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
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.
- 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. [↩]
- 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. [↩]