Literal Rib?


#1

I think we’ve covered this before but…Just came home from Good Friday Mass and during the Homily our priest something about Adam and Eve and that Eve was made from Adams side, his rib. Do we, as Catholics need to believe this literally or can we believe this part of Genesis as figurative?
And before anyone says it has to be literal because women have one less rib than men, they do not.


#2

Yes it is literal but too many cafeteria Catholics will tell you that it goes against their evolutionary beliefs unfortunately.


#3

No it is not literal. John Paul The Great even said that evolution is more than a hypothesis. So you are able to believe in evolution and not the literal version of Genesis.

No we are not Cafeteria Catholics who believe in evolution we are militant Catholics.

However the Church does teach that you can believe in almost any form of origin as long as you acknowledge that God is the creator.


#4

The Church, while She allows for belief in both evolution and six-day creation, firmly teaches monogenism. See Ven. Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis.


#5

The whole creation of paradise story, is a metaphor, as is the story about the new paradise. There was no literal tree of life in the past and there is no literal tree of life in the future.


#6

I just want my question (s) answered, please let’s not segue into Creationism or evolution, as there is a ban on such topics.


#7

Sorry about that.

As to your initial question, as Nelka said, the answer is yes.


#8

It’s ok. I shouldn’t have even quoted you and just posted the reminder without the quote. :slight_smile:


#9

I believe it’s literal, Genesis says God put Adam to sleep, opened him up and took out his rib, then when Adam saw her he said this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. That sounds literal to me. Especially the part about God putting him to sleep like how doctors do patients before operating on them. :wink:


#10

I didn’t think it had to be literal. I really wish people who have other views could make the distinction between what we’re allowed to believe vs what we’re required to believe.
I found an old email from my pastor a Msgr., who told me a few years ago to not read that literally. I just found it again, it was buried in far too much Ii’ve saved on my computer.


#11

We are not required to believe either way, but if you believe it literally then you would be in great company of many saints of the Church. It is quite easy to believe since we are required to literally believe many things that are much more complex and miraculous within the Christian faith.


#12

If you believe this story literally, then you therefore are required to believe that God didn’t realize that an animal wouldn’t be a good ‘partner’ for Adam – that is, He had to wait until Adam gave each animal a ‘try-out’ before He said, “Hmm… I guess I’ll have to make another creature to be a proper help-mate; after all, none of these ones worked out.”

In other words, if you believe in this story literally, then I guess you don’t believe in an omniscent God… :wink:


#13

Thanks, but that was a wee bit over my head. :blush: Are you saying we don’t have to believe that Eve literally came from Adam’s rib?

Side note: Whenever I write or read “Adams rib” it reminds me of the MASH episode where Hawkeye gets a rib restaurant in the States called Adams Rib to send them ribs.


#14

We can believe this literally [and for which we should], and it will not mean that women would have one less rib than men.

If, for example, we remove a rib from a man (surgically, of course), will his offspring now have one less rib, just like him?


#15

Look at the text of Genesis 2:18-22 …

The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him. So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name. The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man.

So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman.

If you want to believe in it literally (which, as some have noted, the Church doesn’t prohibit you from doing), you have to accept that God created only animals as “a helper suited to” Adam. And then, only after seeing that “none proved to be a helper suited to” him, God created Eve. Therefore, as the inspired writer wrote it up, God had an “oops, time for a ‘Plan B’” moment. That would imply that God isn’t all-knowing; rather, He didn’t realize that animals wouldn’t be a good fit. :wink:

So, yeah: I’m saying that there are certain problematic issues that result when we attempt to look at this passage literally.


#16

You appear to be reading more into the text than what is there, or supposing that God brought them to him not knowing that the animals would be able to be a helper or not, and then you are taking that obscure interpretation of yours and trying to force everyone that believes in a literal position would have to follow that line of thinking. I’ve never heard any of the Church Fathers or St. Thomas Aquinas even mention that, and they always look at all angles. But for the sake of conversation, I do want to mention that God will often ask questions or let people be a part of a process of determining things in order, not for God to figure something out that He already knows, but as a learning process for the sake of man. Sometimes God will man go through the experience to learn.


#17

It is literal. See Arcanum, number 5, by Pope Leo XIII.

Peace,
Ed


#18

Well… it’s difficult not to reach that conclusion. After all, the text says, “[God said, ']I will make a helper suited to him. So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man… but none proved to be a helper suited to the man.”

for the sake of conversation, I do want to mention that God will often ask questions or let people be a part of a process of determining things in order, not for God to figure something out that He already knows, but as a learning process for the sake of man.

Fair enough. Yet, in this case, God isn’t asking a question – He isn’t asking Adam, “do you think that any of these animals are an appropriate helper for you?” Now, you might make the assertion that what’s really happening here is that God already knows that only Eve will be Adam’s helper, and He’s only going through the paces to help demonstrate to Adam that the animals don’t fit the bill. Yet, a close reading of the text forces us to ask a question: if God declares that He wants a helpmate for Adam, why does it say that, “so, the Lord God formed the animals”? After all, the ‘so’ here tells us that the creation of the animals is the result of the desire for a helpmate. It’s not as if the animals already exist, and Adam might be tempted to think that they’re his helpmate, and therefore God has to demonstrate to him that they’re not! No… the creation of the animals, in the mind of the inspired writer, is the response to God’s desire to have a helpmate for Adam. You might want to suggest otherwise, but that’s certainly not what the text puts before us.

And yet, you suggest that the Church Fathers thought otherwise. Can you provide a citation that demonstrates that any of them thought that the creation of the animals (in Genesis 2) was actually a ‘teaching moment’ for Adam?

you are taking that obscure interpretation of yours and trying to force everyone that believes in a literal position would have to follow that line of thinking

Certainly I’m doing no such thing. But, now that you mention it… can you provide an alternative explanation? You’ve attempted one here, of course, but I’ve demonstrated that it fails to explain the narrative of Genesis 2. Perhaps you have some other explanation in mind that we might consider? I’m hoping that you might have a reference to Aquinas that might shed light on your wholesale refusal to consider my question.


#19

Here is something that the 1909 Biblical Commission said (D 2123):

2123 Question 111: Whether in particular the literal and historical sense can be called into question, where it is a matter of facts related in the same chapters, which pertain to the foundations of the Christian religion; for example, among others, the creation of all things wrought by God in the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man; the oneness of the human race; the original happiness of our first parents in the state of justice, integrity, and immortality; the command given to man by God to prove his obedience; the transgression of the divine command through the devil’s persuasion under the guise of a serpent; the casting of our first parents out of that first state of innocence; and also the promise of a future restorer?–Reply: In the negative.


#20

And here’s something that the Biblical Commission said in 1993:

The literal sense is not to be confused with the “literalist” sense to which fundamentalists are attached. It is not sufficient to translate a text word for word in order to obtain its literal sense. One must understand the text according to the literary conventions of the time… When it is a question of a story, the literal sense does not necessarily imply belief that the facts recounted actually took place, for a story need not belong to the genre of history but be instead a work of imaginative fiction.

The literal sense of Scripture is that which has been expressed directly by the inspired human authors. Since it is the fruit of inspiration, this sense is also intended by God, as principal author. One arrives at this sense by means of a careful analysis of the text, within its literary and historical context.

Note especially that literal ≠ literalist, and that “the literal sense does not necessarily imply belief that the facts recounted actually took place.” :wink:


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