Greetings! Sorry I have not written for a while. Covid finally got me. Time to get back on that horse.
Recently, someone challenged me on another one of my articles about Adam and Eve, our first parents, and their existence before the Fall. Below is my response to this inquiry.
Here are the questions:
…could you describe what you think the Garden of Eden entailed? When did this happen? Were there other humans (humanoids?) around? Were they literally created from dirt (and/or a rib) or were they part of a population where 2 individuals were somehow chosen? Approximately, what was their level of intellect/knowledge of their surroundings? Did God literally come down and physically talk to them or was it something else? In what way were they “perfect?”
The Garden of Eden
Allow me to state up front that I am no expert in this area. I believe God could have used evolution to develop the human body, then once humans evolved, selected two individuals in which to place a soul. These are our first parents – Adam and Eve. God then set them apart in “the Garden.” I also believe that God could have created them as the Bible literally records. As a Catholic, the only required belief is that God gave a soul to humans and that this soul did not evolve; it is from God. Back to the Garden…In the Garden, God gave humans a perfect environment in which to live. Our first parents were tempted there and eventually freely fell. When did this happen? I have no idea. Were there other humans? No, humans have souls and only these two had souls. For a further reading, please see Humani Generis, especially paragraph 36 and 37.
Adam and Eve
What was their level of intellect/knowledge of their surroundings? As stated previously, Adam and Eve were given a soul by God and were therefore holy. This means their intellect was not at the mercy of their passions. This also means they were perfect in the sense that they lacked nothing physically, intellectually, and spiritually. What was the level of their knowledge? I am not sure about this one. According to scripture, Adam had the knowledge to name all the animals, so he had knowledge. Again, they chose to sin and therefore lost their holiness. For further reading, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Adam and Eve by clicking here.
God in the Garden
Did God literally come down and physically talk to them or was it something else? The Bible does state that God walked and spoke with Adam and Eve in the Garden. I believe the Bible uses poetic language and the language of walking is an example of this type of language. God did speak with them, but literally walking in the Garden, I think that is poetic language. The relationship between God and humanity is the main point of the story, not whether God physically walked in the Garden.
To Sum Up
Our first parents existed. How they became our first parents is up for debate. As a Catholic, I must believe three things about them: 1. They existed. 2. God gave them a soul. 3. Through their freewill they fell and sin entered the world. This is all I am required to believe on the subject.
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