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Moving forward with polygenism?

February 11, 2011

This past weekend, Jesuit High School in New Orleans hosted the St. Robert Bellarmine Convocation on faith and science for high school teachers of science and theology in the archdiocese of New Orleans.  It was a tremendous success with over 80 science and theology teachers attending.  In the morning there were two main presentations, and then breakout sessions in the afternoon.

My breakout was on the question of Adam and Eve, human origins, and modern genetics.  Below is my powerpoint from the talk.  Feel free to have a look at it.  Basically, I go through Church documents from the 1909 Pontifical Biblical commision assertion that Genesis 1-11 had to be treated as history to the last mention of polygenism by Paul VI in 1966 that it is still not to be taught since it is “not proved.”  My basic claim was that polygenism is now essentially “proved,” and since the Church has no trouble at all reconciling science with faith, we need to begin teaching, not polygenism yet as a “doctrine,” but the full debate surrounding it, to our students.  They need to know the questions and that there is a good chance that the Church will say something soon about polygenism thanks to the mapping of the human genome. 

I think there are three places in particular where we can see where the Magisterium left itself open to further development in this teaching.  First, Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis notes that a previous PBC letter to Cardinal Suhard in Paris concerning the historicity of Genesis 1-11 (in my powerpoint) was not meant to imply that Genesis does not teach history at all.  Rather, “the first eleven chapters of Genesis…do nevertheless pertain to history in a true sense, which however must be further studied and determined by exegetes.”  In other words, exegetes are given room to study this question of historicity and whether or not history is after all implied in all parts of Genesis 1-11, particulary in places where there seems to be no history, but only transcendent truths in the form of myth. 

Second, while the teaching of polygenism is prohibited by Pius XII, he notes that “it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled.” This does not mean that polygenism cannot be reconciled, but just that right now it is not apparent how it can be.  I at least believe that we now have arrived theologically at a point of seeing it is now apparent how we can move past historicity.

Finally, Paul VI notes in an address on Original Sin in 1966:  “It is evident that you will not consider as reconcilable with the authentic Catholic doctrine those explanations of original sin, given by some modern authors, which start from the presupposition of polygenism which is not proved.”  The question now is whether polygenism has been proved, and since “truth cannot contradict truth,” it is time to move forward. 

Has the Church itself moved forward?  The nearest indication of this is in the 2004 International Theological Commission document “Communion and Stewardship.”  Three quotes in particular:

“In its original unity – of which Adam is the symbol – the human race is made in the image of the divine Trinity.”
“While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage.”
“Catholic theology affirms that that the emergence of the first members of the human species (whether as individuals or in populations) represents an event that is not susceptible of a purely natural explanation and which can appropriately be attributed to divine intervention. Acting indirectly through causal chains operating from the beginning of cosmic history, God prepared the way for what Pope John Paul II has called ‘an ontological leap…the moment of transition to the spiritual.’”

Take a look at the powerpoint below and let me know what you think or if I’m missing anything. 

Polygenism Talk

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31 Comments
  1. February 11, 2011 4:12 pm

    Polygenism is contrary to the teaching of the Council of Trent on Adam and original sin. For exampe: “If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.”

    Polygenism also contradicts more than a few verses of the New Testament, such as: “through one man sin entered into this world, and through sin, death” (Romans 5:12).

    • February 16, 2011 8:31 pm

      Development of doctrine happens, as I tried to show in the powerpoint.

      I think Paul is reflecting on the story of the Fall, not asserting a historical fact about human populations. That is reading science into theology.

  2. February 11, 2011 4:32 pm

    *Sigh* This again.

    You are misusing the word “polygenism” here. Polygenism is a racist theory about human origins that posits no common ancestors for various groups:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygenism

    What is now essentially proven by genetic diversity is that there was never a two person BOTTLENECK.

    But that’s not what monogenism is. Monogenism is very much supported by science now, in the form of the “Out of Africa” theory.

    There may never have been a bottleneck of only two people, but it is clear that human beings have MANY common ancestors:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Most_recent_common_ancestor#MRCA_of_all_living_humans

    Monogenism, as the Church understands it, is not at all disproven by current science, but in fact all the more supported. That there was an original man and woman from whom all subsequent humans, truly so called, took their human nature…is not the same as saying that these two had to form a bottleneck!! If other hominid lines bred in, that’s fine, as long as human nature is seen as being inherited from these two.

    I use the example of my last name. My last name was created by my great-grandparents in the paternal line at Ellis Island, and is totally unique. ALL Mylastnames in the world descend from that original pair. But not ONLY from that pair. Obviously, I have 3 other sets of great-grandparents. But I inherit my last name only from the one line!!

    Likewise, that humanity never went through a two-person bottleneck is IRRELEVANT to the Church’s doctrine on monogenism, which is that we all inherit human nature (and original sin) from one pair. That other lines bred in genetically with their children…is neither here nor there. It is taught that ALL humans, strictly so called, descend from the one pair. But not necessarily ONLY from that pair, other hominid lines could certainly have bred in without affecting the teaching in any substantial way.

    And that we all inherit human nature from one pair is pretty much unfalsifiable at this point. Humans are now known to share MANY common ancestors at many different points in history (in fact, the current most recent common ancestory may even have been born AFTER Christ), and would have going back to that original population in Africa. ANY such pair could have been the First Parents in the sense of being the first ensouled humans from which all other humans properly so called inherited their humanity.

    People should not be so quick to jump to deconstruct Church teaching when they appear to be even rather fuzzy on the science and the theology. It raises a question of motives. It makes it seem like one is licking ones lips waiting for an example to prove that such teaching can be deconstructed, in order to open everything else to the same. But here you’ve jumped the gun.

    I’ve discussed this before:
    http://renegadetrad.blogspot.com/2011/01/on-monogenism.html

  3. February 11, 2011 6:10 pm

    A very impressive marshaling of the evidence. It seems clear to me the Church has moved beyond the idea that Catholics must believe the human race descended from two individuals and only two who committed a sin that tainted all of their descendants. (The Catechism, though, seems to uphold the idea of two parents.) Of course, how Original Sin can be explained once one moves beyond believing that the human race literally had two parents is a difficult question. And then newer interpretations of Original Sin require newer interpretations of many other things, including an infallibly proclaimed dogma—the Immaculate Conception.

    In a fairly recent discussion of this issue on dotCommonweal, there were attempts to salvage Adam and Eve by claiming that two “biological humans” were given souls and became the “true humans” or “theological humans” Adam and Eve. They lived among, and mated with, the existing “biological humans,” the offspring of a theological human and a biological human always being a “theological humans.” How can we be sure no purely “biological humans” managed to survive to this day, without interbreeding with “theological humans”? The Flood killed off all the “biological humans.” Of course, it solves the problem of genetic diversity being of such a magnitude that humans could not have descended from two individuals, but then creates the problem again by having the entire human race be descendants of the 8 people on Noah’s ark. It seemed to me to require something very much like bestiality, since “biological humans” are animals, no matter how highly evolved. Intellectually, I think it belongs with the conjecture that God created the world 6000 years ago, fossils and all. But I was surprised by some of the people who would not rule it out as a possibility.

  4. brettsalkeld permalink*
    February 11, 2011 8:50 pm

    Nathan,
    So good to see you back ’round these parts.
    First of all, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see what your high school was hosting. I do some work with Catholic school teachers and can affirm that this is a major need. Do you know of other places doing similar things? I think it is a fantastic idea.

    Second, I hadn’t seen the ITC paper before, but that final quote looks like it seals the deal. “Acting indirectly through causal chains operating from the beginning of cosmic history”? Looks like they’re making sure not to ever get “caught” by scientific advances again. Long live secondary causality.

  5. February 12, 2011 1:59 am

    Natan

    That is a good presentation.

    There is some wisdom in the Church being slow to endorse scientific theories. It is safe to say that the this field of study is not settled,but 30 years ago Polgenism was virtually uncontested especially in the science taught in high schools, and possibly still is.

    From the font of all secular knowledge Wikipedia

    Polgenism

    In the late 20th century, the work of the paleoanthropologist Carleton Coon was the closest to what can be perhaps considered a “modern” polygenism by positing that the individual races of the earth separately evolved into modern Homo sapiens. This hypothesis, called the candelabra theory, was not very popular when it was presented in the mid-1960s. It is often confused with the multiregional hypothesis, but these two theories differ significantly in that Coon’s candelabra model involves no gene flow between populations (so truly independent evolutions for races of humans) while the multiregional hypothesis is based on the idea of massive amounts of gene flow between human populations. The multiregional hypothesis is not a true example of polygenism, though it is the closest thing to polygenism surviving as a currently somewhat respectable scentific theory.

    Multiregional Origin of Modern Humans

    The multiregional hypothesis is a scientific model that provides an explanation for the pattern of human evolution. The hypothesis holds that humans first arose near the beginning of the Pleistocene two million years ago and subsequent human evolution has been within a single, continuous human species. This species encompasses archaic human forms such as Homo erectus and Neanderthals as well as modern forms, and evolved worldwide to the diverse populations of modern Homo sapiens sapiens. The theory contends that humans evolve through a combination of adaptation within various regions of the world and gene flow between those regions. Proponents of multiregional origin point to fossil and genomic evidence as support for their hypothesis.

    The primary alternative hypothesis is recent African origin of modern humans, which contends that modern humans arose in Africa around 100-200,000 years ago, moving out of Africa around 50-60,000 years ago to replace archaic human forms without interbreeding.

    Recent African Origin of Modern Humans

    In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans is the mainstream model describing the origin and early dispersal of anatomically modern humans. The theory is called the (Recent) Out-of-Africa model in the popular press, and academically the recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH),

    snio

    Genetic reconstruction

    Further information: Archaeogenetics and Early human migrations
    Two pieces of the human genome are quite useful in deciphering human history: mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome. These are the only two parts of the genome that are not shuffled about by the evolutionary mechanisms that generate diversity with each generation: instead, these elements are passed down intact. According to the hypothesis, all people alive today have inherited the same Mitochondria[24] from one woman who lived in Africa about 160,000 years ago[25][26] she has been named Mitochondrial Eve. All men today have inherited their Y chromosomes from a man who lived 60,000 years ago, probably in Africa. He has been named Y-chromosomal Adam. It is now believed that more men participated in the out of Africa exodus of early humans than women based on comparing non-sex-specific chromosomes with sex-specific ones.[27]

    The M Eve of the last paragraph is consistant with Genisis one though it is pointed out that she is not necessarily the Eve of Genisis.

  6. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    February 12, 2011 8:28 am

    It seems to me that the question of monogenism and polygenism has to operate on both a biological/material level and on the metaphysical level. To be precise (since this question came up in a previous discussion) by monogenism I mean descended from two and only two people, Adam and Eve. This is sometimes referred to as a “bottleneck”. Polygenism means descended from multiple different individuals.

    Now the evidence of molecular genetics is clear: we are biologically descended from multiple individuals. We have, however, at least one (and probably many) common ancestors: if we could construct a (biological) family tree for every person alive today, then there is an individual who appears in every such tree. However, there are (probably, maybe? the science is contested) individuals who appear in some trees but not others.

    Now in earlier posts it has been argued by A Sinner and others that this is sufficient to preserve the Genesis account. The common biological ancestor is the unique metaphysical ancestor of all human beings—Adam. This was the individual who sinned against God, and it is through him that each human being alive today inherited original sin. Though a metaphysical (and not biological trait), original sin is transmitted via biological descent.

    This seems a reasonable reconciliation of the biological and scriptural evidence, but there are problems. One which has been raised (and I have not seen answered) is the fact that multiple biological ancestors requires that Adam and his descendants (true humans in a theological sense) mated with other non-humans (human biologically but not theologically). This raises all manner of questions about the relations between the two, and from previous posts this opens a theological can of worms.

    For me the pressing question is this: does the transmission of original sin require a biological tie, since it is a metaphysical condition and not a biological one?

    • February 12, 2011 11:46 am

      I am not sure if you have heard of “The Great DNA Hunt” which was a study using mitochondrial DNA only. It appears to indicate that all present humans can trace their lineage back to one female (nick named Eve) who lived somewhere between 140,000 and 290,000 years ago.

      The study in no way implied that this “Eve” was the first human woman, only that she was located at a bottleneck of human development. It was, I am quite sure, not thrilling for many to hear that they could be traced back to a black mother but I found it interesting that both this study, as well as Biblical accounts posited the exact same idea. We are all brothers and sisters.

      • February 12, 2011 1:04 pm

        Mitochondrial Eve does NOT prove a bottleneck. What she proves is that in the direct maternal line (the only way mitochondrial DNA comes down, mainly) we have at least one common ancestor. But science always knew we had MANY common ancestors. Mitochondrial Eve (and Y-Chromosome Adam, who did not live at the same time) is only one of MANY common ancestors. Any one of whom could have been the “metaphysical” Adam and Eve.

    • February 16, 2011 8:38 pm

      “One which has been raised (and I have not seen answered) is the fact that multiple biological ancestors requires that Adam and his descendants (true humans in a theological sense) mated with other non-humans (human biologically but not theologically). This raises all manner of questions about the relations between the two, and from previous posts this opens a theological can of worms.”

      Right, that’s my problem. First, Genesis doesn’t mean to be historical, so why make it be so? That just causes problems that the text doesn’t intend to even address.

      I think the main point is that whoever the first humans were –and maybe in multiple groups — they experienced their humanity first as a pure and joyful reality that their freedom quickly disfigured by choosing evil. That is the meaning of the doctrine which comes from and is based on Romans 5, not primarily on Genesis 2 and 3 which are an ancient myth about God’s desire for Israel in the 10th century.

  7. February 12, 2011 8:42 am

    The Council of Trent says that original sin is “transfused into all by propogation,” so this would imply that the metaphysical is tied to the biological.

    Also, I don’t think that scientific inquiry has settled the question of polygenism. It has not been definitively determined from a scientific point of view that we had many first ancesters, rather than two. Since the scientific evidence is not definitive, and since faith is greater than reason, the opinion of polygenism still cannot be reconciled with Divine Revelation on the creation of humanity.

    • February 12, 2011 12:50 pm

      I think they can be reconciled fairly easily.

    • February 12, 2011 4:33 pm

      See James Alison, The Joy of Being Wrong.

      The intent of the Trent formulation was to deny the Pelagian-possiblity–that there was any one moment in a person’s life during which they were not affected by original sin. “Propogation” was the best way Trent had of communicating this, but it is consistent with a relational-account of sin’s transmission, as has been developed by Alsion and Ratzinger.

  8. February 12, 2011 12:49 pm

    My problem is the language of “consistent or unconsistent” with Genesis. Since I don’t see how we can take the Genesis 2-3 account to be “history” in any classical sense of the term, but rather myth communicating transcendent truth, holding to “two individual parents” seems neither consistent nor unconsistent but just outside of the intention of the myth itself.

    • February 12, 2011 1:02 pm

      Not if we believe the point is that Original Sin is inherited from a real individual who committed a personal sin.

      If there were really a whole population of several thousand (the smallest genetic bottleneck)…surely some would have sinned and some wouldn’t have, and we’d have fallen humans living alongside non-fallen (a possibility Aquinas actually discussed, I believe, regarding if Adam and Eve had bred in Eden, had descendants, and then SOME of them had sinned).

      Whatever you think the intention of the myth, the Church teaches definitively that we all take our human nature from one couple, even if other lines of hominids bred in genetically speaking.

      • February 16, 2011 8:40 pm

        Right, which i think is to miss the point. I don’t think that is necessarily what the Church teaches. I think development is currently taking place.

      • February 17, 2011 9:52 am

        A Sinner,

        It all depends on your account of how that sin was “inherited.” If you think that it can only be inherited via biological propagation (Augustine’s view), then you’re correct; but Augustinian theology here does not have the status of doctrine, merely the status of (one possible) explanation of the doctrine. As I’ve stated above, even Benedict XVI seems not to hold to an Augustinian account of how original sin comes to be inherited.

  9. February 12, 2011 12:59 pm

    “To be precise (since this question came up in a previous discussion) by monogenism I mean descended from two and only two people, Adam and Eve. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘bottleneck’. Polygenism means descended from multiple different individuals.”

    Of course, that’s not how the terms “monogenism” and “polygenism” are used scientifically, and thus not what the Church was condemning.

    Look at the first wikipedia article I posted. Polygenism is defined as: “a theory of human origins positing that the human races are of different lineages.” It is a racist theory that says that, basically, European humans evolved from hominids in Europe, African humans from hominids in Africa, Asian humans from hominids in Asia, all just “parallel” to each other (instead of having a single locus of origin). And thus are basically different species, even if there were some cross-pollinization later.

    And this has been scientifically disproven.

    “Now the evidence of molecular genetics is clear: we are biologically descended from multiple individuals.”

    Right, we never passed through a two-person bottleneck. There is too much genetic diversity for that.

    “We have, however, at least one (and probably many) common ancestors: if we could construct a (biological) family tree for every person alive today, then there is an individual who appears in every such tree.”

    Yes, there are MANY such individuals/couples. And not just people alive today (whose MRCA might have even lived in AD times, since the European explorers spread their genes) but for people going back through history.

    The common ancestors change with each generation, of course. But humanity properly so called (ie, with a spiritual soul) has always had common ancestors, just not a bottleneck.

    I suppose we have to assume that for a few generations fallen humans were living side-by-side (and breeding with) non-ensouled hominids, but very soon the trait (which, as you say, is metaphysical, not genetic) would have been universal (assuming it was inherited from having one human parent) in such a small population.

    “However, there are (probably, maybe? the science is contested) individuals who appear in some trees but not others.”

    Obviously. My mother doesn’t appear in YOUR family-tree, nor does my grandmother, etc. But, by around 6000BC, they think, that “common ancestors point” would be reached (for people alive today; it becomes more recent with each generation), and at that point…everyone alive then was either an ancestor of everyone alive today, or of no one alive today

    “Now in earlier posts it has been argued by A Sinner and others that this is sufficient to preserve the Genesis account. The common biological ancestor is the unique metaphysical ancestor of all human beings—Adam. This was the individual who sinned against God, and it is through him that each human being alive today inherited original sin.”

    Well, inherited HUMAN NATURE. And thus original sin. But it’s human nature which is inherited, and original sin is inherited through that.

    “Though a metaphysical (and not biological trait), original sin is transmitted via biological descent.”

    Yes.

    “One which has been raised (and I have not seen answered) is the fact that multiple biological ancestors requires that Adam and his descendants (true humans in a theological sense) mated with other non-humans (human biologically but not theologically). This raises all manner of questions about the relations between the two, and from previous posts this opens a theological can of worms.”

    I see it as no more problematic than Adam and Eve’s children breeding with EACH OTHER.

    That there was breeding with non-ensouled hominids (this was FALLEN man, after all) might even be seen as suggested by the story of the “Sons of Heaven” breeding with the “Sons of the Earth” and creating the race of Nephilim.

    The Flood story also thus could be taken to ensure us that there are no non-ensouled humans left today (ie, that all hominid lines either got the metaphysical trait “human,” or else died off).

    “For me the pressing question is this: does the transmission of original sin require a biological tie, since it is a metaphysical condition and not a biological one?”

    It is a “biological” one in a sense, though, inasmuch as it comes from inheriting human nature, and we inherit human nature through biological generation and descent.

  10. February 12, 2011 2:02 pm

    Nathan,
    Perhaps you can clarify your view on the actual existence of Adam and Eve. The Catholic Church teaches that God directly creates each individual soul. (CCC 366).
    For the Christian, who believes that the each individual soul is created by God, the creation of souls had to begin with soul #1 and soul #2 and continue from there. So for Christians the existence of Adam and Eve follows logically from a belief in the soul and is based on reason as well as faith in truthfulness of the Bible.

  11. Bruce in Kansas permalink
    February 12, 2011 2:17 pm

    Good material and interesting topic of discussion.

    I was only troubled by the strident “NO” under the question “Did Adam and Eve exist?” on slide 13.

    Does it follow now that all the Catholic high school science teachers in the New Orleans diocese (or whatever level the convocation covers) will now teach definitively that Adam and Eve did not exist?

    Are Catholics not free to disagree on this, or in other words, in what teachings are the faithful bound to believe regarding this?

    I hope your convocation ensured teachers leave with clarity on this matter.

    • February 16, 2011 8:41 pm

      The powerpoint was for talking points. That “No” was for me to make a point about what I think, but I spoke of course about how I think this question should be taught in a classroom. I think Seniors need to know the full debate so that they don’t feel their reason suppressed by the Church. But they should also know that while development seems to be taking place, as always, the Church moves forward slowly and cautiously, careful not to espouse any scientific theory.

  12. February 12, 2011 4:46 pm

    Even if one can reconcile Genesis with polygenism, why accept polygenism when it is not proven by science or faith? But I disagree that Genesis must be either a teaching myth or historical in the classical sense. I think that many of these stories have both literal elements and figurative elements. So we need not treat the story of Adam and Eve as either history or myth. And we need not reject the idea that Adam and Eve were two real human persons, merely because we find that certain elements of the story are merely figurative.

  13. February 12, 2011 5:29 pm

    . . . . holding to “two individual parents” seems neither consistent nor unconsistent but just outside of the intention of the myth itself.

    Holding to two individual parents does, however, salvage century after century of teachings about Original Sin and the fallen nature of mankind. It seems to me that if Original Sin were a scientific theory rather than a religious doctrine, the conclusion that the human race did not originate with two individual parents would falsify the theory of Original Sin.

  14. Ronald King permalink
    February 13, 2011 9:56 am

    This discussion is very interesting to me. My background is in human relationships, identity formation, mental illness and interpersonal neurobiology among other interests influencing the development of faith or lack of. It is interesting that the snake symbolizes fertility. Does the 3rd chapter represent both the development of consciousness and conscience in one sense through the awakening of awareness in relationship to sexual desire and the power of that desire? It also appears that the man and woman did not have sexual relationhips until they had knowledge of good and evil. Why would this be called original sin? Why would the man call the woman Eve only after having the knowledge of good and evil?
    After Cain kills Abel there is the insinuation that other human beings exist that potentially threaten the life of Cain who exist outside of his present environment. In chapters 4 and 5 the author states that Seth was the 3rd son born to Eve and Adam. Does that mean that they had daughters before that?
    Just a few questions to begin with if you have the time. Thanks

    • February 16, 2011 8:52 pm

      Since I think the Genesis 2 part of the myth is about God’s intention for humanity to live in perfect harmony with Himself, nature, and each other, chapter 3 is about the unraveling of that plan. So we need to be careful not to read history into here (human beings didn’t have sex before the Fall, etc). It is not about that. In Chapter three, whereas before they walked with God, now they fear God and hide; whereas before they were naked before each other, now they clothe themselves; whereas before the Garden fed them, now by the sweat of their brow they till the soil.

      But, like other myths of its kind, it is about coming to consciousness of good and evil and about the sexual relationship having the power to image God or to disfigure the image. It is a powerful metaphor of relationship with God, but can also tear us away from him by its power.

      I think the fact that there are other human beings mentioned in chapter 4 prove again that it is a myth making a point, not history. Otherwise we have all sorts of other problems about where those humans came from. Some say that the other human beings are not ensouled yet, or are other brothers since according to some traditions Adam and Eve had over 30 children. I think that is all neither here nor there.

  15. Adolfo permalink
    February 13, 2011 6:29 pm

    I’m curious if you had any conversations with Dr. Baglow on the subject and his thoughts on your presentation. Care to share?

    • February 16, 2011 8:46 pm

      We had some. He cautioned me moving too quickly, though acknowledged that he finds the slow pace of doctrinal development frustrating at times. I’ll let you ask him anything more.

  16. smf permalink
    February 14, 2011 4:52 am

    I don’t think science is going to give a certain answer to the question of the exact biological origins of humanity. It can give us some good ideas, and lots of interesting theories. It can likely even exclude some notions, but there simply does not seem to be the level of evidence needed to say for a certainty just how exactly it came about.

    In any case, the theological question is greater than the biological. The question of the human soul and the spiritual element of the human race can not be answered by biology. No person evolves or is biologically produced in normal natural way, though it could perhaps be said their body possibly did. Souls and spiritual beings are not subject to biology, and since human persons have a soul and are both spiritual and material beings, it can not be said that our origins was anything other than Divine.

    Beyond this it is interesting to speculate and to find ways of making reconciliation between various ideas biological and theological, but in the end I don’t think this is a mystery that will every be fully revealed.

  17. February 14, 2011 12:53 pm

    Nathan,
    Perhaps you can clarify your view on the actual existence of Adam and Eve. The Catholic Church teaches that God directly creates each individual soul. (CCC 366).
    For the Christian, who believes that the each individual soul is created by God, the creation of souls had to begin with soul #1 and soul #2 and continue from there. So for Christians the existence of Adam and Eve follows logically from a belief in the soul and is based on reason as well as faith in truthfulness of the Bible.

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