Time to Abandon the Genesis Story?

Legitimate science can never assert that Adam and Eve are impossible. It might claim that they are improbable, but never impossible. God’s omnipotence can always make short work of long odds.


Is the Genesis story of a literal Adam and Eve a tale that is no longer rationally defensible in the first half of our 21st century? 1

Do the findings of contemporary science exclude Catholic belief in a literal Adam and Eve?

What is the actual teaching of the Catholic Magisterium on this subject today?

While the texts of Genesis begin by referring to “man” in Genesis 1:26, by Genesis 5:3, we are told that Adam begot his son, Seth. Since generic “man” cannot generate an individual son, this latter text clearly refers to an actual individual man named Adam. 2

Informed Catholics know that Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical, Humani generis, insisted upon an actual Adam and Eve, and warned the faithful against embracing the conjectural opinion of polygenism, “which maintains that, either, after Adam, there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him, as from the first parent of all, or, that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.” 3 That same encyclical clearly stated that if scientific opinions “are directly or indirectly opposed to the doctrine revealed by God, then the demand that they be recognized can, in no way, be admitted.” 4

Still, Humani generis was promulgated more than half a century ago. In light of scientific views emerging since that time, particularly claims made on behalf of paleoanthropology and genetics, many academics—including priests who deal with evolutionary thought—now consider that belief in a literal Adam and Eve to be a form of archaic mythology. In addition, some allege a certain tentativeness in Humani generis, because, instead of saying that polygenism is simply false, Pius XII allegedly hedged his expression by merely affirming that “it is by no means apparent how … (polygenism) … can be reconciled with” the dogma of Original Sin. 5

Today, the “standard story” of human evolution appears to preclude a literal Adam and Eve. Paleoanthropology accepts evolution of biological species leading to modern man as a gradual progression through time. Earlier primates of the genus Australopithecus, some four million years ago, are replaced by the genus Homo some two million years ago, from which the lineage of modern Homo sapiens descends. Scientists speak of gradual emergence of the consciousness and self-reflection that we find in modern man. There is no first “true” human being which is qualitatively superior to his forebears. 6 Large numbers of earlier hominins (members of the lineage leading to modern man) are seen as slowly evolving over time. No bottleneck (reduced population), smaller than several thousand hominins, is envisaged since the time of the split in the lineages leading to modern chimpanzees and modern man, some seven million years ago. This conventional evolutionary scenario appears to exclude any founding pair of true humans, such as Genesis has traditionally depicted. 7

For example, a widely-cited 1995 study by geneticist Francisco J. Ayala concluded that 32 ancient allelic lineages of the HLA-DRB1 gene existed at the time of the Homo (human)/Pan (chimpanzee) split. Since this is far more than the merely four allelic lineages of the HLA-DRB1 gene that can pass through a single mating pair, Ayala claimed that a literal Adam and Eve was scientifically impossible. 8 Moreover, he also claimed that the population never fell below four thousand, which would again render impossible a bottleneck of a single mating pair of first true human beings. 9

In light of these sorts of scientific claims, many professors of religious studies and theology in Catholic colleges and universities now argue that scientific developments require that polygenism be accepted. For example, a priest-theologian was given national media attention to make claims such as, “(I)f science shows that there is no evidence of monogenism, and there is lots of evidence for polygenism, then a Catholic need have no problem accepting that.” 10 Some also allege that legitimate methods of reconciling Original Sin with polygenism have been found, such as viewing Adam as a primitive tribal leader who rebelled against God or, perhaps, that Original Sin may be viewed as simply mankind’s developing consciousness of its own sinfulness.

This evident subordination of theology to the latest findings of natural science is the same error rejected by Pius X in his 1907 encyclical, Pascendi, when he condemned the errors of Modernism. 11 Since sacred theology was, and still is, the queen of sciences, it remains regulative of truth in its own right, and is not subject to dogmatic revision by novel claims of natural science. 12

Close examination of Pius XII’s teaching in Humani generis makes clear that he judged that both “revealed truth and … the magisterium” dictate that a proper reading of Original Sin entails a sin committed “by one Adam (ab uno Adamo)” that is transmitted to all true human beings through “generation.” 13 That is to say, theological monogenism is the only proper way to read Genesis and the Council of Trent—and monogenism logically excludes polygenism. To this day, the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of Adam and Eve as two individuals who “committed a personal sin.” 14

Clearly, innovations that refer to Adam as a leader in an evolving ancient population, or that speak of a growing human “sin consciousness,” fail to meet the dogmatic requirement of transmission through generation. Nor is the nature of Original Sin subject to revision in terms of its requirement of transmission to all of Adam’s posterity, not by imitation, but by descent—and that it dwells in every single human being. This teaching was solemnly defined at the Council of Trent (Session V) in 1546 in exactly the same terms that Pius XII offers in Humani generis, and also is taken verbatim from the Synods of Carthage and of Orange. 15

A literal Adam and Eve remains perennial Catholic doctrine.

But, what of the scientific claims against our first parents? What of the paleontological evidence indicating a gradual development of human appearance and behavior, with the correlative gradual development of more perfect tools, and of learning to control fire? No sudden demarcation line appears to signal the instant presence of the first true human beings, of Adam and Eve, and their progeny. Here, Christian philosophy affirms that the rational powers of true man are not susceptible to gradual development, since they attend the presence of a spiritual soul. Man either possesses a spiritual soul, or he does not: there is no such thing as a “half-spirit” or an “emerging spirit.” While it may be difficult to discern the exact moment at which purely intellective behavior first appears, some such point in time must exist. Subhuman sentient powers enable sophisticated animals to act in ways that may mimic human behavior, but the essential difference between mere sense and true intellect still prevails. True intellectual activity decisively announces the first presence of true man. 16 Moreover, true man’s actual antiquity must be at least as ancient as the first unequivocal signs of true intellect which appear in the paleontological record.

In my book, Origin of the Human Species, I point out that the making of congruent, three-dimensionally symmetrical, Acheulean stone hand axes constitute what might be the first unequivocal sign of true human presence, since such artistically designed tools manifest true intellectual activity. 17 We now know that such artifacts, as well as possible evidence of the controlled use of fire, date back to the early Middle Pleistocene period—some 750,000 years ago—indicating the presence of true humans at least that far back in time. 18 Philosopher Vincent J. Torley, offering persuasive scientific arguments, as well as philosophical analysis of paleoanthropological evidence evincing rationality, argues in favor of  “Adam and Eve being at least one million years old,” and that they “were the first members of the species Homo heidelbergensis19 Both of our claims follow the same principle, namely, that intellective activity manifests the presence of true human beings, and that the population, in which such signs first appear, would be founded by Adam and Eve. Naturally, speculations about the exact time at which clear signs of true human presence first appear remain somewhat tentative pending further discoveries.

Should such an immense time as a million or so years between Adam and Abraham seem difficult to comprehend and accept, recall that for anyone born in the midst of that period, it is no worse than for a person born midway in the much shorter two-thousand-year time span that biblical fundamentalists calculate for that period. Both individuals would be born long after Adam, and die long before Abraham, with no direct access to either, save in primeval memory and distant anticipation.

As for the genetic evidence, Ayala’s claim of 32 ancient lineages of the HLA-DRB1 gene has been corrected in a 1998 study led by Tomas Bergström, which found that only seven such lineages existed at the time of the Homo/Pan divergence. 20 This was followed by yet another study from the Bergström group in 2007 that concluded to only four allelic lineages of the HLA-DRB1 gene prior to five million years ago, with a few more appearing shortly thereafter. 21 While just two mating hominins can pass on four, ancient allelic lineages, the other lineages of the HLA-DRB1 gene, appearing later on, require further study.

While the downward progression in ancient lineages observed in these studies is fascinating, and deeply undercuts the claims of Ayala and others against Adam and Eve’s possibility, they do not tell us anything definitive about human origins. Still, this downward progression in ancient lineages underlines the radical tentativeness of such studies—a tentativeness rooted in their very nature. Such studies entail retrospective calculations aimed deep into primeval times, but based on present-day data. They entail mathematical models, which are based on assumptions about mutation rates, stability of population dynamics, random breeding among individuals, and so forth. 22 Because such assumptions may not reflect actual populations, some geneticists conclude that these methods alone may not allow realistic estimates of “effective population size” (an idealized size of a breeding population). 23

The nature of the scientific method itself entails the impossibility of ever saying that Adam and Eve are “scientifically impossible.” Natural science’s inherent inductive method is logically impotent to produce a genuinely universal inference—much less one that is a negative universal. Once it was thought that all swans were white, until a black swan was encountered in Australia. Legitimate science can never assert that Adam and Eve are impossible. It might claim that they are improbable, but never impossible. God’s omnipotence can always make short work of long odds.

Still, some may yet doubt that natural science will ever clearly account for present genetic diversity arising from a single pair of first true humans. For them, a simple alternative explanation remains available: interbreeding. Interbreeding would entail a rare mating between a true human being, and a subhuman primate, from a population with similar biological anatomy. (This is not to be confused with the incest required for Adam and Eve’s immediate descendants, temporarily needed to propagate the human species.) Even rare instances of such interbreeding would easily suffice to enrich the genetic pool enough to account for presently observed genetic diversity.

Unlike some others who advocate an “interbreeding solution,” I maintain that such sexual unions must have been very rare and incidental—assuming any were needed at all. God would certainly have excluded the perverse act of bestiality in any directly intended part of his plan for human origins. 24 True humans might not even be responsible for such perverse acts, since subhuman males might have attacked true human females.

In light of the greatly reduced number of ancient genetic lineages needed to be explained, once Ayala’s large overestimation has been corrected for, rare and incidental instances of interbreeding, if required, can easily explain the genetic diversity found in today’s human population.

We know from Divine Revelation that Original Sin is a “primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.” 25 The preceding explanation demonstrates that this essential Catholic doctrine of Adam and Eve’s literal reality is also rationally credible—even in the face of contemporary skepticism based upon misleading scientific claims. Wide dissemination of this realistic defense of our first parents’ literal reality is critically important because it clearly demonstrates that the very foundations of Christian revelation remain secure, even in this age of secular unbelief.

  1. I am indebted to Mary Helen Klinge-Drucker for many helpful suggestions and for editing of this article. I wish to acknowledge that the same central theme and some of the same sources are treated by me in a somewhat longer chapter, “The Myth of the ‘Myth’ of Adam and Eve,” which appears in the volume, Sztuka i realizm (Art and Reality), published in Poland (2014), by Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu. That same chapter appears in an appendix to the third edition of my book, Origin of the Human Species (Ave Maria, FL: Sapientia Press, 2014).
  2. Gen 1-5, Douay-Rheims.
  3. Humani generis, n. 37.
  4. Ibid., n. 35.
  5. Humani generis, n. 37.
  6. Dennis Bonnette, Origin of the Human Species (Naples, FL: Sapientia Press, second edition, 2003), 139-143.
  7. I am indebted to Dr. Ann Gauger, Senior Research Scientist at the Biologic Institute, for her extensive discussions with me on current genetic research into our origins. Still, all views expressed are my own. See Dr. Gauger’s chapter, “The Science of Adam and Eve,” in Science and Human Origins, by Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe, and Casey Luskin (Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press, 2012), 105-122.
  8. Francisco J. Ayala, “The Myth of Eve: Molecular Biology and Human Origins,” Science 270 (1995): 1930-1936.
  9. F.J. Ayala, “Response to H.A. Erlich et al.: HLA sequence polymorphism and human origins,” Science 274 (1996): 1554.
  10. http://www.catholicreview.org/article/work/catholic-church-has-evolving-answer-on-reality-of-adam-and-eve
  11. Pascendi dominici gregis (Sept. 8, 1907).
  12. Ibid., n. 17.
  13. Humani generis, n. 37.
  14. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, 404.
  15. Denzinger-Hünermann 43rd ed. (2010), 1511-1514; See also, Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, trans. Patrick Lynch (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., sixth edition,1964), 108.
  16. Bonnette, Origin of the Human Species, 155.; See also, Dennis Bonnette, “Monogenism and Polygenism,” in New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-2013: Ethics and Philosophy, Ed. Robert L. Fastiggi, Vol. 3, (Detroit: Gale, 2013), 1014.
  17.  Bonnette, Origin of the Human Species, 163-164; See also: http://www.cope.co.za/Archaeo/masterhandaxe.htm
  18.  Thomas Wynn, “Archeology and Cognitive Evolution,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2002), 389-438, especially 398; Naama Goren-Inbar et al., Evidence of Hominin Control of Fire at Gesher Benot Ya’agov, Israel,” Science 304 (2004): 725-727.
  19. http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/who-was-adam-and-when-did-he-live-twelve-theses-and-a-caveat/
  20. Tomas Bergström et al., “Recent Origin of HLA-DRB1 Alleles and Implications for Human Evolution,” Nature Genetics 18 (1998): 237-242.
  21. Jenny von Salomé et al., “Full-length sequence analysis of the HLA-DRB1 locus suggests a recent origin of alleles,” Immunogenetics (2007) 59: 261–271.
  22. Gauger, “The Science of Adam and Eve,” in Science and Human Origins, 111-112.
  23. P. Sjödin, I. Kaj, S. Krone, ‡M. Lascoux and M. Nordborg, “On the Meaning and Existence of an Effective Population Size,” Genetics 169 (February 2005): 1061–1070.
  24. Dennis Bonnette, “Monogenism and Polygenism,” in New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-2013: Ethics and Philosophy, Vol. 3, 1014.
  25. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, 390.
Dennis Bonnette, PhD About Dennis Bonnette, PhD

Dennis Bonnette, PhD, retired in 2003 as a full professor of philosophy at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, where he was chairman of the philosophy department from 1992 to 2002. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. Dr. Bonnette taught philosophy at the college level for more than 40 years, and continues teaching, offering free courses at the Aquinas School of Philosophy. He has published many scholarly articles and two books, with the third edition of his Origin of the Human Species (Sapientia Press) appearing in 2014. His web site is www.drbonnette.com.


  1. Avatar Florian says:

    Indeed God, who created all things from nothing, can do the impossible – He caused a virgin to conceive His Son without having intercourse with man. Still, believing that Genesis is entirely factual is very difficult…if God would not have permitted ‘bestiality’ why would He have permitted incest? A child asked me recently if God created more than just two human beings at the beginning of time? And how would that deal with original sin? We spoke about how some things cannot be known by the human mind and that God intends some things to remain a ‘mystery’ – at least for a time. I do believe that God is at the origin of all…in a primal form. Then, little Nicholas asked me how could God have always existed – what does that even mean? And I replied ” what is the “M” word…and Nicholas said: “Mystery!” – and that is so even for adults. Mystery.

  2. Perhaps we do well to consider the distinct ends of the two views. The narrative of Adam and Eve urges believers to a reconciliation with God by laying out God’s creation, his daily affection, Adam and Eve’s transgression, and the subsequent fall. Does this have an impact on the life of a believer? Even if it were a myth, why wouldn’t it? Mythology is too often derided as something false, fake, untrustworthy, and so on. But myth can communicate a truth on a level beyond that of mere factual reporting. It has been the human experience in Christ that we come as damaged goods. But Christ’s redemptive service to people has changed that. This is not some logical set of bricks by which we topple the whole of salvation by proving the non-existence of a first couple.

    The natural sciences of genetics, geography, archaeology, and paleontology seek to extend human knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for our place in the universe. If Adam and Eve didn’t exist, that does not deny the core truth of Genesis, that is, the religious and spiritual experience of Christian believers when confronted with their sin.

    It seems strange to suggest that theology outranks natural science–God created all of nature. If things don’t seem to measure up, who are we to question God’s creation when it may well be our faulty philosophies that fall short?

    • Avatar Christopher Knuffke says:

      Beyond science, the reality of the Genesis story, regardless of its literary genre, lies in its assertion (as per the Magisterium) that God created two humans, man and woman. . .and that ALL human beings descended from them. (See Pope Pius XII, Human Generis; Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God.) This consequently affects one’s views on Creation, man, Original Sin. . .and therfore Redemption. (See also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #355 – 384.)

      P.S. How can Christ be the New Adam (St. Paul), if there was no Adam?

      • Genesis is true, but it seems not to be “real” in the sense that the contemporary human intellect would hold and define reality. Biblical literalists are as much beholden to the Enlightenment as anyone else they criticize. They are caught on this one. They are taking 2-3 millennia-old literature and assigning values from the past two centuries and never intended to be applied.

        Adam and Eve give Jews and Christians a model from which to draw faith, to live in reconciliation with God, and to appreciate the salvific event of Christ. The evidence from the universe points to a reality they did not exist as the ancient Mesopotamians posited, later to be picked up by the Torah. That doesn’t affect metaphors connected to Christ that nurture our faith.

        Regarding the “New Adam,” in some ways, if you look closely at Christ, he was certainly not a new Adam. But in Paul’s teaching context, the metaphor works because it communicates something deeper and more important than a literal Adam and Eve.

      • Avatar Christopher Knuffke says:

        Re: Todd. . .I would agree that is not historical science as defined in modernity – but it is REAL, not just a myth. And again, there would be no New Adam really, if there was no REAL Old Adam. Original Sin has no meaning, unless SOMEONE (Adam) sinned. . .unless we gut the Catechism of its stated and clear meaning.

      • I don’t quite agree. I didn’t write “myth.” I wrote true. I can accept real. But Adam and Eve were not factual. But that doesn’t make them any less true or real in the sense that really counts.

        The human reality is that we sin, we cannot control it, and that Christ saves.

    • Avatar Joe Martin says:

      ” I can accept real. But Adam and Eve were not factual.” This frankly seems like Modernism according to earlier papal encyclicals. The problem is the Church fathers all thought of Adam and Eve as historical, as did Paul. So to go with the myth line dismisses the earliest and most authoritative commentators, and gives the lie to it being Enlightenment literalism. I know plenty of “literalists,” and none insist allegory and stories are not parts of Scripture: Jonah may be, for example. But on the question of Adam, to dismiss his actuality overturns Original Sin no matter how you slice it. I do think people individually can of course disagree, but I’d also point to the gutted stated of gospel understanding in the Church today as proof of the very problematic consequences. And after all, if the vey first chapters of a book re highly misleading, how trustworthy is it?

      • Actually, the Church fathers didn’t think of Genesis as historical, not in the same sense people have accounted history for the past few centuries. The ancients had a totally different view, one that was not dependent on factual verification, and one more reliant on oral tradition.

        Jonah may be. Probably Tobit. Likely good chunks of Genesis that describe nine-century lifespans. It doesn’t make them any less real or true than the actual life of Jesus. They are no less significant for religion or for the spiritual life. The point is not what literally happened to Adam or Methuselah all those years ago, but what happens to todays believers, and how we respond to God.

        You seem to assume that the beginning of Genesis is somehow misleading. Why is that? I don’t accept Adam and Eve as history, and I don’t find it at all misleading. And as for Original Sin, its curious that Judaism never “found” this, and they had Genesis for a millennium longer than Christians. Original sin is a reality we see evident in human existence. We don’t need a literal Adam and Eve to reinforce it.

        Are Genesis origin stories even less trustworthy if we accept they were pagan in origin?

        And modernism? Really? We can be a little more discerning than that, right?

    • Todd, it is not OUR philosophy that falls short but THEIRS. Darwinism falls far short of Aristotle’s principle of “adequate cause.”

      The Genesis provide adequate cause, while evolution if full of “somehow,” “accidentally,” “probably” explanations.


  3. Avatar Martin B. Drew says:

    There is a definitive commentary ” On Genesis, A New reading ” by father Bruce Vawter, CM This 476 page commentary clearly exegetes Genesis academically, theologically and Scripturally I have this wonderful edition . In I father Vawter Strives to bring all differing views together, The introduction discusses rhe various sources that are joined to form the genesis in the literary forms of myth, etiological story, epic, saga that are combined in the narrative and the theological significance of genesis for the people at the time of the writing.and for the Church today.There is a line by line commentary on Genesisprobing in full these areas by consideration of the original text, comparison to other ancient writings and exploration of various schools of of scholarly thought. IT is an excellent read and informs one that adam is man and eve is woman and the faculties of mind and will indicate that they can make choices .

    • Avatar Joe Martin says:

      Vawter is controversial, to say the least. As an example, he consigned the Annunciation to midrash status in correspondence with Frank Sheed. Hardly Catholic in any meaningful sense there.

      • Avatar Sharon Andonia says:

        he consigned the Annunciation to midrash status in correspondence with Frank Sheed.

        Please provide a link to where Sheed “consigned the Annunciation to midrash status”

  4. Avatar Sam Nigro, MD says:

    I have always been comfortable with “Adam and Eve”, because I am sure God would not have initially informed us of our beginnings by mathematical formulae or the eight basic physics (event, spectrum, dimension, field, quantum, uncertainty, singularity, and force) of all physical existence as listed by Stephen Hawkings. “Adam and Eve”, as described, are understandable, personal, material, identifiable, unifying, moral, and uplifting. Genetically, they were not Adam and Frank nor Eve and a mule (mules are sterile). The first humans’ spirituality is undeniable and transcendent, and such qualities can be discerned from all physics if one searches. But the Divine metaphor is enough. Meanwhile, basic science changes every five years, and scientists are frauds more than their organizations can ever allow acknowledgement. “Forbidden fruit” for sure as scientists find more complexity and less verifiability except for Darwinism–a grandiose dogma which becomes less believable as one learns of pheromones limiting reproduction to copulation between mature opposite sexed creatures of the same species at a time of high reproductive probability. Another problem for Darwin are the over three billion human base pairs needed to organize themselves properly in the over three billion years since, allegedly, only bacteria were on the earth. With known mutation rates, one new correctly fitting base pair each year for three billion years is hard to believe–Also unbelievable are any alleged accumulated great numbers of correct base pairs because hybrids are sterile. And if the physics of pre-Big-Bang immediacy of all-iin-all is tenable, then Adam and Eve need less doubting than Darwin. Dr. Bonnette has it right. His book is just out in new issue.

  5. Encouraging how faithful this article is to Humani Generis.

    Discouraging how unfaithful it is to the lineage in the Gospel of Luke

  6. Avatar Augustine Thomas says:

    It seems insane to me that people try to put their own limits on the being that made the Milky Way.
    Further, what is so hard to believe about Adam and Eve being the first two homo-sapiens with souls, who begat the ancestors of all other homo sapiens with souls?

  7. Some comments on this thread do not appear to reflect an adequate grasp of the force of what I wrote about the stance of the Magisterium regarding a literal, individual Adam and Eve. When Pius XII tells us that “revealed truth … and the Magisterium” dictate that a proper reading of Original Sin requires a sin committed by a single, individual Adam {ab uno Adamo}, this is, in fact and in truth, the Magisterium itself telling us how to interpret Scripture and previous Church teachings. These include inter alia Genesis and St. Paul, the Council of Trent and the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission.

    Since the Magisterium is its own ultimate authoritative interpreter of itself, any and all other persons and authorities that wish to call themselves Catholic must concur in affirming that there is but a single, individual historical human being called Adam. That is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church continues to speak of Adam and Eve as two individuals who “committed a personal sin.”

    As for the distinction between incest and bestiality that someone questioned, while Fr. Heribert Jone’s Moral Theology lists incest under “natural sins of impurity” which is “forbidden by the Church,” it lists bestiality under “unnatural sins of impurity” and as “the worst of all the sins of impurity.”

    The objection is raised that my article is “unfaithful … to the lineage of the Gospel of Luke” – presumably because the number of generations is far too small to allow for Adam to have lived hundreds of thousands of years ago. This is similar to the reasoning that Bishop James Ussher used to argue that the patriarchal genealogies of Genesis would date Adam back only about six thousand years. I address the latter objection in detail in my book, Origin of the Human Species. (See pp. 181-184.) The patriarchal generations cannot be proven to be continuous, since the biblical usage of “begot” does not always imply immediate offspring. So, too, the “who was of” of Luke 3 need not imply an immediate progenitor. Hence, such genealogies need not be continuous – thereby failing to support any chronological inferences.

    My article attempts to offer a coherent defense of the rational credibility of the Church’s teaching of a literal single spousal couple, Adam and Eve. Many underestimate what is needed for an adequate explanation. It is much like solving a simultaneous equation with three variables: theological, philosophical, and scientific. Often, explanations are offered that meet one or two of the essential criteria, but not all three. For example, as seen in this thread, some attempt to solve the problem by accepting the claims of some scientists about polygenism, but in so doing, ignore or deny the clear teaching of the Church concerning monogenism. In other venues, authors are seen to defend the Church teaching, but offer scientific explanations which are clearly defective.

    My book, Origin of the Human Species, with added appendices in the expanded third edition (2014), offers an explanation which is faithful to the Magisterium, consistent with authentic Thomistic philosophy, and does not violate sound science.

    Since the new third edition is not yet listed on Amazon books, those wanting to obtain a copy can presently do so through the Catholic University of America press at: http://cuapress.cua.edu/books/viewbook.cfm?book=XBOH

    • Avatar Augustine Thomas says:

      Can you elaborate on “scientific explanations which are clearly defective”? And give us a quick summary of which isn’t defective?
      You believe that God made Adam and Eve appear from thin air or that they’re the first homo-sapiens with souls? (It’s not clear from your article.)

  8. Thank you for your questions Augustine Thomas.

    Regarding scientific explanations, one must first realize that natural science, by its very nature, never can offer apodictic certitude for its sophisticated claims. It can offer high degrees of probability. That is all.

    A scientific explanation which is highly likely to be defective would be the one claiming that Adam lived about six thousand years ago and that the cosmos is only about ten thousand years old. But this is not the place to debate young earth creationism, and I won’t do so. Read the entire literature.

    A quick summary of a scientific explanation that is not defective? If you mean a full explanation of the entire possible scenario of human origins, I can offer no quick summary. That is why I wrote an entire book dealing with many aspects of evolutionary theory in relation to philosophy and theology. Yet, certainly the generally accepted age of the earth at billions of years old would be one statement which can stand scientific scrutiny in my judgment. But again, I am well aware that some would want to hotly debate that as well.

    I never said that Adam and Eve appeared from thin air. My book allows for several possible scenarios which God might have used to create our first parents, ranging from direct, literal creation “from the slime of the earth” to some form using pre-existing subhuman primate material, but with instantaneous transformation into genuinely human beings. Again, this is a bit complicated to explain on this thread.

    I would avoid saying the first true human beings were the first Homo sapiens, since that is to confuse a biological species concept with a philosophical natural species. The first true human beings were the first ones whose substantial forms (souls) were intellectual in nature, and thus, spiritual. God alone can directly create such forms or souls. Which biological species of primates they happen to appear within is another question. I point out in the article that artistic stone hand axes appear about three-quarter million years ago, indicating the presence of true intellective activity at that point. At that time, paleoanthropology claims that Homo erectus walked the earth. Philosophy helps us discern the first time of appearance of true man by looking for signs of true intellect, since only beings with intellectual souls can be true man. Philosophy can lay down the principles which govern proper conclusions, but prudential judgments must be made by researchers based upon sound scientific evidence to which those principles must be applied.

  9. “Regarding scientific explanations, one must first realize that natural science, by its very nature, never can offer apodictic certitude for its sophisticated claims. It can offer high degrees of probability. That is all.”

    That’s not quite true. When looking at a blending of the sciences of genetics, anthropology, and geography, it’s something more than just a matter of statistics. It is also a careful, scientific reading of the natural world, which in some ways is somewhat clearer than what we get through the lens of Babylonian creation mythology lensed through the Torah. Sometimes it is the natural world, God’s creation, that possesses the sophistication that once baffled us.

    That said, science has nothing to say on the notion of ensoulment. Did the offspring of Adam and Eve intermarry with human beings without souls? Are human beings defined by the possession of a soul?

    “(A)ny and all other persons and authorities that wish to call themselves Catholic must concur in affirming that there is but a single, individual historical human being called Adam.”

    This is an exaggeration. Affirmation of Adam and Eve is not in the Creed. Adam and Eve are not part of history, as historians define history today. No records, no evidence–and a Mesopotamian creation myth is not authoritative.

    And more, it might be that in the modern moral sphere, we take something of the culpability for sin off ourselves by looking too intently at Adam and Eve. Without denying their sin, we have only to compare ourselves then, now, and in between, with animals. No other creation treats others with such beastly brutality. I think we’re on a better moral track looking to our own sins, rather than getting too deep into a conversation about what happened six, ten, or a few hundred thousand years ago.

    Original sin does not require historical verification.

    • First, let me be clear. I am not trying to debate the myriad of non-Catholic theological speculations that fill the books of history and academe. As a Catholic, I follow the Magisterium of the Church. Period. Careful reading of Church teaching makes clear her position, which I outline in this article above and in greater detail in my book, Origin of the Human Species. If you wish to argue that a literal Adam and Eve is not Church teaching, please address the arguments put forth in the article and book. My personal opinion and your personal opinion do not equal that of the official Magisterium of the Catholic Church – at least not if we claim to be Catholics.

      As a Catholic, I accept what the Catholic Church teaches about Adam and Eve and Original Sin. My purpose in writing my book was to examine the interface of Catholic theology and philosophy with what we know from natural science about human origins – not to challenge the official teaching of the Church.

      If you have carefully studied the sciences of dogmatic theology and metaphysics, you understand why I said that the perinoetic knowledge attainable through natural science cannot attain the dianoetic certitude available solely to the aforementioned theological and philosophical sciences. Those educated primarily in the natural sciences alone fail to grasp the meaning of apodictic certitude. “Careful scientific reading of the natural world” that is “somewhat clearer” is already cast in the language of probability, not absolute certitude. That is what I was saying.

      If you read my article, I cite scientific studies which greatly impressed many people – only to be found to be in error by subsequent studies. That is the radical epistemic contingency which riddles the scientific method, especially relating to events and conditions taking place in the distant past. Those who grant natural science a kind of dogmatic certitude are usually not the leading lights of the scientific community. Unfortunately, many of the leading scientists are also committed positivists who, speaking outside their proper field of expertise, make grandiose metaphysical claims of atheism paradoxically paired with epistemic claims of agnosticism. Most scientists remain utterly oblivious to the fact that their beloved scientific method inevitably presupposes the constant application of such metaphysical first principles as non-contradiction and sufficient reason – not to mention the absolute presumption of an epistemological realism without which they could not even begin to make scientific observations of empirical data. If they are not certain that their lab assistant exists, how can they accept his reports?

      You are correct in saying science says nothing of ensoulment. That is a properly philosophical question, dependent on an accurate grasp of hylemorphic principles. The question of possible interbreeding is, as I indicate in the article, still subject to controversy. And yes, a rudimentary grasp of classical philosophy makes clear that man is defined as such by his substance being informed by a rational, spiritual soul. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, 365.)

      I readily grant that we all must look to our own sins, but that does not gainsay the revealed reality of Original Sin transmitted to all Adam’s progeny through propagation, not imitation – a “primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, 390). An event critical to the logical need for the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

      “Original Sin does not require historical verification.” Precisely. It is Church teaching. As are Adam and Eve’s literal reality. Given the number of people who doubt or deny that teaching today – in the name of alleged science, it is fitting and proper to offer a rational defense of that teaching’s credibility. That is all I am attempting to do.

      Please note again my article, “Monogenism and Polygenism,” in the peer reviewed New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-2013: Ethics and Philosophy, Vol. 3, 1014.

      In a later post, you say that our knowledge of Original Sin “isn’t dependent on history, which is just a human tradition.” But the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly teaches that Original Sin was “a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. (CCC, 390). Thus, the historicity of Original Sin does not depend on the human science of history, but on the Teaching Authority of the Church, which we, as Catholics, necessarily accept.

  10. Scientists argue over the age of the Shroud of Turin, and yet I’m supposed to believe that you KNOW the first controlled fire happened 750,000 to a million years ago? I don’t buy it. You all don’t know as much as you like to pretend you know.

    What is “dark matter” anyway? Hmmm. The unanswered questions just keep piling up. I think I’ll stick to scripture.

    • Please read the article again. It refers to “possible evidence of controlled use of fire….”
      If you read the whole article with full context, you will see that much of it is precisely a critique of overblown claims made by some natural scientists.
      I am walking a line between positivistic mentalities that reject Church teaching in the name of science — and people of good faith who tend to reject good science because they fear it undermines true religion.
      Catholics should not fear good science. Nor should they betray clear Catholic teaching in the name of radically contingent scientific claims.

      • Good scientists make observations. They use God-given senses and intellect to seek truth in what God has created. The Vatican Observatory astronomer Br Guy Consolmagno says it well: “Science doesn’t prove. Science describes.”

        Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from science, which is just a human tradition and endeavor seeking the truth. But like religion, science can have supporters who overreach, or who come to false conclusions about things it knows little about.

        How and why original sin came to be is a great mystery, but it isn’t dependent on history, which is just another human tradition. It is enough for me to hold to and receive the tradition. Explanations sometimes cloud the issue rather than clarify.

  11. Avatar Gabriel says:

    I am sure that you are familiar with the research on mitochondria and DNA that lead scientists to conclude that we are all descended from a single mother whom some called “Eve” for obvious reasons. What do you think of that?

    • Thank you for the question, Gabriel.

      Many people have gotten excited about the alleged “mitochondrial DNA Eve,” but, unfortunately, she is not a good candidate for the actual spouse of Adam.

      I cover this in Origin of the Human Species (pp. 177-180). For one thing, the woman in question was probably not the only woman on Earth, but simply a woman lucky enough not to have had her mtDNA disappear in human history. Thousands of other women may have been living at the same time, but their mtDNA lines became extinct because at some point they failed to procreate any daughters.

      Second, while there is controversy about just how old the mtDNA “Eve” was, most estimates range to no more than 300,000 years. As I point out in my article, there appears to be evidence of intellective (and therefore, genuinely human) behavior that dates back some three-quarters of a million years or so – in which case, the “mtDNA Eve” appears much too recently in human history to be the true Eve of Genesis, wife of the Adam who committed Original Sin.

      • Avatar Gabriel says:

        The idea that thousands of other women were living at the same time as the mitochondrial mother of us all and that they failed to produce female offspring is mathematically possible, however, in fact, in a hunter gatherer society the population would have been too dispersed for this to have occurred. Thus, even though it is possible that rather intelligent beings (e.g. Neanderthals and their ancestors) existed who lived before or at the same time as “Eve,” we are not the descendents of any mother except “Eve.” What makes Adam and Eve special is the special relationship they had with God (the first covenant) not the merely the fact that they had a certain level of intelligence.

  12. Two points, Gabriel.
    I did not mean to suggest that there were thousands of other females at the time of mtDNA “Eve” and that none of them had female offspring. What happened is that at some point in their lineages no females were produced, thus ending the mtDNA thread proceeding from them. MtDNA “Eve” merely has to do with tracing back the lineage to a first common female ancestor, but it really tells us nothing about that “Eve” being the first female true human being at all. If you study the whole story, you will find it is a dead end. The lead geneticist involved in the study, Allan C. Wilson, promoted the use of the term, “Eve,” even though he later on sought to dispel the confusion it caused to the general public.

    As for the relationship of intellective activity and Adam, this is simply a matter of sound Thomistic philosophy. Intellective activity bespeaks an intellective soul which entails a spiritual soul. Since Adam is the first spiritual souled hominin, you cannot logically separate Adam from the first signs of intellective activity. I really cannot reprise my entire book’s analysis on this brief thread, but It is a common error to try to assign Adam to a more recent hominin group than those earlier ones that also exhibited intellective behavior. Were that true, there would be true men living before Adam — pre-Adamites. This is an hypothesis which is not accepted by most Catholic theologians. One can raise many, many alternate possibilities when speculation about human origins. As i indicated in an earlier comment, a competent explanation of human origins requires correct coordination of theological, philosophical, and natural scientific factors. This is complex — and the reason why it took me 267 pages in my book to do so!

    As G.K. Chesterton maintains in his book, the Romance of Orthodoxy, orthodoxy is like standing upright. There is but a single angle at which one can do so, and infinite angles at which one can fall (into error). Trying to solve the problem of human origins is somewhat similar, since all three disciplines’ (theology, philosophy, and natural science) contributions must be simultaneously and factually coordinated.

    • Avatar Gabriel says:

      Just to clarify, my point was not that the hypothetical contemporaries of “Eve” had no female children; my point was that assuming they did, the human population of hunter gatherers would have been so dispersed that it would have been impossible for all the other lines to disappear because of the geographic separation. The mathematical possibility of the other lines disappearing presumes that they continue (as on an island) to mingle for a long period of time. I raised the problem of the Neanderthals as one example, who certainly had some degree of intelligence, but you have not dealt with that problem regarding the Adam and Eve topic you have raised here.

      • Besides the fact that the mtDNA studies are irrelevant to human origins because evidence of intelligent, spiritual-souled, true humans temporally precede their alleged “Eve,” there is an added problem regarding your reference to “the human population of hunter gatherers” and their “other lines” of offspring that might later disappear.

        This is why philosophical analysis remains relevant to the problem of human origins. The essential difference between Adam and Eve and the rest of the hominin population from which they are hypothetically assumed to have appeared is precisely that our first parents are true human beings, with spiritual souls (substantial forms) which place them in a qualitatively superior philosophical natural species. The rest of the population from which they would have arisen would not be true men, but merely highly sophisticated subhuman animals. They would not constitute a “human” population at all. Since all we see around us today are true human beings, it is evident that this subhuman population did, in fact, go extinct – possibly because of inability to compete with true humans. Adequate defense of this explanation requires more lengthy explanation than is possible here, since it requires greater philosophical and theological elaboration.

        You are right in saying I did not treat this question in my HPR article above. There are many other questions not treated therein. This is a short article, aimed primarily at (1) establishing that perennial Catholic doctrine remains committed to a literal Adam and Eve and (2) answering some recent objections raised against that doctrine by claims made by some paleoanthropologists and geneticists.

        For an analysis of many others questions about human origins, you would have to read my book on the topic, and also go to my web site at drbonnette.com and read the article from the New Oxford Review entitled “Must Human Evolution Contradict Genesis?,” which is posted there in full. Even so, the most anyone can offer is the general outline of a plausible explanation for human origins that comports with Church doctrine.

        Again, for the present, the only source for the third edition of my book is at http://cuapress.cua.edu/books/viewbook.cfm?book=XBOH

      • Avatar Gabriel says:

        I might add a theological angle to all of this, which of course is what I am most interested in. As I said above, it seems to me that the mitochondrial Eve is a good candidate for the first member of the couple that had the gratuitous covenant relationship with God that we find in the Bible as described in Genesis. Although there may have been other beings with some intelligence, like the Neanderthals, we can only speculate about what relationship they had with the Creator. What is important here is to note that Adam and Eve had a special relationship not just because they had intelligence, it was a free gift of God, which they lost afterwards. Only in Christ is that free gift renewed and surpassed.

  13. To Gabriel:

    Since you are concerned about the theology of Adam, I have to comment on your statement:
    “Although there may have been other beings with some intelligence, like the Neanderthals, we can only speculate about what relationship they had with the Creator.”

    This reflects the very common misconception that there might have been other hominins either simultaneous with or chronologically after Adam who had “some intelligence,” but were not the biological descendants of Adam. Such a view is not theologically tenable. Pope Pius XII, in Humani Generis, makes this absolutely clear:

    “… [T]he faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.”

    (Please reread my article above regarding the logical implications of Original Sin and the Council of Trent and the Synods of Carthage and of Orange.)

    The only possible ambiguity here is whether beings with “some intelligence” (no matter how diminished) must be considered “true men.”

    As I demonstrate in chapters five and six of Origin of the Human Species, true human beings are distinguished from lower brute animals by the possession of a rational, intellective soul or nature, regardless of its degree of perfection. Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics 1.13, affirms that the human being has a rational principle. That “man is a rational animal” has always been the common dictum of scholastic philosophy. All Catholic philosophers down through history, including St. Thomas Aquinas and his commentators and more recent leading Thomists, such as Pere Garrigou-Lagrange, Jacques Maritain, Etienne Gilson, and many others, have affirmed that any animal possessing rationality or intellect is a true human being.

    Hence, it is utterly untenable to claim that hominins with “some intelligence” are not true human beings, subject to the clear teaching of Pius XII that all such human beings must be the direct descendants of Adam. This precludes any collateral lines of such beings existing at the same time as Adam or after him.

    Thus, directly contradictory to what you say above, it is precisely because all human beings possess intelligence that they have a “special relationship” with God. If the Neanderthals had any intelligence at all, and they clearly did, then they too are the descendants of Adam and Eve – and do not represent a distinct collateral lineage. This applies to all other allegedly collateral hominin lineages which manifest any degree of genuine intellectual ability.

    Adam is the first true human being, marked precisely by his abilities to reason, judge, form abstract concepts, and make free choices — including the free choice to commit Original Sin.

    • As out correctly point out, the thought behind Humani Generis depends on what the Pope meant by “true men.” As you know, given the genetic diversity of Neanderthals, they probably could not normally produce children with our ancestors. Thus, I would wonder if the Pope meant that they were “true men.”

      • As a sound Thomistic philosopher and theologian himself, Pope Pius XII meant by “true men,” “rational animals” just as described in my preceding comment — beings whose nature is defined by both intellectual and sentient powers, united in a single living substance. This definition constitutes a single philosophical natural species which is the same in each and every genuine human being.

        The criterion you mention about possible inability to produce children between modern man and the generations of our first parents pertains to the biological species concept, an entirely distinct way of defining species used by natural scientists. I am unaware of any scientists raising the concern you voice and I am certain that this criterion, which is entirely incidental to human nature, was not what the Holy Father had in mind.

      • Avatar Gabriel says:

        In the history of dogma, it is important to not put in ideas that were not really in the mind of the author when he spoke. The question of whether there were other manlike beings like the Neanderthals (separate biological species which are now extinct) coexisting with the descendents of Adam and Eve (who had a received a special covenant relationship with God), does not seem to be the question the Pope is addressing.

    • “This reflects the very common misconception that there might have been other hominins either simultaneous with or chronologically after Adam who had “some intelligence,” but were not the biological descendants of Adam. Such a view is not theologically tenable.”

      But what if it were true? Theology has nothing to say on the natural occurrences in the world, nor can it put a limit on God.

      Additionally, I would object to the characterization of “lower brute” animals. Because of the nature of sin, it is us human beings who have indulged in brute behavior. Animals may kill and eat as part of their natural state, but they are not plagued by activities that distinguish human beings: mass murder, torture, vengeance, cruelty, and abuse.

      • Divine Revelation puts no limit on God, but rather is God speaking to us through His Church.
        The Church documents I cited above make amply clear that Original Sin was committed by the single individual first true human being, Adam, and that it is found in every other true human being by reason of being one of Adam’s biological descendants. This leaves no room for collateral lineages of true human beings (meaning hominins with intellect) which are not of Adam’s progeny.

        Denominating subhuman animals as “brute animals” in no way attributes to them personal responsibility for acts which flow deterministically from their animal natures, since, unlike true humans, they lack free will. This is merely traditional conventional language used to refer clearly to subhuman animals — not the material for legitimate rational objection.

      • Seems like a big stretch to me, Dr Bonnette. The reality of intellect outside of “true human beings” is either true or it is not. Divine revelation puts no limit on God, but human interpretation certainly can.

        I think the objection to my objection about a “brute” adjective is illustrative and germane, especially since the discussion seems to focus on original sin. It is a curious transference that we humans would attribute certain qualities to those outside our species, and in history, to those outside our civilization, when we ourselves have been guilty of the very behaviors and qualities we think we’ve noted in others.

  14. Avatar ANGEL GUERRIERO says:

    I repeat here the same question I did to the father Mullady
    I have a problem with Adam and Eve. If they were the first an uniques our fathers, their sons had incestuous relations, and we are descendantes of them. Conclusion:all we are descendants of ilegitimate relations, or not? Coud you explain this situation?

    • As I suggested in earlier comments, the real problem is interbreeding or bestiality – relations between true men and subhuman hominins, since such acts are by their very nature a grossly perverse use of the sexual faculties. Bestiality is the worst of the unnatural sexual sins. That is why any explanation of human origins which can minimize, or better, eliminate such acts is to be preferred.

      Incest entails sexual relations between blood relatives, which, today, fittingly begets serious moral objections. While not a sin against the very nature of human sexual powers themselves, incest has long been rejected by society and Church positive law because: (1) it endangers that special relation of love and confidence so important to brother and sister within the family, (2) it endangers the good of the offspring, since genetic damage may ensue, and (3) it hampers the strengthening of social ties which are created through broader intermarriage. Thus we find in Leviticus 18:9 a prohibition by the Law of Moses against relations and marriage between blood siblings.

      Still, since none of these protected goods were of sufficient gravity to prohibit marriage between siblings at the very beginning of the human race, when such unions were absolutely essential to the initial propagation of mankind — and since such relations are not in themselves perverse or evil, God, the Author of natural and revealed positive law, permitted them to occur for a time. One may hypothesize that the initial genetic material God introduced in creating Adam and Eve may have been sufficiently free of defect to avoid the genetic problems that are feared today.

      While the term, “incest,” might apply to these initial sexual unions, the opprobrium attached to the word today would not properly apply to the immediate children of Adam and Eve.

  15. Avatar Kristen says:

    Steve Brestic of Merrionette Park, Ilinois asked Msgr. Charles Pope a question in the Aug 3, 2014 issue of Our Sunday Visitor. In part of the question he states: “You recently wrote that Adam and Eve are “(theologically) considered the first human beings. And though God gave them rational souls, he may have developed the physical aspect of man through evolution….”
    This is very short and made sense to me that they were “theologically” considered the first man and woman because they were the first to receive souls. God could then have continued creating souls for all the offspring of Adam and Eve’s children. Seems like a very good and simple answer to a complex article in your magazine.

    • Msgr. Pope’s explanation is a simple and, in principle, sound one. Fr. John Hardon, S.J., offers a similar one. Yet, he also reviewed the book I wrote on the subject, concluding: “Origin of the Human Species is an explanation of how the human race came into existence. It is a clear exposition of what every Christian believes – that humanity began with Adam and Eve, created by God as the parents of the human race.”

      But the devil is in the details. If you look at some of the comments above, you will see the many ways in which people can raise problems or objections to this straightforward explanation. The point of my article above is, again, simply to make clear the Church’s teaching of monogenism and to answer some of the main objections raise recently by some natural scientists. Those who want further explanations are invited to read the articles posted on my web site at drbonnette.com or to read the book cited above, now in its third edition.

      The comments and questions offered above are welcomed, but I simply cannot address them all in detail on this thread. It would be helpful if we had comments addressed to the specific theological, philosophical, and scientific issues directly proposed in my article. One major concern I have had is the claim by certain geneticists that Adam and Eve are “scientifically impossible.” This has rarely been directly answered and this article is one of the very few “out there” offering an explanation that comports with the clear teaching of the Church about the actual existence of a literal, single first human person, Adam. Anyone can speculate on these matters in any fashion he may wish, but not all speculations conform to the actual teaching of the Church, sound philosophy, and also offer reasonable scientific explanations.

  16. Avatar SouthCoast says:

    I once followed a discussion, on another blog, between two physicists, regarding Genesis. They finally agreed upon two theoretical possibilities. The first was that Eden existed as a sort of “pocket universe”, in which the physical laws, such as entropy, did not work quite as they do for us. The second was that the Fall was an event of such primal, overarching, significance that it effected all time, not only forward towards the Incarnation and Resurrection, but backwards to the Creation itself. The effect, in that scenario (as I read it) would be that, when Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden, they entered a world that had been reshaped in their own image, and had formed through the depth of time as we observe today. It was, in sum, a universe as it would have existed had human nature ordered it. It was a world populated, if thinly, by flawed humans who had evolved to be what Adam and Eve had become, with their original sin “baked into” their being from the beginning. By eating from the Tree of Knowledge, they basically told God, “this is how we want it to be”, so God gave them the world for which they had asked. We are all, then, spiritually descended from those first true humans, and carry their nature within us.
    Obviously, this theory and the scenario drawn from it, are practically impossible to prove scientifically, since it involves a profound change in the nature of reality itself. It would be rather like an eye attempting to observe itself. There is nothing, however, in Genesis that would disallow it (as far as I can see). In fact, it gives an explanation for why Genesis states that God created Man, singular (Adam), but also states that “male and female he created man (plural). Note, too, that this is not a rehash of the 19th Century “Vestiges of Creation” theory, which, basically, stated that the Good Lord put those dinosaur bones in the ground to test our faith.


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