When we say "Adam" and "Eve," are we referring to actual names?


I’m not asking if Adam and Eve were real individuals, i.e., original pair of humans at the head of the human race. I’m not asking about Genesis, evolution, Original Sin, etc.

I simply ask: Even if we believe that Adam and Eve are the first two humans, do we usually mean these were their actual names?


Have you tried searching any of the existing threads regarding this question?


I’ve never seen them called anything else, and I wasn’t there, so…
if you are wondering whether their names were really George and Shirley, I dunno.
What are you trying to glean from this question?
If your question is whether Genesis is taken as literalist history in modern journalistic style, the answer is no. The passage wasn’t written in that sense, and the Church has never interpreted it that way.


What are you trying to glean from this question?

Maybe some ancient language buffs may know.

Don’t the names Adam and Eve have distinct meanings? Like, to us in English, they don’t really offer anything different than any other name like Bob or Jill. But perhaps they were given their names by the Hebrew authors because they meant something in particular? Idk. That’s why I’m asking.


No, but you can link me an answer if you find one.


Yes the names have a deeper meaning. There is plenty of searchable background on that.


I’m sure every thread started on CAF relates to content that is searchable.


No. “Adam” is reference to all men, and “Eve” as the Bible states “the mother of all that live” It is simply a term to denote our first fully-human ancestors. It is much easier to say “Adam” than it is to say “our original male ancestor”. Keep in mind that the Bible is not a history book. It is inerrant only when speaking about what is necessary for salvation.


Definition of “Biblical Inspiration” from the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church page 868:

“The gift of the Holy Spirit which assisted a human author to write a biblical book so that it has God as its author and teaches faithfully, without error, the saving truth which God has willed to be consigned to us.

What is inspired in the Bible is that which is necessary for salvation. The trivia of the Bible is not inspired. If it were there would be no errors in science nor contradictions, both of which appear aplenty in the Scriptures. Certainly in the past it was thought to be history, but today we have a more full understanding. We know today that Galileo went to prison for telling the truth even though the truth disagreed with what was written in the Bible.

The Bible is not a history book, a science book nor a sociology book. Where it speaks about history it does so with the style of history of the day which was completely different than our own. Where it speaks of science it speaks with the understanding of science which existed then. Where it speaks about concepts of society, such as slavery or women’s “duties” it is speaking about acting within the society that existed then. It was not making precepts as to how society should be for all time.



The issue I would have is that Adam and Eve didn’t speak Hebrew.

Are we to think that Adam actually called Eve “Eve,” for example? We don’t even know if the first two humans’ language was like.


Wait you believe that Genesis describes actual history? You believe in a literal world-wide flood and that Adam and Eve lived together at the same time and were the only two humans in existence?


How is quoting what is said in the CCC a misuse of it? If you do not like it write to you Bishop. BTW I added an edit to my original post to you that may give you more things to disagree with.


I mean no offense but that view makes the Church look very ignorant.


You can be Catholic and yet not accept that early Genesis is a literal/historical/word-for-word account. That is, you can accept evolution as God’s means of producing life and even the human body (for example).

But let’s remember this thread isn’t debating that.

I actually am one of those Catholics who accepts evolution and a more allegorical Genesis. Nevertheless, Adam and Eve as individuals are thought to be less allegorical and more literal persons. But I wasn’t sure if this applied to their actual names or not.


I agree with you, but this shouldn’t even be phrased as a choice. Basically you can eithier believe in evolution or be wrong. It makes no difference if one is Catholic or not. The Church has enough problems without her members not believing in obvious science.


That is what Aquinas believe in the early part of the 13th Century. If he lived today with the understanding of science which we have today do you actually think he would have written the same thing?

Along with the Bible and Sacred Tradition true SCIENCE is also a source of God’s revelation to man. If you hold that He created the universe (in whichever way HE chose) then it logically follows that He created the science by which it runs. True science, when speaking about the physical realm, can then tell us HOW God did what He did.

Science is not an enemy.


While I agree, on CAF, it’s not that simple apparently. :astonished:


@ACrosSticks, you might be interested in the Evolution is Contradictory thread in #apologetics:philosophy or the Evolution is Unscientific thread in #apologetics. Please mention me if you enter either as I’d be willing to have some dialogue with you.

@catholic1seeks, at first I was going to say that Adam and Eve were translations of the original names in Hebrew. Looking at things however, it seems Adam is actually close to the Hebrew as I could find nothing with a Hebrew pronunciation of his name other than Adam. Eve however, is a translation from Chavah. (https://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/335943/jewish/Chavah-Mother-of-All-Life.htm) I’d also say that the authors if scripture likely used symbolic names when telling the story of Adam and Eve. (Which does also fit with how Genesis 1 has a lot if figurative language overall.)

@wkj_123 I’d also recommend the threads I mentioned to ACrosSticks. And I’m willing to debate that Catholics may take a literalistic view with you there.


This is not true.
"11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)

“Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).”

From Dei Verbum


I suggest you read either “Reading the Old Testament” by Richard Clifford and Daniel Harrington, “How Do Catholics Read the Bible” by Rowman and Littlefield, “Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook” by Hayes and Holladay, or Kugel’s “How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now.”

But especially section I. F of “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, headed by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, in 1993. I could copy and paste in a message elsewhere, but alas, this thread is not for this particular topic.

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