Please help, I'm in a debate with an atheist!


#1

Okay, I’ve cornored them and now the only argument they have left is a good one: Incest can cause humans to become deformed. How come we aren’t all deformed if Adam and Eve’s kids had sex with each other? Aren’t they related?


#2

Hi Chaz,

A biologist could anwer this better than me, but genetic modifications that can cause birth defect develop over time. Adam and Eve has a clean slate so to say, but as humans grew in number, so did genetic modifications, so that it became more and more dangerous to intermarry between close relatives.

Verbum


#3

[quote=Chazemataz]Incest can cause humans to become deformed.
[/quote]

I think you answered your own question.

Also, if you’re already past the ability of God to “guide” evolution or have had him come to grips with Adam being made out of dust, I’m not sure why this particular point is a stumbling block.

Keep in mind that if his argument turns (as tends to happen) to “If there was a God, there wouldn’t be so much evil in the world”, it’s exactly because there’s a God that he’s able to make objective moral decisions about evil. If there were no God, there would be no objective moral values with which to judge “evil” - without God, it’s all relative.

If there’s more clarification or support required for this discussion, please clarify what you’re looking for.

God bless,
RyanL


#4

[quote=Chazemataz]Okay, I’ve cornored them and now the only argument they have left is a good one: Incest can cause humans to become deformed. How come we aren’t all deformed if Adam and Eve’s kids had sex with each other? Aren’t they related?
[/quote]

**First of all, the Bible does not say that Adam and Eve’s children all had sex with each other. There were other human beings around them as well, but the fact is they were the first made and chosen by God. This is the reason why the Catholic Church allows us to take the story of creation in Genesis as symbolic. **

1The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have produced a man with the help of the LORD."
2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil. - Gen 4:1-2

Clearly here the Man is Adam who had sex with Eve to give birth to Abel and Cain. Later on…

17Cain had relations with his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. Cain also became the founder of a city, which he named after his son Enoch.
18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael; Mehujael became the father of Methusael, and Methusael became the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took two wives; the name of the first was Adah, and the name of the second Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, the ancestor of all who dwell in tents and keep cattle. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the pipe. 22 Zillah, on her part, gave birth to Tubalcain, the ancestor of all who forge instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; wives of Lamech, listen to my utterance: I have killed a man for wounding me, a boy for bruising me. 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” 25 6 Adam again had relations with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth. “God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel,” she said, “because Cain slew him.” 26 To Seth, in turn, a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to invoke the LORD by name. - Gen. 4:17-26

Clearly here, where did that other woman come from in which Cain had sex with? It isn’t recorded where she came from and obviously the only children Adam and Eve had at this point were Cain, Abel (who Cain killed), and Seth, all male. This proves that God made other people as well after the departure from the Garden of Eden. However, that fact isn’t recorded. There are questions that are unanswered, we call them “mysteries.”

1 1 When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, 2 2 the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose.- Gen 6:1-2

Notice here, “the daughters of man” and “the sons of heaven.” Clearly, this is telling us that there were men that were from heaven (in other words made by God) and women that were the offspring of men already made. The men from heaven married the daughters of men.


#5

If your atheist friend is really on the ball, he/she may ask you about the same thing with Noah after the flood and all the animals.

There was a study done sometime ago where scientists gained a great deal of noteriety by identifying the “magic pair.” I am not a scientist and probably butchering the terms, but basically, in terms of the number of chromosones, it would take a certain number of “parents” to proprogate the species. The number is certainly more than two.

This would certainly be a player in the beginning, and most definitely after the flood. I tend to believe that if God wants it to happen, it will happen. After all, we are all here, and have the ability to procreate.

Peace,

MilesJesu


#6

Is the Adam and Eve story literal? I am a Catholic (recently returned from the wilderness) and also a scientist. Therefore I believe in evolution and the big bang etc as it is scientific fact. To get around those things, you need to argue that science is incorrect in some way, or that God created a history for the Earth when he created the Earth.

Anyways, if you do believe in evolution - as I do - then can you also believe in the Adam and Eve story? Are we required to believe this is a literal story, as Catholics? Or can we take it to be an explanation; perhaps figurative? I think this is a really interesting topic and something I’m not so sure about.


#7

[quote=Atreyu]Is the Adam and Eve story literal? I am a Catholic (recently returned from the wilderness) and also a scientist. Therefore I believe in evolution and the big bang etc as it is scientific fact. To get around those things, you need to argue that science is incorrect in some way, or that God created a history for the Earth when he created the Earth.

Anyways, if you do believe in evolution - as I do - then can you also believe in the Adam and Eve story? Are we required to believe this is a literal story, as Catholics? Or can we take it to be an explanation; perhaps figurative? I think this is a really interesting topic and something I’m not so sure about.
[/quote]

Here is something that can help you out Catholics on Creation I’m still deciding for myself how much evolution I want to believe. I don’t agree with the big bang but I do believe in some evolution. Here are some Protestants on Creation


#8

[quote=Atreyu]Is the Adam and Eve story literal? I am a Catholic (recently returned from the wilderness) and also a scientist. Therefore I believe in evolution and the big bang etc as it is scientific fact. To get around those things, you need to argue that science is incorrect in some way, or that God created a history for the Earth when he created the Earth.

[/quote]

About evolution - try this one for size:

ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/BMBTTL.HTM

The important thing is that evolution too is a theory and is not very clearly and conclusively proven.About Adam and Eve, the church has declared that they are more than mere stories/figurative stuff - they did exist!!

Blessings.


#9

[quote=epiphania]About Adam and Eve, the church has declared that they are more than mere stories/figurative stuff - they did exist!!

Blessings.
[/quote]

Wel-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l, even THAT is a mistatement of the Church’s position.

To say that “there was a first man and a first woman” is not the same thing as saying, “Adam and Eve did exist.” The Adam and Eve story is a Dr.-Seuss-type story invented by the ancient Hebrews, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit so that it teaches theology. Saying, “Adam and Eve existed” is like saying “Dick and Jane and Spot and Puff, from our second grade readers, existed.”

“Adam and Eve,” for example, are defined by Genesis 2 as “two people whom God introduced to each other after God, in a moronic fashion, tried to match Adam up with a bunch of animals.” Read Genesis 2:18-23. Do you REALLY believe that God is a moron?

Virtually every single element of the plaintext-level story suffers from a characteristic which guarantees that the story is pure fiction which teaches religious truth.


#10

I believe it was Pius XII that described evolution as “probable scientific fact”. The Church does state, however, that all of humanity does descend from one man and one woman, while Genesis may and probably should be taken figuratively, this is something the Church will not waver on. To deny this would be to put into question original sin. I believe this terms are monogenesis versus polygenesis. Not sure, I can double check the encyclical if anyone wants. God Bless.


#11

BibleReader (whose posts I typically enjoy greatly),

Adam and Eve is not a “Dick and Jane” story. If you would make the claim that this is the case and it is entirely fictional, I refer you to the Church:

“the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God” (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36)

“The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers” (CCC 283)

“Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine ‘work,’ concluded by the ‘rest’ of the seventh day” (CCC 337), but “nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history is rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun” (CCC 338)

“When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism [generation of man from a pool of early human couples], the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents 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 that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

“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” (CCC 390)

“no real disagreement can exist between the theologian and the scientist provided each keeps within his own limits. . . . If nevertheless there is a disagreement . . . it should be remembered that the sacred writers, or more truly ‘the Spirit of God who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men such truths (as the inner structure of visible objects) which do not help anyone to salvation’; and that, for this reason, rather than trying to provide a scientific exposition of nature, they sometimes describe and treat these matters either in a somewhat figurative language or as the common manner of speech those times required, and indeed still requires nowadays in everyday life, even amongst most learned people” (Leo XIII, *Providentissimus Deus *18).

Of course, there’s plenty of room here to read many aspects of the Creation account as allegorical, but we are not permitted to view the whole account as “make believe”.

God bless,
RyanL


#12

[quote=Roche42]I believe it was Pius XII that described evolution as “probable scientific fact”. The Church does state, however, that all of humanity does descend from one man and one woman, while Genesis may and probably should be taken figuratively, this is something the Church will not waver on. To deny this would be to put into question original sin. I believe this terms are monogenesis versus polygenesis. Not sure, I can double check the encyclical if anyone wants. God Bless.
[/quote]

The “theology” underlying the common understanding of the Original Sin story is that God, in His unquestionable sovereignty, deigned to deprive tens of billions of offspring of Paradise for the sin of two ancient ancestors, while He non-consistently requires us to be even-handed with one another.

I believe that this is a misunderstanding of the Original Sin concept.

I believe that the Original Sin story is a “thin-sliced hypothetical,” which shows how each of us would handle every single moral decision but for the saving grace of the cross, because we are made of the same concupisence-afflicted stuff, flesh, as the folks in the hypothetical.

The Original Sin story, in other words, is a portrait of the profound state alienation from God which afflicts all of the human line – the “sinfulness of our origins” – so that we all need saving.

The story is NOT about how an all-powerful guy, in His sovereignty, extended the consequences of a single sinful act of two people to tens of billions of people. I believe that that is a gross and misleading “undersimplification” of the morale of the story.


#13

It would seem that, at a minimum, several Pontifs, several Ecumenical Councils, the majority of the Faithful, and the weight of Catholic Tradition disagree with you.

…Or am I missing something?


#14

[quote=RyanL]BibleReader (whose posts I typically enjoy greatly),

Adam and Eve is not a “Dick and Jane” story. If you would make the claim that this is the case and it is entirely fictional, I refer you to the Church:

“When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism [generation of man from a pool of early human couples], the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents 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 that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

“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” (CCC 390)

“no real disagreement can exist between the theologian and the scientist provided each keeps within his own limits. . . . If nevertheless there is a disagreement . . . it should be remembered that the sacred writers, or more truly ‘the Spirit of God who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men such truths (as the inner structure of visible objects) which do not help anyone to salvation’; and that, for this reason, rather than trying to provide a scientific exposition of nature, they sometimes describe and treat these matters either in a somewhat figurative language or as the common manner of speech those times required, and indeed still requires nowadays in everyday life, even amongst most learned people” (Leo XIII, *Providentissimus Deus *18).

Of course, there’s plenty of room here to read many aspects of the Creation account as allegorical, but we are not permitted to view the whole account as “make believe”.

God bless,
RyanL
[/quote]

While Humani Generis contains “Adam” language, and talks about this “Adam” and “a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own,” and though CCC 390 says what IT says, the CCC ALSO says that “the last Adam is indeed the first.” See the last sentence of CCC 359.

I.e., THE MAGISTERIUM TEACHES THAT EVEN ADAM, HIMSELF, IS FIGURATIVE.

How could Adam in the Garden of Eden possibly be Christ? Simple: Adam receiving the bitten fruit from Eve is a figurative picture of Christ “becoming sin” in accord with 2 Corinthians 5:21 (which in essence refers to Christ the Sinless One “becoming sin” in the sense that, by purchasing salvation for us by subjecting Himself, though sinless, to the penalty for our sins exacted by God’s Own justice, He ended up being treated as though He were sin, itself).

That, by the way, is the reason for Adam’s name, which in Hebrew means “red.” Though at the plaintext level “red” is the Hebrew for “clay,” the stuff God in the story ostensibly makes Adam out of, in the sense that clay is “red [stuff],” the typological reason for figurative Adam’s figurative name, “Red,” is this: ntgateway.com/film/suffer.jpg
He is the “red man,” Christ, drenched in His Own blood!

Can one state with certainty that the Church’s teaching is that Genesis 3 teaches that there was an historical event to the effect that there was a “first man” who sinned by joining-in a “first woman’s” sin, while it simultaneously teaches the story is a typological allegory for Christ “becoming sin”?

Nah! The Church’s precise position is simply not clear, yet.

Once again, compare CCC 390 with the last sentence of CCC 359.


#15

[quote=BibleReader]While Humani Generis contains “Adam” language, and talks about this “Adam” and “a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own,” and though CCC 390 says what IT says, the CCC ALSO says that “the last Adam is indeed the first.” See the last sentence of CCC 359.
[/quote]

359 "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear."224

St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life. . . The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: "I am the first and the last."225

This seems to say that the “New” Adam was actually the Alpha and the Omega, and in that sense was actually the first. While the typological implications are clear, your assertion is not.

I.e., THE MAGISTERIUM TEACHES THAT EVEN ADAM, HIMSELF, IS FIGURATIVE.

I have yet to see where the Magisterium has taught that Adam, himself, is STRICTLY AND EXCLUSIVELY figurative.

How could Adam in the Garden of Eden possibly be Christ? Simple: Adam receiving the bitten fruit from Eve is a figurative picture of Christ “becoming sin” in accord with 2 Corinthians 5:21 (which in essence refers to Christ the Sinless One “becoming sin” in the sense that, by purchasing salvation for us by subjecting Himself, though sinless, to the penalty for our sins exacted by God’s Own justice, He ended up being treated as though He were sin, itself).

Are you a convert? I seem to see some “imputed righteousness” and “penal substitution” theology bleeding over here. “Becoming sin” was shorthand for becoming a sin-offering.

1911 Catholic Encyclopedia states: [left]
[/left]

…The second mistake is the tendency to treat the Passion of Christ as being literally a case of vicarious punishment. This is at best a distorted view of the truth that His atoning Sacrifice took the place of our punishment, and that He took upon Himself the sufferings and death that were due to our sins.

Perhaps this site may help.

Can one state with certainty that the Church’s teaching is that Genesis 3 teaches that there was an historical event to the effect that there was a “first man” who sinned by joining-in a “first woman’s” sin, while it simultaneously teaches the story is a typological allegory for Christ “becoming sin”?

Nah! The Church’s precise position is simply not clear, yet.

Once again, compare CCC 390 with the last sentence of CCC 359.

Again, please read Humani Generis 37 and let me know where you find an “optional” reading of the teaching.

God bless, my friend whom I greatly respect,
RyanL


#16

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