Monday, September 17, 2007

Adam and Eve

The New Oxford Review offers some insights.

One cannot overestimate the importance of finding the proper "line of demarcation" between subhuman primates and true man in the quest for Adam and Eve. On the assumption that the current human-evolution theory is essentially correct, such a demarcation line must exist, since we know philosophically that (1) human intellective powers are irreducibly superior to animal sense powers, and (2) the human spiritual soul cannot emerge gradually. Either a given primate is true man or not. Either a spiritual soul is present or not. Some primate must be the first true man, wholly and completely, all at once -- even if the fossil and paleological record fails to reveal that critical point of occurrence in time and place.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#390) tells us how to read Genesis: "The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man." As a rigorous standard against which to test the Homo erectus hypothesis proposed above, Origin of the Human Species uses the decisions of the 1909 Biblical Commission. Some of those findings, such as the original happiness of Adam and Eve in a state of justice, integrity, and immortality, the command of obedience, the sin and fall from the state of innocence, and the promise of the Redeemer are not such as to be verifiable in the fossil record or testable against evolution theory. More problematic are the teachings about the special creation of the man, the formation of the first woman from the man, and the unity of the human race.

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