Adam and Eve TRUE. Original Sin TRUE


Professor Scott Hahn of Steubenville University has the following to say regarding the origins of the human race:

'Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical Redemptor Hominis underscores the fact that God established a creation, a covenant bond, with humanity, with Adam. Adam's name is not only the name of an individual, the founding father of the human race, but it's also the Hebrew word for humanity.' [NB Redemptor Hominis was Pope John Paul's first encyclical. In it, the Pope called Adam 'the first man' in Sections 8 and 14; and 'the original sin' was re-affirmed in section 1.]

Hahn gives the example of Americans using the word 'Washington' to denote the founding father of their country AND the capital of their nation (Salvation History, St Joseph's Communications; First Comes Love, DLT).


The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr Ludwig Ott (Tan, 1974, pps. 94 - 96) confirms the Catholic Church teaching that Adam and Eve were two actual historical personages:

The whole human race stems from one single human pair [sententia certa]. This teaching pertains to the Faith. It is theologically certain. It is a doctrine on which the Teaching Authority of the Church has not yet finally pronounced, but whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of Revelation. Whilst not a dogma, the unity of the human race is a necessary pre-supposition of the dogma of Original Sin and Redemption. (Emphasis added)

Dr Ott's compendium of Catholic dogma includes the following (pps. 106-110):

- Our first parents in paradise sinned grievously through transgression of the divine probationary commandment [De Fide] (NB De Fide = dogma)

- Our first parents became subject to death and to the dominion of the Devil [De Fide]

- Adam's sin is transmitted to his posterity by descent [De Fide]

Dr Ott includes a ruling from the Pontifical Biblical Commission (p. 96) whilst it was still an official teaching arm of the Catholic Church:

According to a decision of the Bible Commission, the unity of the human race is to be reckoned among those facts which affect the foundations of the Christian Religion, and which, on this account, are to be understood in their literal historical sense D 2123 (Emphasis added). [NB This 'D' reference is taken from Denzinger: a comprehensive collection of official Church statements.]

According to the 1909 Biblical Commission, the literal historical sense is not to be doubted in regard to:

1. The first man was tested by God to prove his obedience

2. Through the Devil's temptation the first man transgressed the divine command

3. From the Original Sin, our first parents, Adam and Eve, were deprived of their original condition of innocence. (Emphasis added)

Fr J. Franklin Ewing S.J., wrote the following about the Church's consistent teaching as regards the actual historicity of Adam and Eve (Keane, G., 1999, Creation Rediscovered, Tan):

Although the exact doctrine that Adam and Eve were the first parents of all men since their time has never been defined, still one is struck by the fact that all the ecclesiastical documents concerning them take this for granted. The Council of Carthage in 418; the Council of Orange in 529; and the Council of Trent in 1546 " to mention outstanding and ecumenical examples, all speak of original sin, and in this connection of one Adam. The Biblical Commission, in 1909, mentions "the unity of the human race" as one of the fundamental doctrines reported in Genesis. All the Scriptural references dealing with our first parents plainly take it for granted that there was one man and one woman. (Emphasis added)

The Council of Trent has an entire decree devoted to Original Sin. Session 5, June 17 1546 mentions 'the first man Adam' in Canon 1. And Canon 2 quotes St Paul in Romans 5:12, 'Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it.' See also: Wis 10:1; 1 Cor 15: 21; Heb 2: 11; Tob 8:6; Acts 17:26.


No Church Council is ever out of date. However, in more recent times, the Catholic Church has been very clear in upholding the constant teaching that Adam and Eve were real people and that the Original Sin happened in actual historical fact:

- Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII, 1950 " All human beings now on Earth have Adam for their ancestor. Because of this descent from Adam, we are born with Original Sin. Also, polygenism (multiple first parents) is rejected [D 3028].


- Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, 1964, - sections 2 & 56;

- Nostra aetate, Vatican II, 1965, - section 1.

- On the Church in the Modern World, Vatican II, 1965, - sections 13, 18 & 22. Adam, said Gaudium et Spes, was the 1st man, and man would have been immune from bodily death if sin had not entered the world through him.

- Credo of the People of God, Pope Paul VI, 1968.

- In 1979 Pope John Paul II in Redemptor Hominis sections 1, 8 & 14.

- In 1986 the teaching of Pius XII was reaffirmed by Pope John Paul II when he said in L'Osservatore Romano, 21st April, "The reply of the Magisterium was offered in Humani Generis of Pius XII in 1950."

- The 1992 and 1997 revised Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) both reaffirm the constant teaching of the Church as regards the common origin of the human race in Adam (Para. 360 & 375) and the fall of our first parents (Para. 390):

Paragraph 360 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity for "from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth". [See also: CCC 28, 225, 360, 404, 412, 416, 417, 775, 831, 842, 1939]

Paragraph 375 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice."

Paragraph 390 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval

event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents. (Emphasis added.) [See also Denzinger: D 788 & D 2123].

* Please note that this text should be read in the context of the whole work and in recognition of the appropriate paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlighted in the index.