Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?
“THE first man was Adam and the first woman was Eve; they were our first parents.” Such was the viewpoint expressed in 1947 in The Catechism for Use by French Dioceses, the basic textbook for teaching French children the Catholic faith.
But a year later, in 1948, the church-authorized French encyclopedia Catholicisme said: “Any evolutionary doctrine that allows for the soul’s being created by God is not in disagreement with the Bible.” That very same year, the Papal Biblical Commission described the Genesis account of creation as being “a popular description of the origins of the human race” explained in “simple figurative language suited to the intelligence of less-developed humans.”
In 1981 Pope John Paul II made the following statement before the Papal Academy of Sciences: “The Bible itself speaks of the origin and constitution of the Universe not as a scientific treatise but to clarify man’s proper relationship with the Universe.” And La Bible de la Liturgie (Liturgical Bible), officially approved in 1976, sums up the opinions of many Catholic theologians on the subject of the Genesis creation account, stating: “Actually, it is neither historical nor scientific truth.”
Other churches claiming to be Christian are not to be outdone as far as upholding the evolution theory is concerned. Alexandre Westphal, who was emeritus professor of religious history and Biblical theology at the Protestant Theology School in Montauban, France, stated in his Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de la Bible that the account in Genesis concerning Adam and Eve and their first two children “should not be considered a description of events that actually took place in four people’s lives, but a narration, using figurative style and basic imagery, of the beginnings of mankind’s relations with God.” (Genesis 2:7–4:16) In 1949 the Archbishop of Canterbury, considered to be the senior bishop of the Church of England, went so far as to say: “The Christian Church as a whole has accepted the theory of evolution as scientifically established.”
Thus, in a peremptory tone the French-language weekly L’Express claims that man’s belonging to the animal kingdom is undisputed today by anyone “except ignoramuses and a few cranks.”
Creation Account and Science
But does the creation account, which was accepted for many centuries, now deserve to be scornfully rejected? Admittedly, the book of Genesis does not supply technical details about how plant and animal life was created, but its general outline is in perfect harmony with scientific facts.
For instance, the Bible shows that all men have a common origin, springing from the first human couple, Adam and Eve. Confirming mankind’s common stock, André Langaney, assistant department head at the Musée de l’Homme (Museum of Man) in Paris, explained in a special issue of the French monthly Science et Vie: “Biological and historical facts show that Man’s unity goes deep, prevailing over differences in skin color or frequency of genes in the Gm system [blood globulins characteristic of certain population groups].”
The book of Genesis also supplies information on questions that go beyond the understanding of scientists. When answering a question concerning the “incredible paradox of the aging process,” put to him by Paris weekly L’Express, Nobel-prize-winning biologist François Jacob admitted: “The mechanism is not understood. Indeed, it is utterly paradoxical that an organism that managed to produce itself by an extraordinarily complicated process should then be incapable of maintaining itself in good condition. The fact that a human being can be produced from a fertilized egg cell is probably the most stupendous event that could happen on earth.”
The Bible, too, indicates that it is, in a way, paradoxical that man should die. According to the creation account in the book of Genesis, man was created to live, to ‘maintain himself in good condition,’ forever. However, this was dependent on his maintaining good relations with the One who created him. When the first humans deliberately rebelled against His requirements, they sinned. It was sin that introduced for mankind the “paradox” of dying. Sin ‘worked out death’ in humans, as God had warned that it would.—Romans 7:13; Genesis 3:16-19.
Hence, it is not unreasonable to believe the account of man’s origin found in the Bible. In fact, the following article will present evidence to show that a Christian cannot reject this account of man’s creation without dire consequences to his belief in the very basis of Christianity—Christ’s sacrificial death. Please read on.