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03/11 -- Mitochondrial Eve: Should Christians Be Worried -- Part III

Published by in Stephen Michael Leininger ·

Proof That Adam & Eve Were Made ... Not Born


Good Science Gone Theologically Bad

Originally, I only wrote two parts to this particular blog. The objective was to arrive at an understanding of what is the correct interpretation of the Genesis’ account of Adam and Eve’s creation. As an almost direct reaction to the scientific interpretations of the scientific research of Cann et al. (which shed some light on the existence of an earliest common ancestor of all hominins), theological problems began to proliferate. This female common ancestor was dubbed “mtEve”. Some, maybe many, Bible believers began to question the accuracy and infallible Truth of Scripture, maybe even without their realizing it; maybe even questioning their belief in God. Currently, the trend is becoming alarming.
Thus the addition of a third part to this blog series. In the first two parts, I presented positive arguments / proofs. In this, the third part, I will be presenting negative proofs to show that the “alternative” interpretations to the literal interpretation of Adam & Eve’s creation are not simply problematic, but lead to an intellectual assent to at least two heresies. To recap: using Scripture and Magisterial documents, Part I showed that Adam and Eve were actual historical beings created in the image and likeness of God; Part II showed why the science behind so-called mtEve did not contradict the literal interpretation of the Genesis account of that creation event, and; Part III is meant to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the literal and literalistic interpretation are virtually identical, and that alternate hypotheses are insurmountably problematic from a theological standpoint ... even to the point of heresy on at least two points.

The Theory Can’t Clear the Monogenism Hurdle? So Let’s Redefine Monogenism!

It is absolutely amazing to me the great lengths that sincere people will go to in order to try and force theology to “fit” the science ... even if the scientific interpretation and/or method is wrong. To be sure, good science, performed and interpreted correctly, will not contradict correct interpretations of Scripture. Unfortunately, all too often we seem to be OK with believing that science is infallible, but not the Church. There are many alternative hypothesis regarding the creation of biblical Adam and Eve. In reality, however, most all of them have their roots firmly planted in the one “master” hypothesis. There are two prominent efforts to make individual hypothesis acceptable. They do so by redefining monogensim, instead of submitting to its correct definition as stated in Humani Generis (https://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis.html, n. 37). These following two hypotheses have seemed to have gained the most traction with Christians of all flavors.
All of these hypotheses start with the root premise, which states that Adam and Eve were each born from two separate hominin (human animal) parents. The Thomistic Evolution people consist of four Dominican priests who, when taken as a group, are well versed in biology, theology, and philosophy. Fr. Nicanor Austriaco is the biologist of the group and seems to be the main spokesman. Given the pool of intellectual talent among this group, I can’t help but wonder how they could have possibly arrived at such a theologically problematic hypothesis. Their hypothesis is based almost entirely on the writings of Thomas Aquinas, coupled with Fr. Austriaco’s knowledge of biology. In a nutshell, they believe that God breathed a rational soul into animal Adam and animal Eve (each from different animal parents) either at conception or some point thereafter. Kenneth Kemp proposes a virtually identical hypothesis, but relies more heavily on the evolutionary process involving a population of hominins, two of which hit the rational soul lottery jackpot.
If one wants to chop down a large oak tree, what is the fastest (exclusive of all other considerations) way to do so? Does one start chopping off branches one-by-one from the top of the tree down, or does one lay his axe to the root of the tree? If the tree is chopped down at its root, the entire tree will fall as a result of that single cut. When this method is applied to a tree of theological hypotheses, all of the theologically problematic branches will fall at the same time. In this blog, we are going after the root hypothesis. Let’s begin to turn this tree into a coffin and bury these ill-conceived interpretations.

Adam & Eve Are Saying, “OOPS! We Smell Heresy!”

Let us begin chopping down the tree of bad scientific interpretations of that which is, more or less, good science; the tree of bad theological hypotheses and even worse biblical exegesis. Here are some theological points that must be taken into account, examined critically, analyzed, and judged based on sound theology before we cavalierly throw out the contention that God simply breathed a rational soul into two beings (Adam and Eve) who were conceived as animals. As is the case when a statement is passed off as truth, but it is not, the devil can usually be found hiding in the details. Let’s explore some details.

1). All natures are communicated to offspring through begetting/generation. The nature of the begotten is the exact same as the nature of the one who begat. This has been well reasoned out by Aquinas himself. He wrote, “As in creatures, generation [i.e. begetting] is the only principle of communication of nature. (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1027.htm#article4)” A human cannot generate a cat; a dog can’t generate a fish, a man cannot generate an angel, etc. So animal Adam and Eve (A & E) would have been animals, as were their parents. They would have had sensitive/animal souls, not intellectual/rational souls.

2). Sensitive souls are not even capable of knowing and loving themselves, let alone knowing/loving the God who created them. As Augustine tells us, one cannot love what one does not know (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/130109.htm). So the Holy Spirit would not / could not develop a bond of love with such an animal soul, nor dwell in one that is not capable of knowing and loving (Aquinas, Summa, I, q. 93, a. 2). Pre-fallen Adam and Eve were created perfectly in the image and likeness of God. Their corporeal and spiritual natures were in complete and perfect harmony. When they fell, their nature became corrupted. They were no longer in the perfect image and likeness of God. It was impossible for the Holy Spirit to dwell in any man (Adam) who was not a perfect Imago Dei (image of God). You may be thinking that nothing is impossible for God, but you would be wrong. God cannot contradict His own essence. That would be a contradiction of Truth. God could not express/create a contradiction to His Truth. For example, God could not create evil ... it is a contradiction of Truth. God would not be God if he were able to create a contradiction.

The Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a disordered nature. This is exactly why the Holy Spirit departed from our First Parents immediately after their sin. When the Holy Spirit departed, Supernatural Grace was lost to them. It was the Spirit's indwelling that produced Supernatural Grace. Without this internal indwelling, the only type of grace available to fallen man would occur from the outside in ... through Actual Grace. This type of grace is external to us, and is a result of the power of the Holy Spirit, which does not require an indwelling. The Holy Spirit did not return to dwell in any man until Jesus redeemed him and established his Church (John 7:39). Consequently, if a fallen rational man, whose corrupted nature produced a corrupted image and likeness of God, cannot be dwelt within by the Holy Spirit, so much more the case for an animal Adam who is not even remotely in the image and likeness at all, let alone imperfectly. The very indwelling that would be necessary to receive the grace necessary to accomplish this unnatural transformation, could not happen because the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was an impossibility. For any attempt to make this false hypothesis true, it would require one to employ circular logic, which is false logic. To suggest that the HS could dwell in an animal, is to commit heresy.

3). The Holy Spirit could not have been nonchalantly breathed into animal A & E by God because they were not generated /begotten as persons in the image and likeness of God (see #2). To assert otherwise is to engage in heresy, as was already stated in #2. It is also important to note that the International Theological Commission tells us that the Imago Dei resides in the whole man, body and soul [www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20040723_communion-stewardship_en.html, n. 9] (See also #5a below). Consequently, both the animal soul and the body, which is in the substantial form of an animal soul, would, either together or separately, not possess the capability of receiving the gift (via the Holy Spirit) of becoming rational human beings made in the image and likeness of God. No Imago Dei, no Supernatural Grace.

4). The “breathed in” Holy Spirit does not change a pre-existing nature (pre-existing through conception/generation) into a different, higher or lower, nature. I am not aware of that occurring anywhere in Scripture. To avoid possible confusion, one must be aware of the following: unless one has a solid philosophical background, they might confuse annihilation with substantial change; transforming from actuality to potentiality in, say, prime matter. In fact, according to Aquinas, an animal soul is not directly given by God. A sensitive (animal) soul is not subsistent (able to exist independently from the animal body), the sensitive soul is communicated with the semen during the fertilization process of the animal egg (Aquinas, Summa, I, q. 118, a. 1). It is NOT gifted by God upon conception. So the entire substance of the animal has its origin as an inseparable part of the conception, unlike rational human beings. Mary received her human nature (the physical part) entirely from her parents. The rational soul was breathed in at conception by God ... not as a result of the fertilization of St. Anne's egg by St. Joachim's sperm. The Holy Spirit did not change her nature in any way. An Immaculate Conception was not needed to change her nature, she was already a rational human being. Using Mary’s Immaculate Conception as an example, the Holy Spirit bonded in Love with that normal human nature (https://saintmaximiliankolbe.com/who-are-you-o-immaculate-conception/); a bonding that is not possible with an animal, for reasons stated in #3 above. Consequently, what occurred with Mary could not have occurred with an animal Adam & Eve, even though that is what would be absolutely necessary for the theories at hand to work.

5). To accomplish what Kemp and Austriaco are proposing, the animal nature of animal Adam & Eve would have had to be annihilated … reduced to nothingness … uncreated. After all, it would be impossible for Adam & Eve to each have two completely separate natures simultaneously. Unfortunately, for those hypotheses, annihilation creates a whole new level of very serious theological problems.
5a). The sensitive (animal) soul is non-subsistent (Aquinas, Summa, I, q. 118, a. 1). Therefore it is likely that the annihilation of it would have also resulted in the annihilation of the genetic material as well. It is not the same as a rational human, where the body dies but the intellectual soul lives forever. Even if the genetic material of animal Adam were not annihilated, it would simply be a collection of dead cells with no substantial form. So, now we are absent both an irrational soul and an irrational body, within which to breathe a rational soul.  Hmm! I see a problem here. Don’t forget, the image of God lies in the whole man ... body and soul.

5b). As I said earlier, there is no mention in Scripture, or in any Magisterial writing, that demonstrates the annihilation of one nature, after which it is replaced by a different higher or lower nature. In fact, there is Magisterial evidence contradicting it.
5c). Scripture and the Summa tell us that God does not annihilate anything. From the Summa we read, "Now the nature of creatures shows that none of them is annihilated … Moreover, the annihilation of things does not pertain to the manifestation of grace; since rather the power and goodness of God are manifested by the preservation of things in existence [therefore annihilation of a nature would be contrary to God’s perfect goodness--SML]. Wherefore we must conclude by denying absolutely that anything at all will be annihilated … That things are brought into existence from a state of non-existence, clearly shows the power of Him Who made them; but that they should be reduced to nothing would hinder that manifestation, since the power of God is conspicuously shown in His preserving all things in existence, according to the Apostle: ‘Upholding all things by the word of His power’ (Hebrews 1:3) … and ‘I have learned that all the works that God hath made continue forever. [Summa, I, q. 104, a. 4].’”
To put it another way, all of creation is the expression of the goodness and the perfections of God. God says in Genesis that all of his creation is good. In God, good means absolutely perfect … cannot be made more or less perfect. To annihilate one of his creatures (which a good God created as perfectly good) in order to replace it with something better is to imply that God needed an eraser; that his “original” creation was not good enough, so it needed to be re-made better. That would be an additional heresy.
6). Here is a further problem with the Kemp and Austriaco hypotheses. St. Hildegard of Bingen wrote, “When God said, ‘Let it be done!’ things were enclosed at once within their forms, just as the divine providence had seen them in an incorporeal way before time was [Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works].” It seems contradictory that, in the eternal now, there would be two different and contradictory expressions /forms of the same subject (Adam). As is written in the Catholic Encyclopedia (“Eternity”), “In them [creation] there is before and after, but not in Him, Who is equally present [in the eternal now] to them all, no matter how or when they may have come into being, or how they may succeed one another in time or in space.”

Adam & Eve: an Immaculate Conception?

In light of what I have written above and also in Parts I & II, a quick look (rather than in-depth look, which would be somewhat redundant), at the Immaculate Conception should be sufficient. Animal Adam and Eve would, of necessity, had to have been immaculately conceived (remember from above, God’s creation cannot be added to, or subtracted from, hence the method of multiplication through generation/conception), but for different reasons than for Mary. Let’s list some pertinent considerations.
1). There are only two possibilities for Adam and Eve. Either an immaculate conception occurred (which is impossible and would violate the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary which states that she is the only Immaculate Conception), or they would have to have been made from some other genetic matter … but not through conception. If the former were even possible, it would still had to have occurred through an annihilation, which would mean that a continuing succession of annihilations would be needed, because the only beings involved in the conceiving of animals are animals. Consequently, we would be faced with a never-ending circle of conception followed by annihilation.
2). The other possibility involves two sub-options. First, creation from literal geological dust. Second, formation through the use of pre-existing genetic material, such as a donor stem cell; such as I have suggested from the very beginning in my two-part blog on mitochondrial Eve and Genesis.

Adam & Eve Created as Literally Described in Genesis?

Sounds like we are back to the only possible scenario that does not conflict with true, and correctly interpreted, science and which, at the same time, does not involve heretical and highly problematic theology. Alternate scenarios, such as: 1) animals being turned into humans in the image and likeness of God; or 2) a population of animal hominins from which two hit the creation lottery jackpot by being picked to become rational, who then meet and fall in love with each other, who then get married (by whom I have no idea, since animals cannot confect covenantal marriages) and have rational children who would grow up alongside animal hominins, are just theologically untenable.
Why do people have such difficulty believing God can (and did) do what he said he did, in the way he said he did, in the Genesis account of Adam & Eve’s creation? Why do people listen to atheistic scientists who have imprisoned their intellects in a box labeled, “Big Bang and Byproducts Only, God Not Allowed,” and, as a result of their a priori assumptions about God, generate faulty interpretations of their research relative to the same God they assume doesn’t exist. Throughout Scripture, God tells us he could turn dust into organic matter. What’s more, in the New Testament, he did it at the wedding feast at Cana. The Son of God, the same Son of God through whom all things were made in the beginning, turned inorganic water (no DNA) onto organic wine (with DNA). He even created the specific genes needed to create good (perfect) wine. He did this instantly … and not from some pre-existing grape genetic ancestors (Uh-Oh, I think I see some scientists having heart palpitations).

Time for a Dogmatic Definition

 Currently, the existence of historical Adam and Eve from whom we descended is a sententia certa (theologically certain) Doctrine of the Church. I believe the information is now available for the Church to confidently define the Doctrine as a Dogma. Satan, who hates all of humanity, would desire nothing more than to make all of us believe that we are nothing more than descendants of animals ... intelligent animals, but animals nevertheless. Assenting to these heresies would also paint us in the corner, so-to-speak, forcing us to say that Jesus, too, descended from mere animals. The current relationship and attitudes existing between faith and reason, science and religion, authority and Authority, are leading to a climate within the Church and within the world in which it has been made acceptable for those outside of the Teaching Authority to redefine our understanding of the Doctrine of Adam and Eve.

Updated: 5/21/2019

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