Polygenism = against the faith?


#1

I am a Catholic. I ascent to the teaching authority oif the Pope on matters of faith and morals.

I was wondering if the objection to polygenism is de fide. I accept as truth that all humans had one pair of parents, Adam and Eve. However as an alternative theory, is it not possible that – for want of a better word–proto humanoids were here too? Humans who were evolutionized apes without being in the image of God, without immortal souls.

The descendants of Eve, the morther of all humans, would have souls and the evolutionized apes would eventually be bred out; natural selection favoring those with souls who could authentically love.

After all, who did the sons of Adam breed with? Such an explanation does not root the uniqueness of Man in flesh but in spirit. This would be physical polygenism but spiritual monogenism. Would such a view be acceptable? Is this splitting hairs? Does the Pope have authority in matters of physical science in any event? A ban on polygenism on a purely physical level is not faith and morals, as opposed to spiritual monogenism which ascribes to Man his unique character and origin with Eve.

It seems like the most likely explanation to reconcile our faith with modern science. I think I am on safe ground here.

What do you think?


#2

To be honest, I don’t know. I know that there are some curial documents that deal with this to some point but I too have wrestled with the issue. I have yet to find a good answer to the question. Your assertion seems just as probable as any. However, have you considered that the issue of primate type ancestors for man may be incorrect? If that is so then your position seems to fall out of place.


#3

Genesis says that Adam and Eve are the first people, but not that they the only ones that God creates. Kain moves to Nod where he gets a wife.


#4

True, and this is what has always troubled me and why I myself thought that it was necessary for God to have created other people. However, I have learned that that position is condemned because it is contrary to the doctrine of Original Sin.


#5

Obviously, Cain married his sister. The incest taboo did not exist yet. If there were other hominids, having relations with them would be like having relations with an animal. No soul = animals.

A species is often defined as organisms capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring. Any new species would have to have 2nd generation breeding among that generation. In other words, sibs mating.

No contradiction at all.


#6

[quote=MichaelTDoyle]I am a Catholic. I ascent to the teaching authority oif the Pope on matters of faith and morals.

I was wondering if the objection to polygenism is de fide. I accept as truth that all humans had one pair of parents, Adam and Eve. However as an alternative theory, is it not possible that – for want of a better word–proto humanoids were here too? Humans who were evolutionized apes without being in the image of God, without immortal souls.

The descendants of Eve, the morther of all humans, would have souls and the evolutionized apes would eventually be bred out; natural selection favoring those with souls who could authentically love.

After all, who did the sons of Adam breed with? Such an explanation does not root the uniqueness of Man in flesh but in spirit. This would be physical polygenism but spiritual monogenism. Would such a view be acceptable? Is this splitting hairs? Does the Pope have authority in matters of physical science in any event? A ban on polygenism on a purely physical level is not faith and morals, as opposed to spiritual monogenism which ascribes to Man his unique character and origin with Eve.

It seems like the most likely explanation to reconcile our faith with modern science. I think I am on safe ground here.

What do you think?
[/quote]

Hi Michael, welcome back! This is a not uncommon solution to the dilemma - I think it’s one that Phil prefers. Potential problems with the solution, which you might or might not regard as problems are these:

[list]
*]miscegenation - ‘marital’ relationships between creatures with and without immortal souls for some period of time - possibly quite long - after Adam and Eve is a necessary consequence of the idea
*]you and I would agree that there are no individuals or human groups alive today that are, by virtue of their birth any less human than others. But your idea has the natural consequence that for some time after Adam and Eve, possibly for quite a long time, possibly quite recently, there existed in the world two groups of people who were indistinguishable anatomically, physiologically and genetically, but had the profound difference that an immortal soul or full humanity resided in one group by virtue of their birth while the other group lacked it. I find that quite troubling.
[/list] Nevertheless a solution is required as a glance at this will confirm:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=1189367#post1189367

Alec
evolutionpages.com


#7

Not true. Species don’t have to have a founder population of just two individuals - in fact, they usually don’t. The founder population of a species is usually more numerous than a single couple.

Alec
evolutionpages.com


#8

I don’t know what the truth is about this, of course, but to me your theory seems very creepy. As someone else said, it would mean that at some point the population consisted of a mixture of true human beings and humaniod animals which were indistinguishable - and it would then be possible that some apparent humans today are not truly human. A dangerous idea, one racists and promoters of eugenics would milk for all it’s worth.


#9

I dunno. I find the idea of sleeping with your sister far, far creepier.

We don’t attribute immortal souls to animals but that does not make them monsters. We ascribe to animals such traits as loyalty and courage. An intelligent proto-human might have many wonderful traits as well as native intelliugence. God makes many wonderful things. Who knows? not me.

Also, I think of Adam and Eve in this theory as being way way back in time, perhaps pre-homo sapiens. Neanderthals I think buried their dead (I might have that wrong), perhaps recognizing an after life?

Assuming the numerical lineages in the Bible are figurative or symbolic (seven meaning perfect, a thousand years meaning a long time) There’s no saying when Adam and Eve were introduced to the world by God’s providence.


#10

Well, one scientific fact, or as close to fact as we can get in such matters, is that we simply have too much genetic diversity in our species to have ever had a “bottleneck” where only siblings were available for breeding. The issue of “taboo” is really the least of the problems with the idea that Cain married his sister.

I, too, hold to the idea that there was a time in which humanoids and humans lived together and procreated. I just don’t see a better explaination of the facts and the Faith.

Peace and God bless!


#11

Actually Phil had already made a similar thread here.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=13788


#12

[quote=MichaelTDoyle]Actually Phil had already made a similar thread here.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=13788
[/quote]

Yeah, a year and a half ago :stuck_out_tongue:

Frankenstein’s thread-monster :slight_smile:


#13

I don’t know what the truth is about this, of course, but to me your theory seems very creepy. As someone else said, it would mean that at some point the population consisted of a mixture of true human beings and humaniod animals which were indistinguishable - and it would then be possible that some apparent humans today are not truly human. A dangerous idea, one racists and promoters of eugenics would milk for all it’s worth.

Well, whatever may have happened in the past, God and the Church gaurantee that now all humans have souls.

One possible reading of the Noah story deals with this. The “Sons of Heaven” or “Sons of God” breed with the “Daughters of the Earth” or “Daughters of Man”…and there is a race of giants, but the flood wipes out all except Noah’s family. There are many interpretations of this. Some say that Fallen Angels literally bred with humans…which is impossible. Some say that the Sons of God are the descendents of the chosen stock of Seth, and the Daughters of Man are the descendents of the cursed stock of Cain. But it is possible that the Sons of God are Ensouled Humans, and the Daughters of the Earth are pure “clay”; unensouled hominids. The flood wipes out all but Noah’s family, potentially being the gaurantee that Providence eventually killed off all non-ensouled hominids.

After the Fall, this breeding with other hominids is no problem for our faith. The fallen early humans returned to a very primitive state after their fall from grace. Though they had souls, they probably had no problem breeding with non-souled hominids because they had become ignorant and savage and Fallen.

But before the Fall, Adam and Eve’s children would have bred with each other. This is not, strictly speaking, incest. Incest, is, in the strictest sense, forbidden by natural law only in the Direct Line of Descent. That means parents, grandparents, etc. This is because it is against nature for people related in such a way to breed. Marriage is supposed to be an equal covenant, but parents and children are by their nature unequal. A parent could never stand on the equal footing with their child required for marriage because of the parental authority that one spouse is not meant to have over the other. By extension, all other direct ancestors would be forbidden as well, because a grandparent could use their parental authority over their own child to control their grandchild (the child’s child) in a way that would make the marriage unnatural.

Brother-sister, and other close relationships are a taboo in human society, and against canon law, and rightly so. They are genetically problematic, and can cause family problems. But they are not intrinsically evil like incest in the Direct Line of Descent, and so especially early in the species could be used.

Either way, all humans inherit their souls from only one couple who were a man and woman first ensouled…even if physical genetic diversity was added in subsequent generations by Adam and Eve’s fallen children finding mates in non-souled humans. We know from Jesus himself that as long as ONE of your parents has an ensouled human nature, you inherit human nature and are ensouled (Jesus took his human nature entirely from Mary)…so it is entirely concievable that the child of a souled and unsouled hominid would have a soul, even if it inherited its physical animal nature from both parents, thus adding genetic diversity to the species. And all humans alive today we are told by God and the Church have souls.


#14

polygenism has been officially condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis
vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html


#15

[quote=abcdefg]polygenism has been officially condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis
vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html
[/quote]

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

  1. 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 no 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]

I think the theory propounded in this thread of spiritual monogenism and physical, i.e. genetic, polygenism, fits safely within the terms carefully laid out by the Pope. Notice how the Pope wrote true men? He does not write for no reason.

Also there were mention of giants and nephilim in the Old Testament so some different things were occuring in the deeps of time that aren’t happening now. Salvation is a history, stilll unfolding.

peace


#16

[quote=MichaelTDoyle]Here’s the relevant excerpt:

I think the theory propounded in this thread of spiritual monogenism and physical, i.e. genetic, polygenism, fits safely within the terms carefully laid out by the Pope. Notice how the Pope wrote true men? He does not write for no reason.

Also there were mention of giants and nephilim in the Old Testament so some different things were occuring in the deeps of time that aren’t happening now. Salvation is a history, stilll unfolding.

peace
[/quote]

Michael,

Did you see my post up the thread that lays out what I think could be construed as some problems with the ‘humans are spiritually monogenetic/genetically polygenetic’ idea. The evidence for genetic polygenism is very strong so there is a reconciling hypothesis required.

Alec
evolutionpages.com


#17

[quote=hecd2]Michael,

Did you see my post up the thread that lays out what I think could be construed as some problems with the ‘humans are spiritually monogenetic/genetically polygenetic’ idea. The evidence for genetic polygenism is very strong so there is a reconciling hypothesis required.

Alec
evolutionpages.com
[/quote]

Sure did, Alec. I didn’t see them as really problematic. Let me go over it–

miscegenation - ‘marital’ relationships between creatures with and without immortal souls for some period of time - possibly quite long - after Adam and Eve is a necessary consequence of the idea

Miscegnation is not sinful now. I have no problem here

you and I would agree that there are no individuals or human groups alive today that are, by virtue of their birth any less human than others. But your idea has the natural consequence that for some time after Adam and Eve, possibly for quite a long time, possibly quite recently, there existed in the world two groups of people who were indistinguishable anatomically, physiologically and genetically, but had the profound difference that an immortal soul or full humanity resided in one group by virtue of their birth while the other group lacked it. I find that quite troubling.

I was thinking of placing Adam and Eve pre-Neanderthal branching. (I ain’t no expert) But to flow through the whole world it would have to be way way back in time. I do not think this is contraindicated by scripture. So I do not see it as a recent development. I am completely speculating, but I think that fits as a likely answer. Remember mito-eve and all that in the news have nothing to do with what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about spiritual monogenism. The soul could have passed through early speciation.

What traits would God want in Adam and Eve? An ability to authentically Love? They were before the sacrifice though–in a way less than us, in a way more than us in innocence.

The native intelligence/perception of otherness/socialization would be a desired physical trait to go at least make an understanding between fallen Adam and Eve and the proto-humans they encountered after the fall. That’s a pretty low standard to meet, I think.

Way, way out in the land of speculation…


#18

According to Ott, it is “Sent. Certa”

The problem with this view is that it seems to contradict the following:

Genesis 2:5 … and there was not a man to till the earth.

Genesis 3:20 And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: because she was the mother of all the living.

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one, all mankind, to dwell upon the whole face of the earth, determining appointed times, and the limits of their habitation.

Wisdom 10:1 She preserved him, that was first formed by God the father of the world, when he was created alone, …

Siblings, just as was done during the days of Israel when a man’s brother died without issue. I would believe it was done out of duty.

Based on what I think you are saying, no. The reason is because it is “de fide” that Orginal Sin is propagated by natural generation.

Insofar as they are related to the faith, yes.

But it is based on what I mentioned above: Original Sin.

I think modern science is always in flux, pending the next discovery. There is no need to bend our faith to the speculations of science. We should keep in mind that science is driven by various philosophies and has opinions surrounding all the facts it uncovers.

But by its nature our faith is based on the authority of God. It is God we care to know and love. All that is in nature is thankfully taken care of by God, regardless of the explanation. I agree it can be a neat exercise to get to know more about nature, but I believe it would be best done with God, and not against God.

Scientists try to unlock nature in order to control it and exercise power over it. It can be good or bad. Why trade reverence to God for control of the world? That is a trade they make only too often (cloning, stem cells, abortion, etc.).

Besides, when it comes to miracles, science cannot explain them. There is no purely natural explanation for everything, even for things happening today under the “microscope” of science (e.g. physical healings). How is that reconciled?

hurst


#19

That depends on how you define a man. A man is an ensouled being, so the biblical quotes you cite rings true still vis a vis not-men but like men being on the earth.


#20

As much as I know I’m going to get clipped, I have to agree with hurst in the matters of physical generation and propogation of man, and applaud him for his statements about not being to quick to alter our faith to the shifting winds of science.

As far as the infamous “Cain’s wife paradox”, I believe St. Augustine touches on the marriage of close blood relations in primal man in Book XV of City of God. Granted this is not de fide, but the man was a Doctor of the Church, and surely that has to count for something. :wink:

Regards,
John


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