A Catholic Approach to the Genealogical Adam

Another option @vjtorley was put forward by Antoine Suarez (catholic philosopher). He argues that rational souls can be endowed by the sacrament of marriage.

  1. God would infuse rational souls into the neighbors of Adam and Eve’s offspring as they interbred together. Of course, in present day, everyone has a rational soul, so this is not relevant any more. It would have only been important in the distant past, for a season, and may have been entirely invisible to those at that time.

For the most part, my response took a Thomist view. However, is that really the way Catholicism sees it as canonized fact? Must the Image of God be linked to a rational soul in this way? I do not see this in the papal pronouncements. Rather, they just insist that an immaterial soul eventually came to all mankind, and that this soul is immaterial.

Hi Joshua,

I’ll answer your last query first:

@swamidass
For the most part, my response took a Thomist view. However, is that really the way Catholicism sees it as canonized fact? Must the Image of God be linked to a rational soul in this way? I do not see this in the papal pronouncements. Rather, they just insist that an immaterial soul eventually came to all mankind, and that this soul is immaterial.

OK. Here’s a quote from the ecumenical council of Vienne (1311):

Moreover, with the approval of the said council, we reject as erroneous and contrary to the truth of the catholic faith every doctrine or proposition rashly asserting that the substance of the rational or intellectual soul is not of itself and essentially the form of the human body, or casting doubt on this matter. In order that all may know the truth of the faith in its purity and all error may be excluded, we define that anyone who presumes henceforth to assert defend or hold stubbornly that the rational or intellectual soul is not the form of the human body of itself and essentially, is to be considered a heretic.

And here’s a quote from the Fifth Ecumenical Lateran Council (1512-1517):

Consequently, since in our days (which we endure with sorrow) the sower of cockle, the ancient enemy of the human race, has dared to scatter and multiply in the Lord’s field some extremely pernicious errors, which have always been rejected by the faithful, especially on the nature of the rational soul, with the claim that it is mortal, or only one among all human beings, and since some, playing the philosopher without due care, assert that this proposition is true at least according to philosophy, it is our desire to apply suitable remedies against this infection and, with the approval of the sacred council, we condemn and reject all those who insist that the intellectual soul is mortal, or that it is only one among all human beings, and those who suggest doubts on this topic. For the soul not only truly exists of itself and essentially as the form of the human body, as is said in the canon of our predecessor of happy memory, pope Clement V, promulgated in the general council of Vienne, but it is also immortal; and further, for the enormous number of bodies into which it is infused individually, it can and ought to be and is multiplied.

So there we have it. The human soul is referred to as “the rational soul.” It is immortal, and it is not merely accidentally united to the body, but essentially, as its form. Lastly, each human being has his/her own rational soul.

As for the image of God, here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say, quoting the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes:

1703 Endowed with "a spiritual and immortal" soul,(5) the human person is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake.”(6) From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude.
1704 The human person participates in the light and power of the divine Spirit. By his reason, he is capable of understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection “in seeking and loving what is true and good.”(7)
1705 By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an “outstanding manifestation of the divine image.”(8)
Refs:
5 GS 14 § 2.
6 GS 24 § 3.
7 GS 15 § 2.
8 GS 17.

Thus the position that the image of God consists in our spiritual powers of intellect (i.e. rationality) and free will reflects official Catholic teaching. I hope that answers your question.

Hi Joshua,

Back again. You write:

The short answer is that in Aristotelian philosophy, your telos relates to what is good for you, as an individual. You appear to be confusing intrinsic with extrinsic finality. The latter relates to a purpose (often a long-range one), external to the thing itself, while the former relates to a thing’s self-contained purpose, or what is good for that particular thing. Telos relates to the former notion: it is intrinsic to a creature.

Now ask yourself: could God give a rational soul to a chimp, or even a chimp-like early hominin living 5 million years ago? The answer is no. A rational soul can only exist in the kind of body which (when healthy and fully developed) is capable of manifesting rationality, and of satisfying the demands of being rational. Being rational requires an individual to have a brain that is capable of storing, manipulating, ordering and linking information in a very advanced way. We know, from observation, experimentation and interactions with them, what chimps’ brains will allow them to do, and it still falls short of rational behavior. So the question we need to answer is: did Homo erectus have a brain that would have allowed him to be taught to use language and engage in other behaviors we define as rational? If the answer is no, then it would make no sense to say that he possessed a rational soul, any more than it would make sense to say that a chimp or a cat possessed one.

I’ll be back later, as I have to go out shortly. Cheers.

Hi Joshua,

Back again. You suggest that “God could have endowed us as a community with His Image in one of several ways:”

For reasons outlined in my previous post, we can rule out option 4. It makes no sense to ascribe a rational soul to a creature which, even when mature and healthy, is incapable of manifesting rationality. If it did make sense to do so, then we might as well say that the very first living thing had a latent rational soul, since it was the ancestor of rational human beings (among other organisms). I take it nobody would want to argue for that position.

Option 1 is certainly theologically possible. The only question is whether it is biologically plausible. Much as I’d like to believe it, I have to say that there’s absolutely no evidence that hominins suddenly acquired any set of genes during the past 7 million-odd years, let alone the genetic scaffolding required by a rational soul.

The leaves options 2 and 3. What both of them presuppose is that two creatures can exist which are atom-for-atom duplicates of one another, where one possesses a rational soul, while the other does not. I find that view unacceptable, because it would seem to imply that the rational soul is not essentially the form of the human body, as decreed by the ecumenical council of Vienne in 1311. Instead, it would mean that the human body can have either a rational human soul or a non-rational bestial soul as its form.

I’m also not sure what you mean by “partially visible” in option 3.

You also mention another option, proposed by Catholic philosopher Antoine Suarez:

  1. God would infuse rational souls into the neighbors of Adam and Eve’s offspring as they interbred together. Of course, in present day, everyone has a rational soul, so this is not relevant any more. It would have only been important in the distant past, for a season, and may have been entirely invisible to those at that time.

I find this objectionable for the same reason as I object to 2 and 3: it seems to be at odds with the Council of Vienne’s declaration that the rational soul is essentially the form of the human body.

What my interpretation of the teaching of the council of Vienne implies is that if God infused any hominins with a rational soul in the distant past, then (a) they must have been genetically distinct from other hominins which were not infused with a rational soul, and (b) the infusion must have been occurred at their conception.

Another probable corollary is that (c ) the mutations which would have endowed these hominins with the genetic prerequisites for rationality were probably divinely engineered, as it is unlikely that one or two mutations would have sufficed: presumably a suite of mutations would have been needed to transform a hominin from a clever creature which did not require rationality in order to eke out a living into a sapient creature which could not have survived without the capacity for rational thought.

One might speculate that a set of mutations leading to a sudden increase in the size of the human brain in a small population of hominins - perhaps even a primordial couple (genetic Adam and Eve?) - would make the energetic requirements of feeding and raising an infant so costly that the long-term commitment of fathers would have been absolutely essential in order for these hominins to survive. Long-term commitment, of course, requires rationality. (Life-long monogamy would have been required for the rearing of children whose prolonged infancy and whose large, energy-demanding brains would have made it impossible for their mothers to feed them alone, without a committed husband who would provide for the family.) The mutations that led to a sudden enlargement of the human brain might also have led to a reorganization of the brain, endowing our ancestors with the neurological wherewithal for autobiographical memory (which, as far as we know, is unique to human beings) and a full-blooded theory of mind (and hence, genuine empathy).

I could of course be wrong here, but I think it’s a scenario worth discussing. Evolutionists won’t like it much because it requires tinkering on God’s part. Creationists won’t like it either because it frankly acknowledges that humans and apes share a common ancestor.

The timing of this set of mutations is critical. Certainly, by 400,000 years ago, the largest brained hominins had cranial capacities considerably greater than the 850 cubic centimeters associated with the Turkana boy (Homo ergaster), 1.5 to 1.6 million years ago. It would be tempting to suggest that this sudden increase coincided with the appearance of Homo sapiens, but probably wrong. It seems that Heidelberg man (if that taxon is valid) already had a brain size of 1250 cubic centimeters, compared to an average of just about 1000 cubic centimeters for Peking man, who was roughly contemporaneous. The mutations permitting the development of higher cognition and social networking appear to have arisen at a later date, with the arrival of Homo sapiens. On the other hand, there is also evidence suggesting that Neandertals did not practice pair bonding, which may have been one of the factors giving Homo sapiens a competitive advantage.

I’d now like to address a couple of incidental points you raised.

@swamidass
I do not think, for example, that this is a claim that God never made aliens in his Image on some other planet or universe. Is it? Is God not free to make people when ever he likes in His Image? Of course, Scripture and doctrine would be silent about these people, not denying their status as rational souls, but just not giving this information.

I quite agree that if God wished to create aliens on other planets, or even another race of rational creatures on this planet, He could certainly have done so. What He cannot do, however, is endow a being which is inherently incapable of manifesting rationality with a rational soul. Were that possible, then one might as well say that clouds may turn out to have rational souls.

@swamidass
My atheist colleagues certainly see a concept of God being contained in material brains. I am not sure why they would be wrong.

It’s difficult to see how a material entity could store a representation something utterly immaterial, let alone transcendent. But if you have any ideas, then I’m all ears.

Anyway, I think that’s enough for now. Over to you.

1 Like

Thanks @vjtorley and @AntoineSuarez for joining the conversation. I’m going to answer here, in a post that might bring some resolution to all this. @Agauger I hope you can take a look at this too, and let us know what you think.

Clearing Some Underbrush

Great, you accept this theologically. Good news, it is biologically possible. So, I’m going to put a pin here, and make use of this later. Do not forget that you are okay with Option 1 as a way to make sense of the rise of rational souls and the Image of God. The timing of this is not that important. Pick a time. I just does not matter from a scientific point of view, and you can use archeology to guide you (perhaps using your argument for 400 kya, or @agauger’s for 2 mya, or behaviorally modern humans 50 kya).

I think you are missing something very big here. (1) Even if there is no evidence for this, it may have still happened. (2) It would not necessarily have required a large number of new genes, but perhaps just a 10 or 20 coordinated mutations. Just because it cannot be proven does not mean it did not happen. That puts it beyond science, but we are not doing science here. We are doing, instead, science-engaged theology.

If God did, for example, miraculously give all our ancestors 400 kya a set of 10 mutations that gave them a rational soul, what would it look like today? From our point of view, these 10 mutations would appear just like the 30 to 40 million mutations that different between chimps and humans. We would have no way scientifically of separating the “signal from the noise.” A God who can raise Jesus from the dead, also, can certainly do something like this. So there is no reason for a Christian to be troubled by such an proposal. The same could have happened 2 mya ago too, in an @agauger model.

I entirely affirm methodological naturalism in scientific discourse (even though it is incorrectly named). However, this is not scientific discourse. You are doing science-engaged theology where there should be no problem with God doing things that have a large effect, but human has a hard time discerning.

Brains are material. Minds are not material, but are apparently connected to Brains. Concepts are not material, and held within Minds. There is no special challenge to a “concept of God”, any more than is there a “concept of numbers.”

I think the notion of “information” is helpful here. Information is immaterial, but is often encoded in material things. Even materialists affirm the existence of information, but (perhaps) assert it must always be encoded in material things. Materialism is not and never has been a total denial of information or numbers, etc.

This is a key point. Hold on to this. Keep in mind, also, that these rational beings would not descend from Adam. That means we agree God could have made rational creatures on this planet (or another planet, or another universe) that do not descend from Adam. This is a key point I am going to rely on soon.

You may be right, but I doubt for this reason. A non-rational Homo erectus has a different Telos than a chimp or a cat, because his descendents are destined to give rise to rational beings. This is very different than a chimp or a cat. So the analogy does not hold.

I’m not confusing the two. If a beings intrinsic Telos is to give rise to rational beings (in some ways like an embryo, but not like a sperm and egg), then it is possible that it has a rational soul that is even the top down causation of developing that rationality on a biological level. This is a minor point, because you already accept Option 1. So we can let this go, but I do want to clarify you are missing a category here. A non-rational Homo erectus is clearly different than a Chimp, because he is going to give rise to us. That gives him a very different telos, which I am arguing is not much different than an embryo.

Looping in @AntoineSuarez: Why a Single Couple Matters

Regarding the Image of God and rational souls, @AntoineSuarez, I totally agree. Monophylogeny is a sufficiently strong disputation of polygenesis, that it should be just fine to imagine that the rational souls, at some point at the past, are granted to who community by God’s miraculous work (even if it requires mutations).

However, that is not all the Catholic teaching holds important in origins. I believe, even in Catholic teaching, the reason for wanting a single couple is because fo the Fall. It is thought by most people (including Catholics I though!) that the Fall must come through one person, Adam. @vjtorley, @AntoineSuarez, and @Agauger, I’d be interested in seeing (1) if I’m misreading Catholic thought here, and/or (2) what those specific binding statements are for you.

A Catholic Genealogical Adam

So, therefore, we could take all this conversation to propose a model that, it appears, satisfies all the doctrinal constraints of Catholic thought.

First (Genesis 1), God creates all humankind, male and female, in His Image, as rational beings, with rational souls, as a community. He does this by miraculously giving all our ancestors alive at a point in history (either 400 kya or 2 mya), instantly, the genetic capacity for rationality (by putting a set of 10 to 20 key mutations instantly into their genomes), and also rational souls. To be clear, they are all Adamites in the Image of God, in that they all have the same biological type of as Adam (e.g. Homo sapiens, or Homo genus).

Second (Genesis 2), at a later time or maybe the same time (perhaps 15 kya with the rise of agriculture, or 6 kya with the rise of written language), God creates (or chooses) Adam and Eve and places them in a divine Garden. They live for a time here, but then they fall. As their offspring interbreed with others, they become ancestors of us all. In this way, they give rise to a new type of rational souls, that entirely supplants the first.

This happens quickly too, so when Scripture is given, there is no need to reference the race of Adamites that do not descend from Adam. Instead, Scripture only references the fallen descendants of Adam, all of us.

Responding to Objections

Objection 1: Beastiality, or God Imaged and ensouled people breeding with non-ensouled people. This does not apply, because (1) God makes the whole community rational at the same time, and (2) those outside the garden are souled and rational people too.

Objection 2: All men are supposed to be fallen, so Unfallen people in the distant past is a theological problem. However, we already agreed that God could have made another race of rational souls that do not descend from Adam, in the distant past, another planet, or another universe. So there is nothing any more troubling about this than life on other planets. No modifications are theology in the present day are required, because all men today are fallen.

Objection 3: This is not a scientific proposal. Of course it not. It is science engaged theology, and it might even be true. Science does not consider God’s action, but it begs the question to conclude that he did not act. We find, rather, that if God did this, we would not even be able to see evidence for (or against) it.

Objection 4: God’s Image comes through one couple, not to a population as a whole. That does not appear to be in Scripture or in Catholic teaching. Rather all the “single couple” statements are confined to the fall. Also, we’ve already agreed that Option 1 above is a viable way that the Image of God could have come instantly to a population as a whole.

Does this Work?

From what I gather, this is an entirely plausible model within a catholic context. What I have learned, however, is that much more attention to the Catholic conception of the Image of God, souls, and rationality is required. Honestly, I have learned a lot.

Do you agree that this could be a Catholic model? What remaining objections are there? How would you adjust this from here?

@vjtorley, @AntoineSuarez and @Agauger, there was a suggestion to develop this into an academic paper. That could be a fun collaborative project if you are interested. Let me know as this develops what you think. Obviously, you’d have to agree this is one option (not necessarily your preferred view), and that might take some more discussion.

@swamidass Joshua, you have probably already seen these documents, but you asked: From Humani Generis:

  1. It remains for Us to say something on the questions which, although they have to do with the disciplines which are customarily called “positive,” yet are more or less connected with the truths of Christian faith. Not a few insistently demand that the Catholic religion give as much consideration as possible to these disciplines. Surely, this is praiseworthy when it is a case of actually proven facts, but caution must be exercised when the question concerns “hypotheses,” although in some manner based on human knowledge, in which hypotheses doctrine is discussed which is contained in the Sacred Scriptures or in “tradition.” When such conjectural opinions are opposed directly or indirectly to the doctrine revealed by God, then their demand can in no way be admitted.

  2. Wherefore, the magisteriumof the Church does not forbid that the teaching of “evolution” be treated in accord with the present status of human disciplines and of theology, by investigations and disputations by learned men in both fields; insofar, of course, as the inquiry is concerned with the origin of the human body arising from already existing and living matter; as to the souls, the Catholic faith demands us to hold that they are immediately created by God. This must be done in such a way that the reasonings of both opinions, namely those in favor and those opposed to evolutionism, are weighed and judged with due seriousness, moderation, and temperance; and provided that all are ready to yield to the judgment of the Church, to which Christ has entrusted the duty of interpreting Sacred Scriptures authentically, and of preserving the dogmas of faith. Yet some with daring boldness transgress this freedom of discussion, acting as if the origin of the human body from previously existing and living matter, were already certain and demonstrated from certain already discovered indications, and deduced by reasoning, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this thinking.

  3. When there is a question of another conjectural opinion, namely, of polygenism so-called, then the sons of the Church in no way enjoy such freedom. For the faithful in Christ cannot accept this view, which holds that either after Adam there existed men on this earth, who did not receive their origin by natural generation from him, the first parent of all; or that Adam signifies some kind of multitude of first parents; for it is by no means apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with what the sources of revealed truth and the acts of the magisteriumof the Church teaches about original sin, which proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam, and which is transmitted to all by generation, and exists in each one as his own [cf. Rom 5:12-19; Concilium Tridentinum, Sessio V, canones 1-4 ].

Pius XII, Enc. Humani Generis (1950), English transl. from the original Latin source in H. Denzinger - P. Hünermann, Enchiridion Simbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (Freiburg i.B.: Herder, 1991), DH 3895-3897.

I’ll quote JPII in the next block

1 Like

To be clear, I am not making that proposal. I am affirming that all men that Scripture refers to descend from Adam by generation.

Also, I am not affirming polygenesis, but disputing it alongside you.

And this is from John Paul II’s address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

MESSAGE TO THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES:
ON EVOLUTION
Pope John Paul II
Magisterium Is Concerned with Question of Evolution for It Involves Conception of Man
Message delivered to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences 22 October 1996

  1. Taking into account the scientific research of the era, and also the proper requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis treated the doctrine of “evolutionism” as a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and serious study, alongside the opposite hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions for this study: one could not adopt this opinion as if it were a certain and demonstrable doctrine, and one could not totally set aside the teaching Revelation on the relevant questions. He also set out the conditions on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith—a point to which I shall return.

Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis.* In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.

What is the significance of a theory such as this one? To open this question is to enter into the field of epistemology. A theory is a meta-scientific elaboration, which is distinct from, but in harmony with, the results of observation. With the help of such a theory a group of data and independent facts can be related to one another and interpreted in one comprehensive explanation. The theory proves its validity by the measure to which it can be verified. It is constantly being tested against the facts; when it can no longer explain these facts, it shows its limits and its lack of usefulness, and it must be revised.

Moreover, the elaboration of a theory such as that of evolution, while obedient to the need for consistency with the observed data, must also involve importing some ideas from the philosophy of nature.

And to tell the truth, rather than speaking about the theory of evolution, it is more accurate to speak of the theories of evolution. The use of the plural is required here—in part because of the diversity of explanations regarding the mechanism of evolution, and in part because of the diversity of philosophies involved. There are materialist and reductionist theories, as well as spiritualist theories. Here the final judgment is within the competence of philosophy and, beyond that, of theology.

  1. The magisterium of the Church takes a direct interest in the question of evolution, because it touches on the conception of man, whom Revelation tells us is created in the image and likeness of God. The conciliar constitution Gaudium et Spes has given us a magnificent exposition of this doctrine, which is one of the essential elements of Christian thought. The Council recalled that “man is the only creature on earth that God wanted for its own sake.” In other words, the human person cannot be subordinated as a means to an end, or as an instrument of either the species or the society; he has a value of his own. He is a person. By this intelligence and his will, he is capable of entering into relationship, of communion, of solidarity, of the gift of himself to others like himself. St. Thomas observed that man’s resemblance to God resides especially in his speculative intellect, because his relationship with the object of his knowledge is like God’s relationship with his creation. (Summa Theologica I-II, q 3, a 5, ad 1) But even beyond that, man is called to enter into a loving relationship with God himself, a relationship which will find its full expression at the end of time, in eternity. Within the mystery of the risen Christ the full grandeur of this vocation is revealed to us. (Gaudium et Spes, 22) It is by virtue of his eternal soul that the whole person, including his body, possesses such great dignity. Pius XII underlined the essential point: if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is created directly by God (“animas enim a Deo immediate creari catholica fides non retimere iubet”). (Humani Generis)

As a result, the theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. They are therefore unable to serve as the basis for the dignity of the human person.

  1. With man, we find ourselves facing a different ontological order—an ontological leap, we could say. But in posing such a great ontological discontinuity, are we not breaking up the physical continuity which seems to be the main line of research about evolution in the fields of physics and chemistry? An appreciation for the different methods used in different fields of scholarship allows us to bring together two points of view which at first might seem irreconcilable. The sciences of observation describe and measure, with ever greater precision, the many manifestations of life, and write them down along the time-line. The moment of passage into the spiritual realm is not something that can be observed in this way—although we can nevertheless discern, through experimental research, a series of very valuable signs of what is specifically human life. But the experience of metaphysical knowledge, of self-consciousness and self-awareness, of moral conscience, of liberty, or of aesthetic and religious experience—these must be analyzed through philosophical reflection, while theology seeks to clarify the ultimate meaning of the Creator’s designs.

@Agauger,

The price of admission for this scenario is that using fairly conservative migration assumptions, within about 2000 years of interbreeding between the evolved population of humans and the special creation of the Adam/Eve pair, all the humans alive (say, just a few years before the birth of Jesus) would be able to count Adam & Eve as one of the Universal Ancestral Couples. This scenario specifically allows for multiple Universal Ancestral Couples. It is unavoidable.

@swamidass

You left out the first part of the quote.

For the faithful in Christ cannot accept this view, which holds that either after Adam there existed men on this earth, who did not receive their origin by natural generation from him, the first parent of all; or that Adam signifies some kind of multitude of first parents;

As far as I can tell, your proposal fails on both counts.

This is for @vjtorley I support his concern about the nature of the transition, if there was one, from non-sentient to sentient being, that the body and soul must be suitable for each other. You cannot impose a soul onto a hominid body that is itself incapable of sentience. And if it is capable of sentience but has no soul, what is it? What os needed is an ontological leap, as Pope John Paul II says.

1 Like

@gbrooks9
Hello.

But wait,

For the faithful in Christ cannot accept this view, …that Adam signifies some kind of multitude of first parents;

Do not fault me for trying though =). At least we have the option of putting a single couple bottleneck at 700 kya or 2 mya for you.

I’m not making either of these claims.

I am suggesting that there were sentient beings (with souls) before Adam, but they were not “men” in the sense that Scripture or the statement is referring to here. This does not violate the doctrine.

I am suggesting that all men, as understood as such by theology, do descend by natural generation from Adam. So this is consistent with the doctrine.

At least it seems consistent to me.

No, Adam is not signifying a multitude of first parents in this view. He is a single first parent (with Eve of course).

@Agauger,

And just to avoid a mis-understanding, Adam is a “single” first parent in that he is One of them.
The mathematics of genealogy makes it possible for all those humans alive after about 2000 years, from a founding population, to have multiple “Universal Ancestral Pairs”… with Adam & Eve being the key mating pair.

1 Like

I hope you saw my argument on his behalf…

@swamidass

I read the document to say that the Genesis account of Adam is not to be read with Adam as one among many first parents. Certainly Pius XII had nothing like your proposal in mind when he wrote his encyclical.

BTW, before it comes up, I should also state that not all papal statements carry equal weight. An encyclical is pretty dern high. An address to a Pontifical Academy, whether by JPII or Pope Francis, is not even close to it in significance.

1 Like

@Agauger

The point of this scenario is to resolve the tension between those who are compelled by the massive amount of material evidence for Evolution … and who are also compelled that theologically speaking, there is a necessary role for a specially created human couple.

This combination of factors resolves other issues: who lives in the City of Cain, and how we can have every human alive (by the time of the birth of Jesus) that all descend from Adam/Eve.

1 Like

@swamidass
Yes I saw your response. Yes, I agree it could happened by sudden transformation at the instant of conception, because that is supposed to be when the soul is infused. Vincent?
It would take many hundreds of mutations though, and obvious design :slight_smile:

1 Like

@Agauger,

The population of pre-Adam humans could range anywhere from 10,000 to 1,000,000 - - the end result of millions of years of Primate evolution (God-Guided).

Adam & Even would be specially created about 6000 years ago, with God guiding the incremental inter-breeding that would eventually encompass all of humanity.

1 Like