Question About Genesis and Evolution


#1

I’ve been trying to find answers about this whole Evolution thing in regards to Genesis, and although I have found some answers to be helpful, I still have some questions that I feel haven’t been answered, so I would really appreciate it if you guys were to help me. Thanks in advance.

How old is the book of Genesis?
Who wrote the book of Genesis?
Is or are the writers of Genesis 30,000 years old? If not, then how can we say that there were first parents who transmitted what we call “Original Sin” if say the writer or writers of Genesis weren’t there from the beginning of humanity? I know that we don’t really take the Book of Genesis as a scientific account, so yeah.
Is it true that we treat Adam and Eve as something symbolic? If so, then how can we say that there is “Original Sin” in the first place?
How can we say that we were meant to be immortal when historical evidence purports that there has been death even way before the presence of humans? I’ve heard a Priest talk about this during the Immaculate Conception Homily, about how if Adam and Eve didn’t eat of the fruit then there would be no physical death as well as spiritual. (I don’t know, maybe I just misunderstood him).


#2

I believe evolution is a banned topic.
If you do a search on the forum there are tons and tons of discussions about the subject.
I would concentrate on JP2’s letter to scientists:
ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP961022.HTM

This is a really complex topic that involves science, theology, scripture interpretation.
Its important to respect the varying disciplines and their spheres of competence.


#3

The Church teaches that the first two humans with rational souls sinned against God, and that all humans today can trace their descent back to these two individuals, though not necessarily only these two individuals. You could imagine a population of 10,000 proto-humans, of which two are born with rational souls created by God. These two (and their descendants) are still capable of having children with the others, the fruit of those union also being endowed with rational souls, until eventually all existing humans had rational souls.

Note that the Church doesn’t teach the scientific part of this explanation, but that is just an example (simplified) of how the Church’s teaching could fit with the current scientific consensus.

Genesis is traditionally said to have been written by Moses, which goes back only about 1500 years or so. That might not be the full story of authorship, but no, Genesis was not written 30,000 years ago. This tradition and its recording are divinely inspired explanations of a historical reality filtered through a mythological telling, if you take the allegorical view of it.


#4

It’s also key when reading these passages to understand what the Church means by “inspiration”, and the nuances relating inspiration and inerrancy to history, science, theology.

IMO the largest source of confusion in Christianity is misunderstanding what inspiration and inerrancy mean,


#5

Inspiration:

"These are the words of the last: “The Books of the Old and New Testament, whole and entire, with all their parts, as enumerated in the decree of the same Council (Trent) and in the ancient Latin Vulgate, are to be received as sacred and canonical. And the Church holds them as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author.”(57) Hence, because the Holy Ghost employed men as His instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write-He was so present to them-that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture. Such has always been the persuasion of the Fathers. “Therefore,” says St. Augustine, “since they wrote the things which He showed and uttered to them, it cannot be pretended that He is not the writer; for His members executed what their Head dictated.”(58) And St. Gregory the Great thus pronounces: "Most superfluous it is to inquire who wrote these things-we loyally believe the Holy Ghost to be the Author of the book. He wrote it Who dictated it for writing; He wrote it Who inspired its execution. "(59)

Source: PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII
ON THE STUDY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE

Ed


#6

There is nothing in Church teaching about “proto-humans.”

“37. 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]”

Source: ENCYCLICAL
HUMANI GENERIS
OF THE HOLY FATHER
PIUS XII

“Genesis does not contain purified myths.” (Pontifical Biblical Commission 1909)

Ed


#7

“The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states, “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).”

The fruit is not identified in the Bible but it “was good for food”:

Parallel Verses
New International Version
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

New Living Translation
“The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.”

English Standard Version
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

Ed


#8

Evolution is a disallowed topic. Has been for years.

But on one of your questions, natural death was part of the world prior to human life; that is why A&E, whoever they were, were **not **immortal of body per se, but would have been given immortal life via the Tree of Life had they not blown it.

ICXC NIKA


#9

Wes actually made that clear.
The Church does not do science. Some (many) scientists are Catholics, and the Church supports science, but the Church’s reason for being and sphere of competence is not science. (theology can be said to be a science)


#10

No, it was not made clear. The Church has a Pontifical Academy of Sciences. As the above example from Humani Generis reads, the Church does not accept polygenism.

The Church comments on scientific matters all the time.

Ed


#11

[Originally Posted by YEARNING4TRUTH
Who wrote the book of Genesis?

Assuming that you are interested in the first three historical chapters of the book of Genesis.

From the Catholic perspective, it really doesn’t matter who wrote these wonderful chapters. What matters is the wonderful content in these chapters.

Is it true that we treat Adam and Eve as something symbolic?

Obviously, there are other Catholics who are annoyed by the Catholic truths flowing from those first three amazing chapters of Genesis. They like to impress people by using symbolic terms.

The actual real Catholic Church does not consider something symbolic as actual real Divine Revelation.

How can we say that we were meant to be immortal when historical evidence purports that there has been death even way before the presence of humans?

When you have time, check out the dramatic shift from Genesis 1: 25 to Genesis 1: 26-27.

I’ve heard a Priest talk about this during the Immaculate Conception Homily, about how if Adam and Eve didn’t eat of the fruit then there would be no physical death as well as spiritual. (I don’t know, maybe I just misunderstood him).

The better way would be to say that if Adam had not freely disobeyed God – then God’s special gifts would be intact.
[/quote]


#12

[RIGHT]http://forums.catholic.com/images/misc_khaki/progress.gif [/RIGHT]


#13

Thank you for all of your help. Most if not all of your post made sense and it really did help me in this particular area of my faith that I was struggling with, So I really appreciate it and I hope that there will be more posters willing to post on this thread, hopefully it doesn’t get taken out though, but I’ll take a few snaps on my phone just in case.


#14

Ed, I did not say the Church doesn’t comment on science.
:banghead:


#15

I kind of wanted to ask though, how come Evolution is a disallowed topic? Do they give a reason as to why they ban such talk?


#16

The discussions generally are not very reasonable.


#17

This comes from the Encyclical "Humani Generis also:

  1. For these reasons 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, on the part of men experienced in both fields, 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 - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question

Theories come and go. Obedience to the Christ-given legitimate authority of the Church is always best!

The Church is cautious and does not make pronouncements right away about the theology explaining certain theories.


#18

You’d need to ask a mod; but it seems that evolution threads don’t remain civil very long.

ICXC NIKA


#19

People always say it’s a banned topic, yet we somehow have some rollicking conversations about it. :slight_smile:


#20

On the one hand, there are those who say the Church does not do science, so why ask the question in the first place?

Ed


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