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Author Topic: Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents  (Read 7771 times)

StevusMagnus

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« on: January 11, 2008, 04:17:pm »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Roman_Catholic_Church
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Modern theologians do not necessarily see a conflict between polygenism and Catholic teaching on original sin. A clear example of this opinion can be found in The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church (1996 edition), on Humani Generis where the authors / editors Fr. Neuner and Dupuis, S.J. state:
"In the context of other errors, Pius XII treats two questions regarding the origin of the human person. Firstly, the human being's origin through evolution from other living beings: while formerly evolution was rejected as irreconcilable with the biblical account of creation (which was interpreted in too literal a sense), and as implying a materialistic conception of the human being, the question is now left open to scholarly investigation, provided that the creation of the soul by God is maintained. Secondly, monogenism or polygenism, i.e. the question whether the human race must be conceived as descending from a single couple or can be considered to originate from several couples: polygenism is rejected because 'it does not appear' [or 'it is not at all apparent'] to be reconcilable with the doctrine of original sin inherited by all from Adam. Recent theology, however, is seeking explanations of original sin under the supposition of polygenism, and so tries to remove the reason for its rejection." (J. Neuner, J. Dupuis, The Christian Faith [1996], page 169)

Further, see also the article published in L'Osservatore Romano, "The Credo of Paul VI: Theology of Original Sin and the Scientific Theory of Evolution" by Roberto Masi:

"....according to the opinions of the above mentioned exegetes and theologians, it results that Revelation and Dogma say nothing directly concerning Monogenism or Polygenism, neither in favour nor against them. Besides, these scientific hypotheses are per se outside the field of Revelation. Within this context, different combinations of the scientific theory of evolution are therefore hypothetically possible or compatible with the doctrine of original sin. One can nevertheless consider biological monogenism together. Humanity has its origin in a single couple; this couple committed the sin against God and as a result of this all their children are born in original sin. This is the classical doctrine. Or it is possible to admit a biological polygenism and a theological monogenism. Evolution brought about not a single couple but many men, who constituted the primitive human population. One of these, who may be considered the leader, rebelled against God. This sin passed on to all men, his contemporaries, not by imitation, but by real propagation (Council of Trent Session V, DS. 1513), that is by a real solidarity already existing in this primordial human population. In them actual sinful humanity has its origin. It is also possible to combine biological and theological polygenism: all the primitive human population rebelled concordantly against God and from them are born the other sinful men. These hypotheses are only suppositions which many think are not contrary to Revelation and the bible. Even if we accept as valid the scientific theory of evolution and polygenism, it can still be in accordance with the dogma of original sin in the various manners indicated." (Roberto Masi, from L'Osservatore Romano, the newspaper of the Holy See, weekly edition in English, 17 April 1969)

A biological polygenism which the scientific evidence supports can be combined with a theological monogenism where one couple is ensouled by God. This article appeared in the Vatican's own newspaper and is found on the conservative EWTN site's document library. [2]

The Church has not yet clarified the question of monogenism versus polygenism, though an International Theological Commission document on creation and evolution endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger (he was president of the Commission that produced the statement, see bottom of [3] or [4]) from 2004 states:

"While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage. However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of homo sapiens."

This passage admits of both monogenetic and polygenetic interpretations, since it is unclear whether the "humanoid population" is to be regarded as the first humans, or the immediate ancestors of the first humans. And further:

"The structures of the world can be seen as open to non-disruptive divine action in directly causing events in the world. Catholic theology affirms that that the emergence of the first members of the human species (whether as individuals or in populations) represents an event that is not susceptible of a purely natural explanation and which can appropriately be attributed to divine intervention. Acting indirectly through causal chains operating from the beginning of cosmic history, God prepared the way for what Pope John Paul II has called 'an ontological leap...the moment of transition to the spiritual.'"

Lastly, the document mentions Adam:

"Every individual human being as well as the whole human community are created in the image of God. In its original unity – of which Adam is the symbol – the human race is made in the image of the divine Trinity."

Most recently, in a January 16, 2006 article in L'Osservatore Romano, Fiorenzo Facchini states:

"The spark of intelligence was lighted in one or more hominids when, where and in the ways God willed it."

The Vatican has avoided making any recent explicit pronouncement on the question of the theological necessity of monogenism (see Neuner/Dupuis, Roberto Masi, the ITC statement above, and especially "Monogenism and Science" from Jimmy Akin's blog).





StevusMagnus

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 04:21:pm »

James Akin says Polygenism is not irreconcilable with Catholicism..

http://www.jimmyakin.org/2006/01/a_reader_writes.html

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When Pius XII dealt with the subject of evolution in his 1950 encyclical Humani generis, he didn't treat the question of polygenism (the idea that there were more than two individuals at the dawn of humanity) in the same way he treated other aspects of the question. He hedged his bets a bit on this subject.

While he said that Catholics did not have the liberty to advocate polygenism, he didn't say that the reason for this was that polygenism was totally and irreformably unable to be reconciled with the sources of Catholic dogma. Instead, he said it was because "it is no no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin" (HG 37).

This leaves open the possibility that a way of reconciling polygenism with the sources of dogma might eventually be found. Since his time many Catholic theologians have conjectured that there are ways in which polygenism can be reconciled with original sin (e.g., saying that Adam and Eve represent the early human community which as a whole turned away from God at the beginning of our history and thus committed original sin, passing it on to us).

A number of years ago the German conference of bishops published A Catholic Adult Catechism that was published in English back in 1987 by Ignatius Press. This catechism contained a section on evolution that said it was possible to reconcile polygenism with the Church's teaching if certain points regarding original sin were maintained. I am also given to understand that this Catechism was also reviewed by the Vatican (after the debacle of the Dutch Catchism), which did not mandate a change in this section.

It is further to be observed that, in John Paul II's statements on evolution (such as the famous speech to the pontifical academy of the sciences) he is quick to reaffirm all of the things Pius XII said about the limits on how evolution is compatible with the Catholic faith except on the subject of polygenism, where John Paul II said nothing at all.

JP2 was not saying that it's okay for Catholics to go ahead and advocate polygenism, but he was conspicuously silent in reaffirming his predecessor's stand on this issue and may have been holding the door open for one of his own successors to revisit this issue and take a different position.

It is possible that, one day, a pope may issue a new statement on evolution and say that a way has been found to reconcile polygenism with the sources of faith.

But that hasn't happened.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church continues to speak of Adam and Eve in monogenistic terms, and there has been no Vatican declaration on any level (so far as I know) that polygenism is compatible, but there is a greater degree of reserve shown by the pope on this subject in recent years, and the Vatican has let pass local magisterial statements--like that of the German conference of bishops' catechism--that displayed openness to polygenism.

If you're teaching a bunch of school kids, I wouldn't go into all this with them. It could well interfere with what their parents want them to be taught, and parents have the ultimate say in such matters. But for your own benefit you may want the additional background as a way of gauging the degree of firmness that the Holy See is presently placing on this topic.

 


Valz

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2008, 04:31:pm »
Quote from: StevusMagnus

James Akin says Polygenism is not irreconcilable with Catholicism..

http://www.jimmyakin.org/2006/01/a_reader_writes.html

Quote

Adam and Eve represent the early human community which as a whole turned away from God at the beginning of our history and thus committed original sin, passing it on to us).


I personally find this idea to be quite unsatisfactory and devoid of any Scriptural or Traditional support. St. Paul says that it was by one man that many were made sinner and that likewise by one many are made alive. The historical and singular identity of Adam is linked to that of Christ in Scripture. Likewise in Tradition, the historical and singular identity of Eve is linked to the Blessed Virgin. Such connections would be meaningless if Adam and Eve are mere symbols of a community.

Even if polygenism is true, I think it is better to simply state that God selected two individuals out of a population and endowed them with a rational soul. There are various explanations as to how this can be done.


Valz

Cyriacus

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008, 04:48:pm »
Quote from: Valz
Even if polygenism is true, I think it is better to simply state that God selected two individuals out of a population and endowed them with a rational soul. There are various explanations as to how this can be done.

This would imply traducianism, surely, that the soul is transmitted to future generations by means of a generative process and not as an active, individual creation by God. (How else would only their descendants have rational souls?) This is condemned by Aquinas and many other saints.

Valz

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 04:54:pm »
Quote from: Cyriacus
This would imply traducianism, surely, that the soul is transmitted to future generations by means of a generative process and not as an active, individual creation by God. (How else would only their descendants have rational souls?) This is condemned by Aquinas and many other saints.

Why would it imply that if I said that God "endowed them with a rational soul"? The soul is a creation of God, not produced by generation.


Evo


Cyriacus

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 06:50:pm »
It's very deeply troubling because it implies a sort of act of elevation before the fall and grants priority to the body over the soul. The human person is less whole when the parts are said to have different origin, the body from a group of evolving apes, the soul from God. The teaching of ages has been that man, at the beginning, was privileged, in the direct presence of God, and fell from God. To make Adam and Eve members of an irrational community prior to God's endowing is to make the original state quite something else entirely---something incomplete, in need of God, distant from God.

SemperFidelis

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 08:03:pm »

Excuse me for being blunt, but Jimmy Akin is a Moron, capital M.

"We have to build, while the others are demolishing. The crumbled citadels have to be rebuilt, the bastions of Faith have to be reconstructed; firstly the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of all times, which forms saints; then our chapels, monasteries, our large families, our enterprises faithful to the social politics of the Church, our politicians determined to make the politics of Jesus Christ - this is a whole fiber of Christian social life, Christian customs, Christian reflexes, which we have to restore."

- His Grace Archbishop Lefebvre

"It is absurd, and a detestable shame, that we should suffer those traditions to be changed which we have received from the fathers of old."

- St. Thomas Aquinas

SemperFidelis

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 08:58:pm »

I find it interesting EWTN has that article on their website, though in searching for it from their main site, I couldn't find it in the document library.  The Apologists at EWTN (with the exception of one: Michelle Arnold who links to the very Jimmy Akin article you mentioned) most definitely agree that polygenism is absolutely contradictory to the Faith:

Here is a good article by Fr. Collins:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/COLCABRI.HTM

And here are some of the Q & A's:

http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/results.asp?Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2006&Author=&Keyword=polygenism&pgnu=1&groupnum=0

http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/results.asp?Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2005&Author=&Keyword=polygenism&pgnu=1&groupnum=0

http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/results.asp?Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2004&Author=&Keyword=polygenism&pgnu=1&groupnum=0

http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/results.asp?Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2003&Author=&Keyword=polygenism&pgnu=1&groupnum=0

http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/results.asp?Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2002&Author=&Keyword=polygenism&pgnu=1&groupnum=0

I personally do not believe in evolution and take to a literal account of Genesis.  I am also a young earth creationist.  However, I can understand how evolution can possibly be reconciled with the Catholic Faith, but there is absolutely NO WAY that polygenism is reconcilable with the Dogma of Original Sin, and Ven. Pius XII speaks quite certaintly that this is the case.  Jimmy Akin completely twists around some of what Pius XII says, and completely ignores the rest of Humani Generis.  Pius XII sounds pretty stern here:

When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that 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. - Humani Generis #37
"We have to build, while the others are demolishing. The crumbled citadels have to be rebuilt, the bastions of Faith have to be reconstructed; firstly the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of all times, which forms saints; then our chapels, monasteries, our large families, our enterprises faithful to the social politics of the Church, our politicians determined to make the politics of Jesus Christ - this is a whole fiber of Christian social life, Christian customs, Christian reflexes, which we have to restore."

- His Grace Archbishop Lefebvre

"It is absurd, and a detestable shame, that we should suffer those traditions to be changed which we have received from the fathers of old."

- St. Thomas Aquinas

PaxVobiscum

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 10:21:pm »

"I personally do not believe in evolution and take to a literal account of Genesis."

Are you aware of the contradictory accounts of Creation given in Genesis?

In Genesis 1, the order of Creation is basically what the fossil record indicates and in verse 27 we read:

"And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them."

(All Genesis quotes are from the Douay-Rheims Bible.  I added bolding to emphasize that in Genesis 1, God created male and female humans together, to his own image.)

Genesis 2 begins with a sketchier version of the order of Creation and in verse 7, we read:

"And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul."

Then, still in Genesis 2,  we have God seeing that Adam is lonely and creating the animals.  But, seeing that "for Adam there was not found a helper like himself," God acts again.

21 "Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it."

22 "And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam."

It's a myth, by the way, that women have more ribs than men, a myth derived from those particular verses in Genesis 2.

So which is it?  Created in God's own image or formed out of slime?  Genesis 2 does not mention humans being created to God's image.

If you take Genesis as being literally true, how do you reconcile the two different accounts of Creation?


Quo_Vadis_Petre

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Catholics Can Believe in More Than Two Original Parents
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 10:27:pm »
Quote from: PaxVobiscum
"I personally do not believe in evolution and take to a literal account of Genesis."

Are you aware of the contradictory accounts of Creation given in Genesis?

In Genesis 1, the order of Creation is basically what the fossil record indicates and in verse 27 we read:

"And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them."

(All Genesis quotes are from the Douay-Rheims Bible.  I added bolding to emphasize that in Genesis 1, God created male and female humans together, to his own image.)

Genesis 2 begins with a sketchier version of the order of Creation and in verse 7, we read:

"And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul."

Then, still in Genesis 2,  we have God seeing that Adam is lonely and creating the animals.  But, seeing that "for Adam there was not found a helper like himself," God acts again.

21 "Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it."

22 "And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam."

It's a myth, by the way, that women have more ribs than men, a myth derived from those particular verses in Genesis 2.

So which is it?  Created in God's own image or formed out of slime?  Genesis 2 does not mention humans being created to God's image.

If you take Genesis as being literally true, how do you reconcile the two different accounts of Creation?


Genesis 2 goes into more detail. Again, why are you basically stating what other Modernists have stated, that Genesis 1 contradicts Genesis 2? The Fathers of the Church had no difficulty reconciling these two chapters, and neither the creationists.

If you state Genesis 2 is myth, then you state the Bible is erroneous, which is not true at all.
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