Creation vs. Evolution and this Adam and Eve business?

Really this is a three for one deal but as these questions are usually asked right after each other so it is easier to answer them together.

Creation and Evolution—Which is true? The answer is BOTH! That probably surprises some of you as people are so outspoken on either side about how they could never fit together. But when one reads the Creation story and truly studies it they begin to wonder about the relationship between time and God. Does God have 24 hours in a day or did the writers of the Bible give us the concept of “days” as a way to understand that creation took place over a period of time? The Truth is God exists outside of time, therefore one day to God could be 1 million years or 1 millisecond, we simply do not know. With this mindset, one can see how the timetable of Evolution can easily fit into the creation story in the Bible.

Another way to look at it is from an Evolution standpoint. You can trace evolution back all the way until you have one atom that’s existence cannot be explained. It didn’t evolve from anything and it wasn’t a product of a bang in the universe. The only explanation is that God created it.

So why do we have the creation story anyway? The story of creation gives us a way to understand two main principles about God: He alone is the one true God and secondly God created everything. Therefore the only way to completely understand how creation happened is to combine each of the stories.

Adam and Eve- Where do they fit?  When one puts the creation and evolution theories together to understand how the world was really created the story of Adam and Eve does not seem to fit. So why would they be in the Bible?? This is where we need to remember that the Bible is a library of different types of books ranging from history to myths and everything in-between. The Creation story falls into the myth category: stories that are given to us in order to teach a lesson. So just like we should not take the creation story as a scientific plan for creation, we should not read Adam and Eve as a history story but rather look for the lesson in the story.

Where did the stories originate if they are not to be read as historical facts or scientific? The writers of the Bible got the story of Adam and Eve and creation from when they were in exile in a country that believed in multiple gods. The story was taken from that religion but used and edited by the writers of the Bible to teach that God alone is the creator and how sin entered the world.

Quick Response= Did creation happen in 7 days? Probably not. Could Adam and Eve have existed? Maybe. The key to these stories are not what they tell us scientifically or historically but rather what they tell us about the Fundamental Truths of our Faith.

Creation vs. Evolution and this Adam and Eve business?

2 thoughts on “Creation vs. Evolution and this Adam and Eve business?

  1. Mike says:

    I thought that we have to affirm (as Catholics) that Adam and Eve were actual historical people and that the account of the fall speaks of an actual historical event. How do you reconcile that understanding of Adam and Eve with CCC 390? Or Humani Generis 37? How does the teaching of original sin hold up if they are not actual historical people?


    1. Thank you for your comment and questions. While in the classrooms I only have about 2 to 4 minutes to answer their questions and get them to think more broadly about our faith. It is very hard to cover all the details and questions that can arise in that time and then replicate in a short blog post. When writing this blog I had two essential points that I wanted to cover: one was the Truth that God alone is the creator. The second was to open the conversation about how science and religion do not contradict each other but rather support each other. To fully answer the questions in the blog and those you addressed would require a book or two!
      To briefly address your questions, yes CCC 390 does speak of our first parents and the sin they committed and what the blog was about does not discredit that. There are two different ways to interpret the Bible: exegesis and actualization. Exegesis is reading the text as the author intended us too. While actualization is to read what the text is telling us today. Most people look to the Bible as a history book full of facts and although the Bible does contain facts, its main purpose to give us the understanding and knowledge needed to get to heaven. The answer to the student’s questions was to get them to think of what the stories are teaching us vs. reading it as a history book. One can understand the principles of the Adam and Eve story, ie. God created man and woman; sin entered the world through their choice against God, without having it be a historical representation of the first people. The CCC goes on to say how this took place “at the beginning of human history” which is when God created the first human soul.
      The teaching of original sin still holds up with this thinking as the story teaches us about the human experience. Original sin is the tendency towards evil and our own wills over God’s. As human beings we understand this in ourselves with the choices we make and our constant need for Confession. Gaudium et Spes reminds us that “For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator” (13). I did not mean for it to sound like I was teaching that the first sin did not exist but rather that the language used in the Bible and the circumstances mentioned are not meant to be read as a history book or a script to be reenacted. Rather the story is there to give us context to understand how sin entered the world and to help us realize that it is through our choices not God’s creation that evil exists.


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