Could the Soul “Evolve” from Inferior Animals? – 16 Questions on Adam and Eve

The Garden of Paradise was a large and beautiful place prepared for man’s habitation upon earth. It was supplied with every species of plant and animal and with everything that could contribute to man’s happiness.

Adam and Eve - Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617), wikipedia

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. All the lists taken from the Baltimore Catechism may be found here.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3 – Lesson 5

LESSON FIFTH
On our First Parents and the Fall – Part I

 

Q. 233. Who were the first man and woman?

A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

 

Q. 234. Are there any persons in the world who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve?

A. There are no persons in the world now, and there never have been any, who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve, because the whole human race had but one origin.

 

Q. 235. Do not the differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races indicate a difference in first parents?

A. The differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in distinct races do not indicate a difference in first parents, for these differences have been brought about in the lapse of time by other causes, such as climate, habits, etc.

 

Q. 236. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God?

A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.

 

Q. 237. What do we mean by saying Adam and Eve “were innocent” when they came from the hand of God?

A. When we say Adam and Eve “were innocent” when they came from the hand of God we mean they were in the state of original justice; that is, they were gifted with every virtue and free from every sin.

 

Q. 238. How was Adam’s body formed?

A. God formed Adam’s body out of the clay of the earth and then breathed into it a living soul.

 

Q. 239. How was Eve’s body formed?

A. Eve’s body was formed from a rib taken from Adam’s side during a deep sleep which God caused to come upon him.

 

Q. 240. Why did God make Eve from one of Adam’s ribs?

A. God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs to show the close relationship existing between husband and wife in their marriage union which God then instituted.

 

Q. 241. Could man’s body be developed from the body of an inferior animal?

A. Man’s body could be developed from the body of an inferior animal if God so willed; but science does not prove that man’s body was thus formed, while revelation teaches that it was formed directly by God from the clay of the earth.1

 

Q. 242. Could man’s soul and intelligence be formed by the development of animal life and instinct?

A. Man’s soul could not be formed by the development of animal instinct; for, being entirely spiritual, it must be created by God, and it is united to the body as soon as the body is prepared to receive it.2

 

Q. 243. Did God give any command to Adam and Eve?

A. To try their obedience, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of a certain fruit which grew in the garden of Paradise.

 

Q. 244. What was the Garden of Paradise?

A. The Garden of Paradise was a large and beautiful place prepared for man’s habitation upon earth. It was supplied with every species of plant and animal and with everything that could contribute to man’s happiness.

 

Q. 245. Where was the Garden of Paradise situated?

A. The exact place in which the Garden of Paradise — called also the Garden of Eden — was situated is not known, for the deluge may have so changed the surface of the earth that old landmarks were wiped out. It was probably some place in Asia, not far from the river Euphrates.

 

Q. 246. What was the tree bearing the forbidden fruit called?

A. The tree bearing the forbidden fruit was called “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

 

Q. 247. Do we know the name of any other tree in the garden?

A. We know the name of another tree in the Garden called the “tree of life.” Its fruit kept the bodies of our first parents in a state of perfect health.

 

Q. 248. Which were the chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve had they remained faithful to God?

A. The chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had they remained faithful to God, were a constant state of happiness in this life and everlasting glory in the next.

  1. SPL Note on Evolution: It should be remembered that the Baltimore Catechism was published in 1885 – science has made significant headway in the area of evolution since then. []
  2. SPL Note on Evolution II: Assume that evolution is an undeniable scientific fact, even with that granted the soul cannot “evolve;” thus, there would have to be a moment in time where God went from guiding evolution via nature to divinely intervening to create man with an immortal soul capable of free will – for holiness or sin. This moment in time and the story surrounding it is most certainly the Adam and Eve story. []
  • walt

    Could you please state the “significant headway in the area of evolution” since 1885 that would in any way bring into question #241. References to scientific data would be appreciated.

    • Though it is not what you asked for, a list of popes, Church documents, etc. commenting on Evolution and what a Catholic can and cannot believe may be found at:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution

      As with any wikipedia article, we recommend it be used as a good resource for sources – not necessarily the article itself. Hope this helps.

  • Proteios1

    It’s hard for me to understand what the people were like, the stories they told and the limited language usage of the early Jews who told the creation stories. It seems that evolution DOES state that we evolved from the dirt, so to speak, as random molecules impressively formed DNA, RNA and proteins, etc. and more impressively developed a genetic code requiring both chicken and egg at the same time. So this dirt or clay or primordial ooze…is it language variations throughout time that limits our discussion? Is it atheists locking Christians into confining perspectives of creation in order to limit debate? Is it creationists and their depictions of people riding dinosaurs that sour our minds to what the stories are REALLY trying to communicate? I don’t know, but as a catholic scientist, I see no conflict in evolution and creation. Merely a conflict with truly seeking understanding and arrogantly dismissing what were being told if it doesn’t perfectly align with 21st century terminology and theory.

  • This is a great article. Please see my post today on how reincarnation from lower life forms is against Catholic Teaching from both scriptural and philosophic grounds.

    http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-errors-of-reincarnation.html

  • Gail Finke

    If the soul is the form of the being, as Thomism looks at it, all living beings (including plants and microbes) have souls and have since Creation. Did they evolve? As far as bodies have evolved, they have too. Was the human soul created? If the human body was in any sense created, the soul was too, and at the same time.

  • If death was the mechanism of creation, what exactly were we saved from? What does the resurrection reverse? This essay argues that theistic evolution tells a story with a different shape from the story of the Gospel: http://smithgreg.com/faith/2013/8/10/things-fall-apart