Humani Generis.

I think threads like this serve three purposes:

  1. To attempt to connect scientific ideas to nonscientific ideas, like the soul, to human origins.

  2. To convince those who are unaware that God was a causal agent in creation that He was not.

  3. To advance the totally unscientific idea that souls exist and can make textbook biology compatible with Catholic teaching, at least for a moment, to cause confusion at least, and denial that God did anything at most.

The frequency of threads like this leads me to believe that this subject is “vitally” important to groups who wish to distort the work of God. It is clear that if anything happened, a guiding intelligence was involved. But I suggest the whole “and God dropped souls into two almost humans” idea stop. Science cannot study the soul. From the science side, it is incapable of drawing that conclusion based on its own rules.


I understand that we cannot know for sure since the Church has not received further revelation on such a matter, but my reason for this thread is to learn more about Catholic teaching on the matter to also ensure any views I may have are not against Church teaching.

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