They think that the latest findings in paleoanthropology and genetics render a literal pair of first true human parents to be “scientifically impossible.” The prevailing assumption underlying media reports about human origins is that humanity evolved very gradually over vast periods of time as a population (a collection of interbreeding organisms), which itself originally evolved from a (human/chimpanzee) common ancestor millions of years ago.
Therefore, we are not seen as descendants of the biblical Adam and Eve.
Thus at some point in time, true man suddenly appears—whether visible to modern science or not.
In this process, some researchers have committed the logically invalid move of inferring from particular data to the universally negative claim that a literal Adam and Eve is impossible.
By calling the story a “myth,” people avoid saying it is mere “fantasy,” that is, with no foundation in reality at all.
While rejecting a literal first pair of human parents for all mankind, they hope to retain some “deeper” truth about an original “sinful human condition,” a “mythic” meaning.
Many succumb to the modernist tendency to “adjust” Church teaching to fit the latest scientific claims—thus intimidating Catholics into thinking that divinely revealed truths can be abandoned—“if need be.” This skepticism of a literal Adam and Eve begs for four much needed corrections.
First, Church teaching about Adam and Eve has not, and cannot, change. “Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back toward God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle” ( did not definitively exclude theological polygenism.
Paleoanthropological claims of gradual appearance of specifically human traits fail to comport with a true philosophy of human nature. Thomas Aquinas demonstrates that true man is distinguished essentially from lower animals by possession of an intellectual and immortal soul, which possesses spiritual powers of understanding, judgment, and reasoning ( I, 75).