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Catholic Church on Adam and Eve

Does the Catholic Church teach that Adam and Eve existed? My teachers at school said they are just a myth! Are they right?


1. Adam and Eve are not a Myth but two persons who really and truly existed.

2. St Augustine, in his book The City of God, Book 14, xxvi

“Man lived in paradise as he pleased, as long as his pleasure lay in what God had ordered. He lived in the enjoyment of God, the source of all the good there is in man. He lived free from want, and might have so lived for ever. Food was at hand, lest he should hunger; drink, lest he should thirst; the tree of life, lest old age should undo him. His senses and feelings were undisturbed by bodily decay. He feared no disease from within, no assault from without. In his flesh was perfect health; in his soul, perfect peace. As Eden was unvisited by excess of heat or cold, so the will of him who dwelt there was untroubled by fear or greed. No sadness was his, no mere empty pleasure: a steady tide of unceasing joy flowed out to him from God whom he loved with the glowing love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith undimmed by falsehood or insincerity. Man and wife were there, one in mutual trust, one in honourable love, one in the guard they kept over mind and body, one in the easy service of obedience to God’s command.”

3. St Irenaeus:

"And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since ‘a day of the Lord is a thousand years,’ he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin" (Against Heresies 5:23:2 [A.D. 189]).

4. Pope Pius XII (1939-58) makes clear in Humani Generis # 37 that this is "a sin actually committed by an individual Adam."

5. Pope Paul VI in his Credo of June 1967 is very clear about the teaching of the Church about Adam and Eve:

"We believe that in Adam all have sinned, which means that the original offence committed by him caused human nature, common to all men to fall to a state in which it bears the consequence of that offence, and which is not the state in which it was at first in our first parents, established as they were in holiness and justice, and in which man knew neither evil nor death. It is human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to all men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin. We therefore maintain, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, 'not by imitation, but by propagation' and that it is thus 'proper to everyone’…. We believe in one baptism instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.

6. Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) in Redemptor Hominis # 8 (The Redeemer of Man 1979).

The Redeemer of the world! In him has been revealed in a new and more wonderful way the fundamental truth concerning creation to which the Book of Genesis gives witness when it repeats several times: "God saw that it was good". The good has its source in Wisdom and Love. In Jesus Christ the visible world which God created for man-the world that, when sin entered, "was subjected to futility"- recovers again its original link with the divine source of Wisdom and Love. Indeed, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son". As this link was broken in the man Adam, so in the Man Christ it was reforged.

Also # 14

The Church cannot abandon man, for his "destiny", that is to say his election, calling, birth and death, salvation or perdition, is so closely and unbreakably linked with Christ. We are speaking precisely of each man on this planet, this earth that the Creator gave to the first man, saying to the man and the women: "subdue it and have dominion"

7. From the Catechism echoing similarly the words of Pope Pius XII:

375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice". This grace of original holiness was "to share in. . .divine life".

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The Catechism is clear and forthright about the existence of Adam and Eve. There is no doubt whatsoever that they did exist. Adam and Eve before the fall were in a state of Original holiness and Justice. How do we know this? The Catechism tells us it is through the New Testament and Tradition that we know for sure that Adam and Eve were created in Original Holiness and Justice. This is and has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for 2000 years now and this teaching cannot change one iota.

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399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

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Here the Catechism tells us that Adam and Eve committed the serious sin of disobedience and lost the state of original holiness. This disobedience is certainly tragic and with it came disorder and unruly passions.

Further down we have listed most of the paragraphs in the Catechism that speak about Adam and Eve.

8. The Bible is also very clear about Adam and Eve:

Genesis 2:7 God made Adam's body out of the slime of the earth, and breathed an immortal soul into it.

Genesis 2:22 God then cast a deep sleep upon Adam, and taking one of his ribs formed it into Eve.

(Genesis 3.20) says that Eve is the "mother of all the living".

(Mark 10:6) But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.

(St Paul 5:12): "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned."

(Romans 5:19), “"For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners...". Seven times in (Romans 5:12-19), St Paul speaks of Adam as “one man”.

(1 Corinthians 15:45) The first man Adam became a living being the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

(2 Corinthians 11:13) But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ.

(1 Timothy 2:13) For Adam was first formed; then Eve.

9. Council of Trent

The Fifth Session on the DECREE CONCERNING ORIGINAL SIN Canons 1 & 2

1. 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.

2. If anyone asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul; let him be anathema:--whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.

10. Vatican II

Vatican II upheld the teaching on Adam and Eve and Original Sin. Jesus is called the ‘new Adam’, and Mary the ‘new Eve’. If there was no original Adam and Eve, then the Church is using meaningless titles for Our Lord and Our Lady. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear and forthright on this matter (if you don’t have a copy, it is strongly suggested that you get one as the Catechism teaches officially what the Church teaches). I have listed the following paragraphs from the Catechism to help show you clearly that the Catholic Church does teach that Adam and Eve existed and that they committed the Original [i.e., the first ever] Sin.

See Question 5 for more on Vatican II

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From The Catechism of the Catholic Church

375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice". This grace of original holiness was "to share in. . . divine life".

390 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. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam. Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.

417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that "the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live." Jesus, "the Author of life", by dying destroyed "him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage." Henceforth the risen Christ holds "the keys of Death and Hades", so that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth."

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him - He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . "I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead."

766 The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. "The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus." "For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the 'wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.'" As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross.

2361 "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."

Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, "Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety." So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers. . . . You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together." And they both said, "Amen, Amen." Then they went to sleep for the night.