Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #61

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

A heads-up about my travel schedule, just in case I’m coming to your hometown. I’ll be in Montgomery, AL on Sept. 18th, speaking at St. Peter’s downtown. I think the talk starts around 6:00 PM or so. If you’re interested, call the parish for exact info. I’ll be speaking at Benedictine College in Atcheson, KS on Friday, Sept 28th, as part of their “Family Weekend.” My talk begins at 8:30 PM. And, I’ll be in Cincinnati for the Catholic Women’s Conference on October 6th. If you are in any of those areas, please come out to say, “Hello!”


I’m waiting on the summary round from Matthew Janzen so that we can wind up our debate on whether or not the scriptures teach that Jesus is God. I hope to have his comments by the first of the week, which will give me time to get them, along with mine, into next week’s newsletter.

In the meantime, this issue has a question, or more like an attack, regarding the Church’s teaching on Adam and Eve, and my response to it.


We listened to John in [name of city] earlier in the month of August. We were moved by the talk [“Was Hitler Right?”]. However, I listened to one of the CD’s he left for us [“Catholics and the Bible”]and I was dismayed. On the CD he stated that he truly believed in Adam and Eve. That means he must believe that the earth was created in 7 days. I cannot believe anyone with any education at all can believe in Adam and Eve and a 7 day creation. Look how long it took before the Catholic Church actually accepted the idea that earth was not the center of the universe and that the sun and stars rotated around the earth.

You wonder why our young people struggle with this kind of religion. I believe that God truly created the universe. But not in 7 days. I believe that God truly created men and women but not Adam and Eve. If you believe in Adam and Eve then you must believe that the earth is around 5000 years old.

How can you preach this kind of theology. No wonder the Catholic Church is losing members and why so few are going into the priesthood.

I am a Catholic but I struggle with theology of this nature.



Dear Ron,

There are a few points that I would like to make in response to your comments. First, your assumption that a belief in Adam and Eve necessarily leads to a belief in God creating the world in seven 24-hour days, is an erroneous assumption. Please explain to me why one belief necessarily leads to the other?

Second, I would suggest that you listen to that particular talk once again…with all due respect, but you didn’t listen to it very closely and you seem to be reacting to it with emotion rather than logic. I specifically stated that, as Catholics, we are free – from the Church’s perspective – to believe that God created the world in seven 24-hour days, or we are free to believe that he created the world over a period of millions of years. I specifically stated that the Church is silent on the chronology of the matter.

And, I specifically stated that the author of Genesis was not trying to give us a nice neat linear timeline for creation. You apparently ignored all of that. So, again, from a perspective of faith, and having an understanding of literal vs. literalist interpretation of scripture, we are free to believe either way on the timeline of creation. I personally believe that the six days of creation represent a very long period of time. Yet, I believe in Adam and Eve. Thus, your assumption is proven to be false.

Now, regarding Adam and Eve, you had better believe in Adam and Eve, or your faith is not the Catholic Faith. The Church specifically teaches that the faithful must believe that all of humanity descended from a single pair of human beings…call them Adam and Eve or call them Ted and Alice, it doesn’t matter…the Church teaches this, not me. And, as a Catholic, I believe what the Church teaches. Furthermore, there is relatively recent evidence from science – anthropology and genetics, for example – that all of mankind did indeed descend from a single pair of human beings. In other words, science is catching up with what the Church has always taught.

But, let’s examine what happens to Church teaching if Adam and Eve are indeed myths. First of all, you can throw the dogma of original sin out the window. The dogma states that the sin of our “first parents” was transmitted to all of their offspring…all of mankind…through physical generation. In other words, we inherited a fallen nature from Adam and Eve. But, if there was no Adam and Eve, then there was no transgression in the Garden of Eden. There was no original sin and there was no fallen nature to transmit to others. So, throw out Romans, chapter 5 and throw out the dogma of original sin.

And, if we did not inherit a fallen nature from Adam and Eve, it means we have no need to be baptized as infants. Infants are baptized to heal the wound of original sin and to bring the infant into covenant with God. Well, since Adam and Eve didn’t exist, then mankind never fell out of covenant with God. So, no need for infant baptism. And, since mankind never fell out of covenant with God, then one could make the argument that there was no need for Christ to come to die for our sins and to open the gates of Heaven for us, since the gates of Heaven were never apparently closed. And, if there was no Adam and Eve, and, therefore, no original sin, then there was no promise of a future redeemer (Genesis 3:15).

In other words, a number of the Catholic Faith’s most central doctrines and dogmas…relating to baptism, to salvation, to original sin…stand or fall on whether Adam and Eve existed. If you do not want to believe in the reality of Adam and Eve, that is entirely your right to do so. But, I suggest you first think about what babies you will be throwing out with the bath water, because if you reject Adam and Eve, you must necessarily reject several very important doctrines and dogmas that are built upon the existence of Adam and Eve.

I will repeat here what I mentioned in my talk: the nine things that the Church…not John Martignoni…teaches we must believe in regards to the first 3 chapters of Genesis. I will also include the corresponding paragraphs in the Catechism for these nine things so that you can see these teachings are what the Church still teaches – please make special note of all the Catechism references to #4, the existence of Adam and Eve:

1) the creation of all things out of nothing by God at the beginning of time…and including time

2) the special creation of man

3) the creation of woman from man [remember the story of Eve being created from Adam’s rib? Well, the Church doesn’t say that it absolutely happened in exactly that way, but it does teach that woman was created from man in some manner]

4) that all of humanity is descended from an original pair of human beings – Adam and Eve

5) that Adam and Eve were created in an original state of holiness, justice, and immortality

6) that a Divine Command was laid upon man to prove his obedience to God [“Thou shalt not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”? Again, exactly what that means, we don’t know. Was it really a tree with fruit that they weren’t supposed to eat? Probably not, but we don’t really know. We do know that there was some command from God, laid upon man, to prove his obedience.]

7) the transgression of that Divine Command at the instigation of Satan

8) the loss of the state of holiness, justice, and immortality of our 1st parents, because of their disobedience – Adam and Eve were kicked out of Paradise.

9) the promise of a future Redeemer, a Savior – Gen 3:15, the protoevangelium, the first “good news”

Source: “The Sources of Catholic Dogma,” Denzinger: #2123

Corresponding references in the Catechism for the above nine teachings:

1. CCC #‘s 296-299

2. CCC #’s 355-358

3. CCC #‘s 371

4. CCC #’s 54-55, 359-360, 375, 390-392, 402-405, 407, 416-417, 419

5. CCC #‘s 374-379, 384, 398, 415-416

6. CCC #’s 396-397, 399

7. CCC #‘s 379, 390-392, 394-395, 397-398, 413-415

8. CCC #’s 379, 390, 399-400, 410

9. CCC #‘s 410-411

“For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from [Adam] as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.”

Source: Papal encyclical, “Humani Generis,” Pope Pius XII, paragraph #37

Regarding the idea of how long it took the Church to accept “the idea that the earth was not the center of the universe…,” well, that was never taught as a doctrine of the faith. That was simply accepted scientific evidence of the day. It was the Church, in fact, that was on the leading edge of scientific discoveries in the Middle Ages through its establishment of universities and its support of many of the leading scientists of the day.

For example, much is made of the Church’s censure of Galileo. Yet, the Church sanctioned Galileo, not for his scientific discoveries, but because he tried to cross from the world of science to the world of theology. The Church gave a great deal of support to Copernicus, Galileo’s predecessor in the theory of heliocentrism. A presentation of Copernican theory was made to the pope himself and a Roman cardinal wrote a letter to Copernicus expressing a great deal of interest in his work. One of Copernicus’ books was actually dedicated to the Pope.

So, the popular notion in the media, and apparently yours as well, that the Church tends to be in opposition to science, does not fit with the historical facts.

I hope you will reconsider your rejection of the Church’s teachings on Adam and Eve, on Original Sin, on Infant Baptism and so on. Over the years, I rejected a number of the Church’s teachings as well. However, upon investigation, I discovered that the Church turned out to be right, and I was wrong. Which is why if I ever question now anything the Church teaches, I give the benefit of the doubt to the Church, rather than to myself.

After all, if the Church is founded by Jesus Christ, and if Jesus Christ gave it the authority to teach in the areas of faith and morals, then shouldn’t we believe what it teaches? I would ask you to think about and pray about conforming your beliefs to the Church’s, rather than hoping the Church will conform its beliefs to yours. And, if you don’t believe the Church was founded by Jesus Christ, and that it does not have authority from Him to teach in the areas of faith and morals, then I would simply ask one question: Why are you Catholic?

God bless!

John Martignoni

In Conclusion

This man is undoubtedly a “good” Catholic. He attends Mass, goes to Catholic events such as the one he heard me speak at, etc. But, he: 1) Doesn’t know what the Church teaches; 2) Doesn’t believe what the Church teaches; and 3) Has had his beliefs formed by heterodox Catholic teachers and/or the popular media – all of which make him not such a “good” Catholic.

Unfortunately, there are millions of “good” Catholics just like him…I used to be one of them. Fortunately, many of the teachers of heterodoxy are dying out, and more and more priests, deacons, religious, DRE’s, religious ed teachers, etc. are being properly formed in the truths of the Faith and are passing those truths along to the laity.

It’s going to take a while longer for the turnaround to firmly take hold and to flower and grow, but things are definitely headed in that direction.

By the way, this issue regarding Adam and Eve, evolution, the creation timetable, and such is very interesting to me, as many of my “liberal” atheist/agnostic friends like to turn to it to “prove” that Christians are idiots because what we believe goes against science; and because many of the more fundamentalist Christians twist themselves all into knots trying to rectify the Bible with science. So, I’m going to share some more on this in the not-too-distant future.

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Apologetics for the Masses