So, what should I BELIEVE about ADAM?


Yes, Yes, YES. I know. There have been tons of evolution threads. :whistle:

I’ve asked many questions dealing with the topic, but I’ve never read a good answer concerning Adam and Eve - did they really exist?

I want to be able to come up with a good conculsion this time. Maybe there’s a quick answer. Do we, as Catholics, have to believe Adam and Eve were two real people - the people in which every human being descended from?

I’ve heard many things. I’ve read that we must believe this because of the Church’s teachings on Original Sin and the unique belief on Mary as the new Eve.

So, what can we say about Adam? What did the “team” of people have to say in that new book Creation and Evolution ? Is polygenism to be rejected? -yes?

Anything you know, post it. ***How do you believe it?***:hmmm:



Whether you believe in evolution or a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 (which means a 6,000 or so year old earth), there still had to be a first male Homo sapiens sapiens and first female Homo sapiens sapiens.

That, as far as I can tell, is all we’re required to believe about Adam on the biological level.


I think the shortest answer possible is, “we don’t know.”

The doctrine is in a precarious position, as I see it. Its acceptance or rejection will probably depend on the findings of science: if we can definitively prove that humans descended gradually, and not from exclusively two homo sapiens sapiens, then it will be rejected. If not, we’ll keep on asking.

The issue has not been defined, but there has been some very, very strong language for an original Adam and Eve. Pope Pius XII said, in Humani Generis, #37:
…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. That’s the only thing we can say about it. He says he seriously doubts that we can possibly reconcile polygenism (i.e. “no Adam and Eve”) with the Church’s teaching: but if somebody finds a way to do so–and people are trying–then MAYBE we could accept it. Until then, Adam and Eve remain serious parts of the Church’s teaching.


The catechism teaches that Adam and Eve were our first parents, they are historical and the whole human race stems from them.


The doctrine that we all descended rom Adam and Eve is not in a “precarious” position regardless of anything else.

Catholic doctrine does not err!


But it’s like, if not Adam, what about Cain & Abel?..

…did Noah exist?.. etc.


But is that 6,000 tons or 13.5 billion tons? :wink:

I’ve asked many questions dealing with the topic, but I’ve never read a good answer concerning Adam and Eve - did they really exist?

We can tell from the current genetic diversity of the human population that the population of Homo sapiens has never been below 1,000 breeding pairs, with the probable figure nearer 10,000 breeding pairs. See Toba Catastrophe for references.

That figure says nothing about whether some or all of that population had souls. Souls neither fossilise and nor appear in DNA.

One possibility you might like to consider is to start with a population of unsouled upright apes, call then “huma” because they are not quite human yet. God puts a soul into two of them, Adam and Eve, (or puts a soul into one male, Adam, and clones a female, Eve, from him). Adding a soul does not change the original huma DNA at all. We now have a pair of humans, Adam and Eve, in a population of huma. Adam and Eve only mate with each other and have human children with souls. The children need to find mates outside their immediate family so they mate with some of the huma. This is possible because their DNA is compatible with huma DNA; the mating is open to the possibility of creating life. God gives a soul to all hybrid human/huma offspring so all the children with at least one human parent are also human, i.e. they have a soul. Because only the descendants of the initial pair mate with huma, all the children from such matings are descended from both Adam and Eve since they will have both as grandparents, great-grandparents etc.

Over time the number of humans increases and the number of huma declines until the huma are extinct.

In scientific terms we have a large interbreeding population, as shown by the current genetic diversity in humans. Theologically all humans are descended from that first ensouled pair.




Your profile says you are Buddhist, and you speak of God, Adam and Eve…


Europe’s seven female founders


You asked a question which I answered in your terms. If I can help you then that is a good thing. An answer in Buddhist terms would probably not have helped you.



The study refers to mitochondrial DNA which is only passed down the female line. It has no relevance to population sizes. You can only ever have one ancestor in the all female line, your mother’s mother’s mother’s … mother in a given generation. Even in a population of millions only one woman could have been your mitochondrial ancestor.



Basically, what you are saying here is that God didn’t create two people from the dust of the earth, but He created something between 1,000 and ten thousand from the dust of the earth.

That figure says nothing about whether some or all of that population had souls. Souls neither fossilise and nor appear in DNA.

True, they don’t, but the soul is the life and the form of the animal or person that it inhabits. Human souls inhabit only human bodies; no other kind. Cat souls inhabit cat bodies; no other kind. Geranium souls inhabit geraniums; nothing else.

Your hypothetical “humas” would have had “huma” souls. If they were genetically identical to human beings, then they would have been human beings, with human souls. Which brings us back to our original problem … :shrug:

By the way, yes, we are required to believe that the entire human race comes from Adam and Eve. We are all cousins to one another.


Absence of polymorphism at the ZFYlocus on the human Y chromosome

…The invariance likely results from either a recent selective sweep, a recent origin for modern Homo sapiens, recurrent male population bottlenecks, or historically small effective male population sizes. A coalescence model predicts an expected time to a most recent common ancestral male lineage of 270,000 years (95 percent confidence limits: 0 to 800,000 years).


Y chromosome sequence variation and the history of human populations

…This concurs with recent archeological13 and mtDNA data14, and is also consistent, though at a compressed time scale, with the weak Garden-of-Eden hypothesis15. Under this hypothesis, a small subgroup of behaviourally modern humans13 left Africa and separated into several fairly isolated groups represented today by the major haplogroups III−X. Those groups remained small throughout the last glaciation before they underwent roughly simultaneous expansions in size as suggested by a star-like genealogy (Fig. 1).

The new levels of bi-allelic variation revealed here indicate a recent ancestry of the paternal lineages of our species from Africa and testify to the informativeness of the Y chromosome in deciphering the evolution of humankind.


I showed a possible route for all humans to arise from a single original pair of humans living among a population of almost human upright apes, “huma”. As to creation from the “dust of the earth”, if we take “dust of the earth” to refer to non-living chemicals, then abiogenesis describes the origin of life from non-living chemicals and evolution describes the development of that life into the many species we see today. Those species would include the population of huma among which Adam and Eve were set.

The timescale of 10,000 years does not correspond to any current scientific evidence for the origin of Homo sapiens. We have cave paintings older than that.

True, they don’t, but the soul is the life and the form of the animal or person that it inhabits. Human souls inhabit only human bodies; no other kind. Cat souls inhabit cat bodies; no other kind. Geranium souls inhabit geraniums; nothing else.

Under my scenario, in material terms (DNA) the huma bodies were identical to human bodies, the only difference was the presence of a human soul, directly created by God.

Your hypothetical “humas” would have had “huma” souls. If they were genetically identical to human beings, then they would have been human beings, with human souls. Which brings us back to our original problem

After Adam and Eve, all humans have at least one human parent and are given a human soul. Huma had two huma parents and were given a huma soul. I am sure God is capable of understanding such a simple distinction. What determines the nature of the child is the nature of the parents.

By the way, yes, we are required to believe that the entire human race comes from Adam and Eve. We are all cousins to one another.

My proposed scenario says exactly that, all humans are descended from both Adam and Eve.



The Y chromosome is passed down exclusively through the male line. In any generation you only have one ancestor in the male line, no matter what the population size; your father’s father’s father’s … father. As with the female line for mtDNA these studies say nothing about the overall size of the population.

Notice that “effective” in your quote. At the time there were many other males alive who contributed ot the overall human gene pool, but since they only had daughters we do not have their Y chromosomes among the current population. We may well have their other chromosomes contributing to the overall genetic diversity of the current human population.

These studies are not saying what you seem to think they are.



If you only had a population of 1000 individuals then they had to have a common ancestor, and if the thousand individuals are of the same species the ancestor of those would be a single ancestor of that species, no?

Or maybe the 1000 number refers to technical limits in tracing a line backwards…:shrug:


The thousand individuals may have descended from a larger population of, say, 10,000 individuals who were decimated by a catastrophe. Going further back, evolution is a population phenomenon; populations evolve, individuals do not.

Or maybe the 1000 number refers to technical limits in tracing a line backwards.

The figure from the Toba Catastrophe is between 1,000 and 10,000 breeding pairs. There will have been other individuals alive at the time, such as children. These numbers are estimated from the known number of different alleles in moden human populations and the known mutation rates of various human genes. See Ambrose’s original article for more details: Late Pleistocene human population bottlenecks, volcanic winter, and differentiation of modern humans.



Note that the Pope talks about Adam, not Eve. Scientifically it’s a lot more plausible to trace all mankind back to 1 single ancestor, rather than to a pair who lived at the same time.


The ten thousand, if of the same species, also originated with one pair. Whilst a species may or may not evolve it still needs to begin with one individual. If you had a population of 10,000 pairs of anything and they evolved gradually from one species to another then from that species to another and from that to the next and from that to another consider something like this;
1 million years ago there was a local population somewhere of ten thousand pairs, with an average of 3 offspring each, every 30 years.
Lets say the population doubles every 30 years or so;

an = ar(n – 1): = 1.7094069583881013113473941858392e+10038 = no. of births in the last 1 million years.

or, in other words …


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit