A CNS [Catholic News Service] says that our Catholic Church has evolving answers about the reality of Adam and Eve. [Diocese of Trenton Monitor ,1 September 2011]
While we are reasonably certain that scripture has some variation of interpretation ofView Post things which seem to be written as historical fact, our catechism reminds us that the primary interpretation of scripture is the literal meaning of the words.
see CCC: 116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”83
While variable interpretation seems like a great way to “explain” that which seems unclear in the exact words of scripture, we have never been told by the Church to abandon literal meanings of all scripture. I am most suspicious of those who swing the pendulum in that direction. After all, if we cannot rely upon the word of God as adequate to speak to the faithful, it is indeed a sad condition which has existed for millenia. How about the billions of God’s children who have never had access to modern interpreters and only have the Holy Bible? I suspect God speaks to them very fully in word and Holy Spirit.
Perhaps Luke 3 in which the Geneology of Jesus is detailed might serve to challenge those who want to be more flexible about the words of scripture. If they are determined to deny ADAM as a real person, what about the other 69 or so names in scripture of whom Jesus descended. Are they “real” or sort of a type?
I suggest that too many modern scholars are a bit too comfortable treating God’s word so casually with no more hard evidence of their suppositions than of any number of other suppositions and revised meanings of God’s word. If you doubt the extent of multiple Biblical interpretation, Google “are Adam and Eve real people.”
I see the degredation of scriptural meaning as a most dangerous game in which many of the players are making up different rules such that ALL scripture is open to ALL kinds of interpretation. Some of these interpretations surely fit the words and do not change the meaning but the game is also used by those who wonder – “Did Jesus really say or mean in [Matthew 19]”: “And he said in answer, Have you not seen in the Writings, that he who made them at the first made them male and female, and said, For this cause will a man go away from his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and the two will become one flesh?”
If you think this is trivial, there are pastors in jail today who insist that these words of Jesus are absolutely true and as a result they will not pretend to marry couples who demand it as their right.”
So some modern “experts” wish to be labeled as possessing the truth of God’s word and seek to convince us that many Bible Texts are to be taken with at least a few grains of … Adam and Eve are just the tip of a Biblical iceburg being re-interpreted today. So I use them for illustration.
The New American Bible has 23 references to ADAM.
Many of these references involve historical information about events in Adam’s life.
Genesis 5: tells us that God created “man” – singular- and then names his descendents.
Genesis 5: gives Adam’s age at one point when it describes his son, Seth, and then tells us Adam’s lifespan in years.
1 Chronicles 1: repeats a list of Adam’s descendents. In Tobit, God repeats the fact that from Adam and Eve come all the rest of mankind.
Luke 3v8: again reiterates that Adam is the son of God and first human father of Our Lord Jesus and names many who are part of the Geneology of Jesus.
Romans 5: repeats that Adam Sinned and brought death onto mankind.
1 Timothy 2: names Adam as the first man and Eve the second. It also names Eve as the first to be decieved and sin.
Lastly Jude: speaks of Adam and Enoch.
In (Humani Generis 37). Pius XII makes it clear that we all descend from two first parents. This encyclical gives the name “ADAM” as our first parent.
The Catechism (CCC 390): is very clear that original sin was committed by our first parents at the beginning of human history.
Other references to the person of ADAM from the CCC: Par 359; Par 375; Par 388; Par 399; Par 401-406incl; 411; 416; 417; 518; 532; 536; 538; 539;635; 655;766;769; 1167;1263;2361