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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).

While these qualitatively superior abilities are manifested through special forms of tool making or culture or art, they need not always be evident in the paleontological record.

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.

Irrational animals, including subhuman primates, are capable of complex sentient behaviors often approaching or imitating the rational activities of true man.

But an animal either possesses a spiritual, intellectual soul or not.

The fact remains that a literal Adam and Eve are unchanging Catholic doctrine. Paul’s teaching is the fact that one man, Adam, committed original sin and that through the God-man, Jesus Christ, redemption was accomplished (Romans -21; 1 Cor. What they fail to notice, though, is that the Holy Father clearly insists that Scripture and the Magisterium affirm that original sin “proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam []” and that this sin is transmitted to all true human beings through generation (para. This proves that denial of a literal Adam (and his spouse, Eve) as the sole first genuinely human parents of all true human beings is not theologically tenable.

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