The story of Adam and Eve is one many of us know well. It's one of the oldest in history.
God created man, from man came woman, the snake tempted woman with the proverbial apple, and all hell broke loose in the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve are thrown out of Eden. Innocence is lost. The Garden of Eden’s gates are forever closed to humankind.
But is the Book of Genesis, as it relates to the creation of humankind, a work of fiction or fact?
A recent story by National Public Radio (NPR) pointed to a debate among religious scholars over the Biblical account of human creation as it’s depicted in the Book of Genesis.
According to the NPR story, a Gallup poll found that 4 of 10 Americans believe Adam and Eve existed.
But even scholars within the Catholic Church have said the Genesis account of creation is more metaphor than true history.
In a story by Catholic News Service and cited by Catholic Culture, Fr. Michael Guinan, a professor of Old Testament at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, said:
“The man and woman of Genesis…are intended to represent an Everyman and Everywoman. They are paradigms, figurative equivalents of human conduct in the face of temptation, not lessons in biology or history. The Bible is teaching religion, not science or literalistic history.”
Still, 40 percent of Americans believe the description
in Genesis is an accurate historical account of human creation.
However, the Genesis story of Adam and Eve may paint an unreal image for many of us. We may view Adam and Eve as the couple painted by Michelangelo or other artists. We picture pale-skinned, angelic-looking, perfect images of God’s creation.
But if we were to argue for the creation of man and woman in the way the Bible describes, we need to paint a new image of Adam and Eve.
For every one of us to be descended from the union of Adam and Eve, the pair would need a unique and complicated set of DNA that even the most brilliant scientists can't comprehend.
Within the DNA of Adam and Eve, there would have to be the potential for every type of hair color, skin color, eye color, every genetic mutation, every unimaginable feature, and more. Adam and Eve would have to be everything all at once.
As scientists in the NPR article pointed out, that original DNA would have to be capable of mutating so much throughout the generations of humankind—that eventually creation would mutate itself out of existence.
So for the Genesis account to be accurate, man and woman had to be a full-on miracle, beyond all scientific understanding.
Now, while I’ve always held the Genesis account of creation to be more of a metaphor than a historical account, I don’t discount miracles. I won’t. And I don’t think any of us should.
Did Adam and Eve exist? Only God knows for sure.