I belive the account of creation told in Genesis as being literally true, yet peolpe at work laugh at me for my beliefs, they say this makes mankind about 4,500 years old and yet fossils of man have been discovered that pre-date that age, could it be possible that there was a race (not necessarily man or human) that may have had human like features but no human soul that pre-dates Adam, and this would explain why there are fossils that appear to be human.
Fortunately, these questions have arisen before, and the Catholic Church provides some insight for the faithful:
I. CATECHESIS ON CREATION
282 Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves:120 “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our origin?” “What is our end?” “Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?” The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.
283 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. With Solomon they can say: "It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements. . . for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me."121
284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called “God”? And if the world does come from God’s wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it?
285 Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own. Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins. Some philosophers have said that everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God (Pantheism). Others have said that the world is a necessary emanation arising from God and returning to him. Still others have affirmed the existence of two eternal principles, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, locked, in permanent conflict (Dualism, Manichaeism). According to some of these conceptions, the world (at least the physical world) is evil, the product of a fall, and is thus to be rejected or left behind (Gnosticism). Some admit that the world was made by God, but as by a watch-maker who, once he has made a watch, abandons it to itself (Deism). Finally, others reject any transcendent origin for the world, but see it as merely the interplay of matter that has always existed (Materialism). All these attempts bear witness to the permanence and universality of the question of origins. This inquiry is distinctively human.
286 Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason,122 even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear."123
287 The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his People everything that is salutary to know on the subject. Beyond the natural knowledge that every man can have of the Creator,124 God progressively revealed to Israel the mystery of creation. He who chose the patriarchs, who brought Israel out of Egypt, and who by choosing Israel created and formed it, this same God reveals himself as the One to whom belong all the peoples of the earth, and the whole earth itself; he is the One who alone “made heaven and earth”.125
288 Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his People. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to God’s all-powerful love.126 And so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigor in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the Chosen People.127
Why do you believe it’s literally truth?
How would you prove that you have a soul?"
“they say this makes mankind about 4,500 years old” - where do they get that? What is your current belief of Adam?
I believe Genesis teaches us that everything is created by God and that man is unique in all creation having an eternal soul - breathed into the nostrils of man in the second chapter of Genesis. I do not believe the Genesis account may be measured as we know time today; therefore, I accept scientific data suggesting the earth’s existence at several billion years.
I find no disagreement or problem with a pre-Adamic race (perhaps described in Genesis 1) and the immediate creation by God of spirit-filled man described in Genesis 2.
It is also my understanding this belief is consistent with Church teaching. Understanding I still have much to learn on the subject.
Faith and science:
159 Faith and science: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”
Science is the study of creation; the faithful need not fear scientific inquiry into it.
These things have to be reconciled with every theory involving man.
- Adam and Eve were our first parents
- Eve came from Adam
- They had preternatural gifts including knowledge and bodily immortality.
This is interesting, because you say that you believe the creation account to be literally true, but you ask about pre-Adamic races. If the creation account were literally true, there could be no pre-Adamic races (at least, not ones that existed more than a few days before Adam :)).
I wish, oh how I wish, that Catholics wouldn’t fall into the Fundamentalist trap of pitting science (that is, reason, observation, information) against faith. True science never, ever conflicts with true faith.
Pitting true science against true faith is an absolute guarantee of putting open-minded people off on the faith. It does this because it seems to make God out as a liar and a deceiver, which he is not, obviously. That is why your co-workers are laughing at you - because you are insisting that all the scientific evidence pointing to an older universe, earth, and life is false and apparently deliberately so (for if it was created by God, it couldn’t be an accident). You are pointing to what everybody can clearly see is a rock, and insisting that God tells you it is a butterfly.
(responding to a private message)
The Book of Genesis is not intended to be taken literally, unless, it strengthens your faith, then it’s served a positive purpose.
I agree with VociMike that faith and science doesn’t have to be conflicting. And I believe that our early christens were asked similar questions regarding their beliefs. In fact, Peter states that one day is equal to 1000 years. I wouldn’t necessary take that literally either, but that adds ups that the earth and humans have been around to a very long time (longer than 4500 years).
For me Adam is the first man, or first human, or just where the story should begin. I don’t really think that Book of Genesis is really about Adam and Eve or original sin.
I think Bible stories are as applicable as they were before it was written. For me, learning that one mistake can have life long consequences is more important than Adam being the first man on earth. But I also, believe that it’s more than teaching consequences.
I’m anti-cookie cutter faith. I don’t believe that someone else’s believes is real faith, however, if it works for someone and they find purpose and comfort using someone else’s beliefs then that’s fine too because it fulfilling a basic human need (at least for that person).
How do you all reconcile the notion that “Adam” or “first man” was much longer ago than the creation account states with the detailed geneologies that plant him firmly only several thousand years ago? Were the geneologies also fiction? The geneologies in early Genesis alone trace Adam through Abraham. Is Abraham fiction? Noah? Jacob?
I can understand God giving us a non-literal geneology much more than I can understand him giving us mountains of false and deceptive scientific evidence.
What is the purpose of scripture? “The books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” What is the truth that God wished to confide via the geneology you cite? Can God have intended a truth that does not require a literal geneology?
Whoooa! Now that is interesting. It sort of puts mans infallible interpretation of observation ahead of God’s written word.
No, it asks the question, why would God create a whole universe that goes to extraordinary lengths to lie to us?
This response is a sham. Humans are limited by their 5 senses and 4 dimensions.
Just because we think our interpretation of our observations are right does not mean they are. We can only see through the human lens. It is so much bigger than that. We will always have that limitation.
I think the reply smacks of mans arrogance.
How would that be any more arrogant than thinking that our interpretation of scripture is right?
Is not the written word even more limited since we cannot even use all of our 5 senses and 4 dimensions?
Science says that the universe is about 15 billion years old. The bible (read literally) says that it is about 5000 years old. This is a difference of about 6 orders of magnitude.
Show me one other area of modern science that is off by six orders of magnitude.
Are we or are we not capable of forming reasonable and useful (not perfect, but reasonable and useful) conclusions about the world around us? Can we know anything about the world around us, or is the entire material world that we perceive just a sham?
We know that there are non-literal genealogies in the Bible. Try Matthew 1:1 - “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham”. Jesus was not the literal son of David. David was not the literal son of Abraham. This is not a literal genealogy.
You are spot on. Private interpretation of scripture is arrogant. That’s why the Magisterium is essential.
Well actually not, but the magnitude point is well taken.
Good News and Bad News Regarding Scriptural Chronologies
Now for the bad news:
Old Testament Chronology:
Anyone who is depending on the Anglican Bishop Ussher for their interpretation of the Old Testament chronology is in for a real shock. Bishop Ussher proposed that:
- Adam was created in the year 4004 BC - The Great Flood occurred in 2349 BC - The Jews entered Egypt in 1728 BC (when Joseph was sold into slavery) or 1706 BC when Jacob entered Egypt. - The Israel left Egypt in 1491 BC - That Solomon layed the foundation of the temple in 1012 BC.
We are capable. Faith and reason cannot be opposed for they flow from the same God. Observation is part of man’s limited senses. The correct interpretation of observation is throught the use of reason.
Of course it isn’t a sham. However, science only addresses the natural. Together with man’s inherent limitations and exclusion of the supernatural we can indeed arrive at faulty conclusions.
We must be careful and prudent.
Catholics read the Bible in this way:
111 But since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. "Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written."77
The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it.78
112 1. Be especially attentive “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture”. Different as the books which compose it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover.79
The phrase “heart of Christ” can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted.80
113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church"81).
114 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith.82 By “analogy of faith” we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation.
The senses of Scripture
115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two *senses *of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.
116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."83
117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.
- The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.84
- The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.85
- The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.86
118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses: The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.87 119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."88
But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.89
Posting sources is like saying, “According to Dr. So-and-so, a high fat, high protein is a healthy diet.” Just because an educated man said so it must be correct vs. farmer that recommends fresh foods in moderation because he is considered to be uneducated, therefore, can’t possible be correct. I just don’t think posting someone else’s thoughts are convincing. What do you people really believe? And why?
VociMike, I thought I agreed with you, but what is your point about the 5000 years. That is just the Juda’s cultural time line. It’s as true as “God’s chosen people” or “great flood” or “the Messiah” and several others things that were written for a group of people that has one of the smallest nations I’m aware of. My point is that people need hope, purpose, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the stories do so much for so many people. The results make it valid, not the facts.