Adam and Eve: Fact or Fiction

A recent NPR story about the growing number of religious scholars debunking the Biblical story of human creation leads to questions over whether Adam and Eve really existed.

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.

Zuhaib September 14, 2011 at 02:45 PM
I think the adam eve theory could be ture up to a point.... I was recently reading about the mitrochrondrial eve and I could not believe this...every single person on earth has been descended from one woman who lived nearly 200,000 years ago...you can find more details on that.....Now there is a possibility that the adam eve dna maybe was able to produce people of all hair and skin colors.... Human skin color is primarily due to the presence of melanin in the skin. The natural skin color can be darkened as a result of tanning due to exposure to sunlight. The leading explanation is that skin color adapts to sunlight intensities which produce vitamin D or ultraviolet light damage to folic acid. Other hypotheses include protection from ambient temperature, infections, skin cancer or frostbite, an alteration in food, and sexual selection. For hair color.One phenotype (brown/blond) has a dominant brown allele and a recessive blond allele. A person with a brown allele will have brown hair; a person with no brown alleles will be blond. This explains why two brown-haired parents can produce a blond-haired child.
Christopher Poulios February 26, 2012 at 08:31 AM
Why is it so easy to believe that a so called "big bang" could suddenly take place, and spontaneously create an organized universe with everything falling into its proper position, yet so difficult to believe that a Divine Creator exists? And why is it that with the millions of fossils unearthed, not a single one providing evidence of one species morphing into another has ever been found? Not a one?


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