The Problem of “Conservative” Catholic Mythologizers: Part I – Genesis
Fatima Perspectives #1376
The reduction of the accounts of historical events in the Old Testament to fables, including the Fall, The Flood and the Tower of Babel incident, is unfortunately not confined to the writings of Modernists. Certain otherwise tradition-minded Catholics have been cowed into intellectual submission by the neo-Darwinian fairy tale of a process of evolution that began with molecules and ended with Mozart.
Even an open-minded atheist such as Thomas Nagel, writing in Mind and Cosmos, is forced to conclude that “The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes…” The neo-Darwinian account, says Nagel, is “a heroic triumph of ideology over common sense.” (Nagel, 2012, pp. 5, 128.)
And yet we see even Catholics who consider themselves traditionalists sacrificing the historicity of Biblical accounts to the claims of “science,” above all the pseudo-science of evolution. Thus when it comes to Genesis we encounter even among otherwise orthodox Catholics an appalling tendency to reduce the Genesis account of Creation to a mere allegory or fable in order to accommodate the revealed truth on human origins to the evolutionary narrative of a world filled with death, disease, disaster, predation and genetic mutation for eons before the first humans — probably many more than two — emerged from the line of their supposed hominid and then hominim ancestors.
Now, if the evolutionary narrative were true, it would mean the following things, not one of which is even suggested in Revelation:
- God did not create all things at the beginning of time, contrary to the solemn and infallible teaching of the Fourth Lateran Council in line with all of Tradition
- Adam and Eve had non-human parents or were among a group of first humans that evolved simultaneously — the error of “polygenism,” which Catholics are forbidden to espouse as it cannot be reconciled with the Original Sin of our first parents, as Pius XII admonished the faithful.
- Adam and Eve had a childhood that God somehow failed to reveal.
- Eve was not created from Adam, even though the creation of Eve ex Adamo is an infallible teaching of the universal ordinary Magisterium based on “what is to all known and cannot be doubted by anyone,” as Pope Leo XIII declared in a landmark encyclical still to be found on the Vatican’s website.
- Adam and Eve were not immortal nor free from disease, even though the loss of both preternatural and natural gifts, including immortality, is also a teaching of the infallible universal Magisterium and is to be considered de fide under penalty of anathema: “If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred… the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death… and that the entire Adam… was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Fifth Session, Decree Concerning Original Sin, n. 1.)
- There was no serpent in the Garden nor any specific command given by God to test our first parents, and thus no divine promise of a Redeemer who would crush the serpent’s head.
- The entire genealogy flowing from Adam and Eve is a fabulist account, as there were many first humans, not just those two, who produced other lines of descent (apparently without the taint of Original Sin occasioned by the specific disobedience of Adam and Eve).
The creation of Eve ex Adamo, a revealed truth, suffices in it and of itself to destroy the neo-Darwinian narrative as no possible version of biological evolution that any evolutionist would accept could possibly allow for it. Moreover, under Pope Saint Pius X the Pontifical Biblical Commission, then an arm of the Magisterium, affirmed the Church’s constant and thus infallible teaching on the literal historical truth of the following facts in the Genesis account precisely because they “pertain to the foundation of the Christian religion”:
- the creation of all things wrought by God in the beginning of time;
- the special creation of man;
- the formation of the first woman from the first man;
- the oneness of the human race [in language as well before the Babel event];
- the original happiness of our first parents in the state of justice, integrity, and immortality;
- the command given to man by God to prove his obedience;
- the transgression of the divine command through the devil’s persuasion under the guise of a serpent…
The conservative Catholic mythologizer of Genesis smugly assures us that Genesis is not a scientific account but rather was written in simple language for the simple faithful. Nonsense. If man were really the product of evolution, simple language could have conveyed that story just as easily. Yet we find not a trace of it in divine revelation. That is because it never happened.
In the face of all this, why do even certain orthodox Catholics feel compelled to abandon the data of Revelation in favor of a pseudo-scientific fairy tale? Why do the same Catholics who think it is unreasonable to expect “modern man” to believe such things as that Eve was literally created from Adam piously declare that it is not unreasonable for “modern man” to believe that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ are really present in what would appear to scientific analysis to be merely a piece of bread?
It must be said: the conservative Catholic mythologizers of the historicity of the Bible do more harm than the Modernists, because their attack on historical facts that “pertain to the foundation of the Christian religion” is cloaked in what would otherwise appear to be solid orthodoxy.
In my next column I will address another favorite target of the Catholic sophisticates who, while professing orthodoxy, undermine the Faith itself by reducing Biblical accounts of historical events to fables: The Flood.