In this blog, I will show that, from the very beginning, the woman (Eve) was created by God to be an imitation of the appropriations of the Holy Spirit. The key that unlocks many of the insights and mysteries that enable us to understand this statement is this: virtually every reference to salt in Scripture is either directly or indirectly referring to the "salt of DNA". Likewise, virtually every mention of dust in Scripture is also referring, either directly or indirectly, to the "dust of DNA". This salt and this dust reside in the nucleus of the human cell (the importance of this will be seen later). These statements are not conjecture. In the book, The Science & Theology of Salt in Scripture, I use Scripture to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the correctness of this interpretation. While not as detailed as is the book, a further discussion of DNA, salt, and dust in Scripture can be found in the article, Is DNA in the Bible.
Before going further, let me say that this article is not meant to provide a comprehensive defense of the belief in the historicity of biblical Adam and Eve. However, elsewhere in this Blog, there is a three-part blog that addresses said historicity and their mode of creation. The title of this three-part series is: Mitochondrial Eve: Should Christians be Worried? In Part I: Scripture, magisterial documents, and the writings of others are used to support the literal interpretation of Genesis 2: 20-24. In Part II: the relationship between the science behind so-called mitochondrial Eve and Scripture is examined. In Part III: it is shown that any hypothesis that starts with the assumption that Adam & Eve were born from animal hominin parents is, from a theological standpoint, highly problematic ... even heretical.
In the Bible, the creation of all other creatures is very brief. For example, Scripture tells us "God made the beasts" (Gen. 1:25), and also, "God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves" (Gen. 1:21). Even Adam's creation was brief. It says, "God formed man of dust from the ground" (Gen. 2:7). Granted, God goes into more detail about the philosophical substance of man, but not about his actual physical creation. Eve's creation was painstakingly described by God. Why is that? Why is her creation so special that God deemed it necessary to provide a detailed description? St Hildegard of Bingen (a Doctor of the Church), conveying God's words, says if any Person of the Trinity were missing, then the Trinitarian family relationship that is God would cease to be. Therefore, God would not be God! Since we are created in His image and likeness, we can say this: if women were not created to be in the image and likeness of the 'appropriations' of the Holy Spirit (Who is uncreated Divine Charity), then the earthly family would cease to be an image of the Trinity. In case you are wondering, "[In theology, appropriation] consists in attributing certain names, qualities, or operations to one of the Persons [of the Trinity], not, however, to the exclusion of the others, but in preference to the others." That is why God provided us with so much detail about the manner of Eve's creation.
According to the Pontifical Bible Commission, Eve's creation from Adam is to be interpreted in a historical literal sense. The following is an excerpt from STOSS.
In Genesis, it reads, "The LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man'" (Gen. 2:21-23, RSVCE). Eve's DNA came entirely from the cells of Adam. Put another way, Eve's DNA is comprised entirely and ONLY of Adam's DNA….
Let us look at a few more facts about this event through scientific glasses. Why did God make Eve from a rib? He does not do anything just for the heck of it. He didn't say to his Son: Hey Son, throw a dart at that drawing of a human skeleton and whichever bone you hit, we'll use that one to make Eve. God knew some very important facts relative to creating a helpmate for Adam (we will discuss the true meaning of "helpmate" in Part II of this blogpost). Incidentally: No! Helpmate does not mean she is his servant! In Scripture, God points to the science he knew (because he created it) and would use to accomplish his objective. God wanted all mankind to descend from a single set of DNA so that we could be one … and only one … genetic family. He wanted Eve, together with Adam, to be a family in the image and likeness of God, who himself is a family consisting of Three Person in an eternally active relationship, which is Life. If this were not the case, he could have simply made Eve from geological dust or stone (as opposed to organic dust as the most proximal element), as he may have done with Adam (cf. Mt. 3:9, Lk. 3:8).
The following scientific discoveries relating to Eve's creation will help to understand how God accomplished this goal. Let me preface the discussion of the rib with a comment about a common misinterpretation of Genesis. Many try to equate the rib as being a symbolic representation of a covenantal marriage (i.e., the two become one-flesh). This would be true if the literalistic interpretation of Eve's creation were exactly true (and it is). Under any other interpretation, it could not be true. Why? Read on.
1. While all bones can repair themselves, ribs are the only bones that can regenerate themselves. God designed man perfectly. So it would follow that if he took a rib from Adam's perfectly designed body, he would desire to put it back (via regeneration);
2. Ribs are one of the very few bones that continue to make red marrow, which means the rib continues to make blood cells into adulthood (Adam, incidentally, was an adult). Consider this: in Scripture it says that our life is in the blood (Gen. 9:4; Lev 17:11-14; Deut. 12:23);
3. The rib is one of the most prolific producers of stem cells, which would be absolutely necessary if God's intention was to make from Adam's body, a fully developed female body (remember, Adam declared Eve to be bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh). Therefore, God also knew about, and reveals to us in an applied sciences way, the science of stem cells. Stem cells are cells that are capable of differentiating, i.e. becoming other types of cells. For example, a stem cell can become (turn into) a brain cell, a nerve cell, a heart cell, and so on.
4. The rib is rich in unipotent, multipotent, and pluripotent stem cells (Alison MR, Islam S. "Attributes of adult stem cells." J Pathol 2009; 217:144-160). Of the three, only the pluripotent cells are capable of differentiating into every cell type necessary to make a complete human body. God not only revealed the science behind stem cells but the science behind the various types of stem cells.
There is only one type of stem cell missing from Adam's rib. As a consequence of this fact, it would seem that Eve was made as an adult, probably of Adam's age. Why? There are no totipotent stem cells located within the adult rib. Without totipotent stem cells, a placenta could not be grown. Only embryonic stem cells, very quickly after fertilization, are considered totipotent. The lack of totipotent and/or embryonic stem cells in Adam's rib would support this hypothesis. Additionally, Genesis Chapter 2 lacks any wording that would indicate there was an embryonic Eve. Consequently, Eve's personality could not be a result of "nurture" by any other human being.
In this Genesis creation account, God showed us the science behind surgery and adult stem cell therapy. Researchers (cited in endnotes) marveled at the analogy between sleep and anesthesia (as would be necessary for bone marrow transplant). According to Drs. Francesco and Michele Callea, "The recent discovery (or rediscovery) of stem cells in bone marrow and their application in regenerative medicine would seem to support the hypothesis that the development of science could be predicted from the story of Adam's rib. Surprisingly, the progress of science, in turn, may lead us to look again into the narrative of our evolutionary ancestry." De facto, they assent, in part, to the very claim that I am making, which is this: many of the scientific discoveries, especially concerning man, occurring today have been hidden in Scripture for thousands of years … beginning with the Genesis account of Adam and Eve; and that God is not anti-science. Rather, He is the Scientist-in-Chief.
This concludes Part I of this blogpost. A critical component to a fuller understanding of how woman was created in the image of divine charity (the Holy Spirit) will be discussed in Part II, which will be published in mid-to-late September. Here's a hint: In his Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) n. 13, Pope St. John Paul II describes the "genius" of women as having "…that greatness of spirit of which only a mother's heart is capable."
Part II can be read here.
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1. St. Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, (Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1990), 418
2. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Kindle edition, Locations 3059-3061
3. Stephen Michael Leininger, The Science & Theology of Salt* in Scripture: *Light, Water, Dust, and Stone too, Volume II, STOSS Books (Raceland, Louisiana: 2017)
4. Pope Benedict IVX, Deus Caritas Est, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), n. 19
5. Dr. Georgia Purdom, "The Amazing Regenerating Rib," Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/human-body/the-amazing-regenerating-rib/; February 4, 2009 (accessed 04/15/2016)
6. Callea, F. and Callea, M. (2011), "Adam's rib and the origin of stem cells." Am. J. Hematol., 86: 529. doi: 10.1002/ajh.22005
10. New York State Dept. of Health, "What is the difference between totipotent, pluripotent, and multipotent," NYSTEM, http://stemcell.ny.gov/faqs/what-difference-between-totipotent-pluripotent-and-multipotent; (accessed 04-17-2016)
12. Callea et al., "Adam's rib and the origin of stem cells"