What is Polygenesis?

Can anyone explain to me what the topic of “polygensis” that was brought up in a Introduction to Catholicism course??? Is it a real possibility from the Church’s standpoint that Adam and Eve are only representative of larger numbers??? Thanks and God Bless.

[quote=slinky1882]Can anyone explain to me what the topic of “polygensis” that was brought up in a Introduction to Catholicism course??? Is it a real possibility from the Church’s standpoint that Adam and Eve are only representative of larger numbers??? Thanks and God Bless.
[/quote]

If you accept the idea of polygenesis or “many origins” Then it would seem that you must reject the idea of Original Sin and must accept the idea of many “New Adams”, not just one.

Hi Slinky,

It is church doctrine that all humans on earth today are descended from one set of parents.

I understand that through DNA analysis, it has been proven that we are all descended from one female.

Verbum

Really Verbum??? Could you point me to any texts or links related to that. Thanks and God Bless.

Hi Slinky,

Go to people.virginia.edu/~rjh9u/adameve.html

You will find reference to Eve and also on research that would suggest that we also have one male parent.

Verbum

Key paragraph from that virginia.edu article:

“Even though the studies refer to a single man or woman in the past, they do not imply that those people were a couple or even that they were the only parents of all humans. Their primary significance is in pointing to the time when anatomically modern human beings, Homo sapiens sapiens, evolved from a more primitive ancestor, generally thought to be an archaic form of Homo sapiens. Most experts think the founders of the modern species numbered around 10,000.”

So looks like it is not referring to a single Adam or single Eve as our ancestors, and that the population of our human species from which we are descended never got below 10,000.

An article on Polygenism, Original Sin, Evolution, Pope Paul VI and Church teaching is this one from EWTN, which suggests it is possible to reconcile, but difficult. Published in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s own newspaper.

The Catechism certainly seems to imply we descend from a single pair (especially paragraphs 359, 375-377, 379, 388, 390-392, and the summary of 416-419). Also don’t forget the July 2004 statement from the International Theological Commission on Human Persons Created in the Image of God, especially 62-70.

Phil P

[quote=slinky1882]Can anyone explain to me what the topic of “polygensis” that was brought up in a Introduction to Catholicism course??? Is it a real possibility from the Church’s standpoint that Adam and Eve are only representative of larger numbers??? Thanks and God Bless.
[/quote]

Polygenism is the idea that there was not a literal Adam & Eve. The Church condemned this in Pope Pius XII’s encyclial Humanae Generis. Catholics may not hold a belief in polygenesis.

[quote=1ke]Polygenism is the idea that there was not a literal Adam & Eve. The Church condemned this in Pope Pius XII’s encyclial Humanae Generis. Catholics may not hold a belief in polygenesis.
[/quote]

It is true that Pius XII’s encyclical was fully binding on lay faithful at the time, but by no means was he defining dogma. Encyclicals are open to debate among Catholic theologians. As I understand it, monogenism is not currently dogma, but is strongly supported by Tradition, so it probably should be dogma, even if it hasn’t yet been so infallibly defined. That being said, polygenism could include a literal-historical Adam and Eve whose story in the Bible is a figurative-symbolic allegory of the Fall. It seems to me this makes the most sense in light of recent scientific evidence, but unfortunately this doesn’t really line up with Church teaching.

In recent decades evolution has gained much more support among Catholics, although the evidence currently seems to support polygenism. While it is possible that the Church declare theological neutrality on the issue, I fear that doing so would severely undermine her credibility. This issue is troubling because it feeds the atheistic axiom that ‘science is fundamentally opposed to religion.’

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