I have been doing a research paper on Virginity and have discovered that the Fathers of the Church are unanimous in saying that Adam and Eve were virgins and would have remained as such if not for sin. They have different ways of explaining how procreation might have come about, but their affirmations are consistent and copious in this regard. I understand that when the Fathers are unanimous, that no one is permitted to interpret contrary to their interpretation (Trent Sess IV, April 8, 1546; vatican council, Sess III Dogmatic Constitution Concerning the Catholic Faith April 24, 1870). Their unanimous consent lead me to think that this is something of the Deposit of the Faith, for their would be no other way to account for such a widespread and uniform position.
What do you guys think about this? I am not interested in arguments full of emotion. I would like to have some substantive responses.
Below are a sample of the numerous examples. I will limit them so as not to tire the reader, but there are many more.
Thank You and God Bless.
Institutione Virginis caput 17.104 (PL 16.345)
“…in holy virgins we see on earth the life of angels that we let slip away in paradise.”
Adversus Jovinianum Liber Primus 16 (PL 23: 235A)
“And as regards Adam and Eve we must maintain that before the fall they were virgins in Paradise: but after they sinned, and were cast out of Paradise, they were immediately married.”
De Genesi contra Manicheaos Liber Unus caput 19.30 (PL 34: 187)
- “Increase and multiply”: It is permitted us to interpret these words spiritually in such a way that it is credible that they were converted into carnal fecundity after man’s fall.
*Expositiones in psalmos * 50.5 (PG 27 240 C-D)
“it was not the original plan of God to beget us through marriage and corruption – it was the disobedience of the commandment that brought about the need for marriage, on account of the iniquity of Adam”
St. Gregory Nyssa
*De Hominis Opificio * caput 17 (PG 44 187-192)
“if there had not come upon us as the result of sin a change for the worse, and removal from equality with the angels, neither should we have needed marriage that we might multiply; but whatever the mode of increase in the angelic nature is (unspeakable and inconceivable by human conjectures, except that it assuredly exists), it would have operated also in the case of men”
St John Chrysostom
De Virginitate 17 (PG 48:546)
“Virginity existed in the beginning, before marriage; marriage became necessary and began later; but it would not have been necessary if Adam had remained obedient. How, then, would so many thousands of human beings have come into existence? If this question troubles you, I pose an answering one: Whence did Adam and Eve derive their existence without the intervention of marriage? What, then, you respond: Are all men to be born in this manner? In this or some other manner, I reply; I cannot say more. Only this is certain; that God did not need marriage in order to multiply men on earth.”
St John Damascene
De Fide Orthodoxa Liber Quattour, caput 24 (PG 94: 1205-1208 A-B)
"virginity was implanted in man’s nature from above and in the beginning. For man was formed of virgin soil. From Adam alone was Eve created. In Paradise virginity held sway. Indeed, Divine Scripture tells that both Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed… after the transgression … then Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare seed. So, to prevent the wearing out and destruction of the race by death, marriage was devised that the race of men may be preserved through the procreation of children.
But they will perhaps ask, what then is the meaning of “male and female” and “Be fruitful and multiply?” In answer we shall say that “Be fruitful and multiply” does not altogether refer to the multiplying by the marriage connection, for God had power to multiply the race also in different ways, if they kept the precept unbroken to the end. But God, Who knows all things before they have existence, knowing in His foreknowledge that they would fall into transgression in the future and be condemned to death, anticipated this and made “male and female,” and bade them “be fruitful and multiply."
St Maximus Confessor **
Quaestiones et Dubia Interr. 3 (PG 90 787 A-B)
“In fact, it was the original Will of God that we should not be born out of fleeting pleasure of bodily union; it was the transgression of the law that caused marriage to be introduced.”