01/18 -- Mitochondrial Eve: Should Christians Be Worried -- Part II
Published by Stephen Michael Leininger in Stephen Michael Leininger · 18 January 2018
Tags: mtEve, Genesis, Adam, Eve, out, of, Africa
Tags: mtEve, Genesis, Adam, Eve, out, of, Africa
Does Science Disprove Adam and Eve's Creation Account in Scripture?
As a quick refresher, Part I of this blog focused on topics that are necessary precursors to a fuller understanding of the present research into mtDNA in light of the Genesis account of creation in Scripture. In Part I, we used Scripture to show that the account of Eve’s creation in Genesis should be interpreted as literally and historically accurate. Thus informed, we now endeavor to answer the following two questions: First, should Christians be worried by the conclusions reached in the research at hand; second, does the science behind mitochondrial Eve (mtEve) refute the Bible account of Adam and Eve’s creation?
In Part II, we will now be taking a deeper look at the science behind the research leading to the biblical controversy surrounding mtEve and the heresies and/or problematic theological interpretations it could promote. We intend to show one example of the logical traps scientists can fall victim to when failing to incorporate Scripture into the equation during the interpretation phase of their research.
Incidentally, two examples (out of thirty-four plus) of scientific mysteries hidden in Scripture by God are available on this website for viewing. They help to show that Scripture could not have been written by human authors (fishermen, tent makers, tax collectors, and so forth) without the inspiration of a Divine Intelligence. As it so happens, both examples of this are related to this blog post. One discusses Eve’s creation from a scientific viewpoint and is located here. The other is located here.
mtEve Research Details
Researchers sought to ascertain when and where the woman lived from which all human populations descended (including modern man). To arrive at their conclusions, they used only the mitochondrial DNA from one hundred and forty-seven people from five different geographical regions; specifically Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and aboriginal New Guinea.
What Is Mitochondrial DNA? How Does It Differ From Nuclear DNA?
To begin with, ‘nuclear DNA’ is the DNA which is located in the enclosed nucleus of every human cell. Nuclear DNA contains approximately 30,000 genes in every molecule of DNA. By comparison, mtDNA contains only thirty-seven genes. Interestingly, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is more similar to bacterial DNA than it is to human DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is located outside of the nucleus, in the watery part of cell which is called the cytoplasm. Mitochondrial DNA is an organelle. Organelles are specialized structures within each cell that are dedicated to certain functions. They are usually enclosed within their own lipid membrane (resembling the outermost cell membrane). Incidentally, cell membranes are mainly lipids and proteins ... none of which are considered dust or salt.[3-a] What is the special process reserved for mtDNA? The mtDNA organelle performs several functions within the cell. Two of which are: 1) converting food into energy which is usable by the cell, and 2) the regulation of cell death (apoptosis).
In human reproduction, the gametes, i.e., sperm cell of the father and the egg cell of the mother, each contain 23 chromosomes which contain a complete set of their nuclear DNA. When the egg becomes fertilized, the two sets of DNA combine through a process aptly called recombination. Both the sperm cell and the egg cell contain mtDNA. However, the resulting offspring (i.e., the fertilized egg), regardless of gender, gets its mtDNA only from the mother. So what happens to the father’s mtDNA? It does not survive the fertilization process. Immediately upon entering the egg, the father’s mtDNA is attacked by enzymes within the fertilized egg cell which virtually always kills the mtDNA of the sperm cell. Most of the mitochondria are located in the tail of the sperm cell. The sperm loses its tail upon fertilization of the egg. While there are hypotheses regarding the phenomenon, it is still a mystery exactly why and how this occurs.
Why use only mitochondrial DNA?
Researchers used mtDNA because it does not go through the recombination process which is necessary to combine the two separate sets of chromosomes received from the parents. Recombination could result in genetic mutations that are not the result of the normal evolutionary processes, thus tainting the ‘molecular clock’ that would be used to estimate mtEve’s placement in historical time. The passing of mtDNA from mother to offspring results in only minor random mutations to mtDNA sequence. Furthermore, there are multiple identical copies of mtDNA in each of the mother’s cells. Researchers believed the lack of recombination would result in a greater sensitivity of mtDNA across generations in small communities that would then expand into large populations. Cann et al, estimated that two to four percent of mtDNA mutates every million years.
In the research conducted by Cann et al, they used one criteria for the design of their study. All mtDNA came from the maternal side of the offspring’s parents. There was also one assumption made. All the mtDNA within each individual was identical. It is the first assumption that we will be focusing on later in this blog post.
Results of Research and Implications for Bible Believers
The data gathered from the research led researchers to originally estimate that mtEve lived in Africa between 140,000 to 290,000 years ago. In 1990, scientists modified that estimate to approximately 170,000 years ago. Further adjustments have been made as a result of two studies that were published in 2013. Both studies incorporate estimates of when Y-chromosome Adam (hereafter referred to as Y-Adam) and mtEve lived. Carlos Bustamante and his research team at the Stanford University School of Medicine, estimate that Y-Adam lived between 120,000 to 156,000 years ago. They also estimated that mtEve lived between 99,000 to 148,000 years ago. Bustamante stated that the idea of all descending from a common set of ancestors (as in biblical Adam and Eve) is just not that true. A team led by Paolo Francalacci at the University of Sassari, Italy, estimated Y-Adam lived between 180,000 to 200,000 years ago, which is not even within range of the potential ages for mtEve.
By now, I’m sure you can start to see some potential problems for Bible believers as a result of extrapolations of the research. I have been amazed at the number of well-intentioned Christians I have encounter who are adopting heretical beliefs as a result of their misinterpretations of this research. Let’s emphasize something from the start. The scientific community that refer to the research revolving around so-called Y-chromosome Adam and mtEve are NOT referring to the “persons” of Adam and Eve. In other words, Bible Eve =/= mtEve. They are referring to the earliest genetically common ancestors of us; people created in the image and likeness of God.
What are some of the theological and exegetical problems arising from this research? The following are a few examples:
1. The very significant difference in the historical time ranges between the existence of Y-Adam and mtEve can make it seem as though the biblical Adam and Eve came from two different lineages.2. As a result of #1 above, the interpretation that Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib is merely symbolic, likely of a covenantal marriage.3. The erroneous interpretations of the research promote the belief that biblical Adam and Eve were not two particular persons, but likely representative of a small group of people located in a particular region of the world.4. It could be believed that Adam and Eve were real persons, but existed at different times and never even met each other.
Unfortunately, many well-intentioned people, perhaps subconsciously, believe when a seeming conflict arises between that which contemporary science teaches and what the Church/Bible teaches, science trumps theology. This is particularly relevant when we try to understand the Genesis account of the origins/creation of man, i.e., Adam and Eve. As a consequence of this seeming contradiction, the armchair theologians will engage in intellectual/exegetical gymnastics in an effort to “make” interpretation of the Bible “fit” the science. This three-part blog about Adam, Eve, and science was written to show this effort is unnecessary, as long as we don’t place artificial and finite limits on the capabilities of an all-powerful and infinite God. At this time, let's talk a little bit about polygenism.
According to Dr. Ludwig Ott, polygenism could lead to heresy relative to two dogmas of the Church. Regarding polygenism versus monogenism, Ott writes, “the various races are derived from several separated stems (polygenism), the Church teaches that the first [rational, i.e., created in the image and likeness of God -- SML] human beings, Adam and Eve, are the progenitors of the entire [rational] human race (monogenism). The teaching of the unity of the [rational] human race is not a dogma, but it is a necessary pre-supposition [emphasis SML] of the dogma of Original sin and Redemption…The encyclical “Humani Generis”, promulgated by Pius XII (1950), rejects polygenism on account of its incompatibility with the revealed doctrine of original sin. (D 3028).”
Potentially, there are many more problems, but these are enough to demonstrate the bad fruit that can result from incorrect extrapolations of the research. This could further degrade the trustworthiness of Scripture for both believers and non-believers alike. The following link is just one example of a multitude of online sources who, by falling for the Out-of-Africa interpretation of studies, are filling the heads of Christians with reasons to believe the Bible is in error, is unscientific, is teaching falsehoods.
From the papal encyclical, Humani Generis, we read:
When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion [emphasis mine] which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true [rational] men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own [cf. Rom. 5:12-19; Conc. Trid., sess, 5, can. 1-4]. (#37)
The following, I believe, is how seriously Pope Pius XII intended the first two sentences of #37 of Humani Generis to be taken. He writes, “Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority …. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians” (Humani Generis, n. 20). In other words, the “question open to discussion” in #20 is the “conjectural opinion [polygenism as defined in #37] ... the faithful cannot embrace.”
Let’s examine polygenism from the standpoint of Scripture. We read,
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned …. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass [not several trespasses, as would be the case if polygenism was correct-SML] was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:11, 19), [and] “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22).
As Msgr. Charles Pope tells us, “Scripture also affirms our connection to the one man, Adam when it records that God sent one, Jesus Christ, as the New Adam. This sets up a parallelism: One Adam, One New Adam. God did not send a committee, or a squadron to save us which would be the parallel for polygenism and/or group sin.” His article can be read here. This parallelism (comparing and contrasting an individual person and act) would fail, and St. Paul would be misleading us (given his choice of wording) by comparing and contrasting an individual person performing a singular act on one side, with groups engaging in multiple acts on the other.
This same individual parallelism is used to compare and contrast the person of Eve with the person of Jesus’ mother, Mary. In The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), it is written, “Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, ‘The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.’ Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her ‘the Mother of the living,’ and still more often they say: ‘death through Eve, life through Mary’” (Lumen Gentium n. 56). Describing Mary as the Mother of the living is significant. It is a parallel to how Adam described his individual "helpmate", Eve, in Gen. 3:20.
Right now you may be thinking: oh great! Since science is always right, Christians who believe Adam and Eve are the first and only parents of all man created in the image and likeness of God are going to look like idiots. My response: not to worry. Read on. There is much more that can be said in this matter of polygenism, but I will save that for a different article.
Why Does This Research Leads to Faulty Interpretations
According to Professor John Ioannidis, the majority, or even vast majority, of all modern published research contains false findings. Unfortunately, false findings lead to incorrect conclusions that can radically affect our beliefs and actions. Two of the big reasons, cited by Ioannidis, for these research errors is research bias and/or poor research design. False assumptions would fit into the latter category. This lack of reliability is true of even the gold standard of research, i.e., peer reviewed studies. The reliability problems with peer-review can be seen here, here, and here.
Below is an article that demonstrates the necessity of scientific organizations such as PSI. Principia Scientific International (PSI) is legally registered in the UK as a company incorporated for charitable purposes. It is a ‘Community Interest Company’ [similar to a 501(c)(3) in the U.S.] overseen and regulated by the UK Government’s Companies House. According to their website, they:
Serve the public interest in providing educational resources freely in the fields of scientific inquiry. Principia Scientific International CIC is about transparency and truth; the only publishing international science association shunning political advocacy and defending the traditional scientific method.
PSI’s review process, i.e., ‘PROM’ (short for: ‘peer-review in open media’) works by PSI inviting and engaging independent third party input in the peer-review process.
One Biomedical Scientist wrote:
Biomedical research papers are being published in which the abstract, the discussion section, and even the title contradict the content within the paper.This is unlikely to be happening because the authors don’t understand their own data. It’s more likely that the authors are being pressured by their financial backers and the editorial staff of journals to reach conclusions that advance the prevailing narrative.It’s a well thought out deception that uses seemingly intellectual analysis to lead the undiscerning reader into believing the wrong conclusion. Skewing statistics is easy to accomplish simply by using the wrong statistical test, using a weak test when a stronger one should apply, or just about any other trick to misrepresent the data.Medical journals have become financially dependent on their advertisers, which are almost exclusively the big pharmaceutical companies. With enough money, they can buy a scientific study that says what they want it to say.Sometimes these studies are “ghost” written by people working for industry with credentialed unscrupulous scientists and doctors names misattributed as authors when in fact they did none of the writing.The pharmaceutical industry uses its profits to control biomedical science at every level, from researchers to journal editors, to government regulatory agencies, and to the media who are supposed to interpret science for the public.[15A]
In the U.S. alone, Big Pharma contributed to the 2020 camapaigns of: 1) around 2,400 state lawmakers; 2) 72 members of the U.S Senate, and; 3) 302 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In aggregate, 66% of the U.S. Congress received contributions from Big Pharma.[15B]
Let’s look at the crisis of irreproducibility in science:Pressure is being placed on independent researchers by the journal editors and peer reviewers, many of whom have ties to Big Pharma. Valid studies, honestly reported, can be rejected for publication if they convey a message that threatens corporate profits. Many scientific authors know how difficult it is to get a paper through peer review at most “reputable” medical journals when the results are not in line with the official narrative.Many biomedical scientists have become shills for the pharmaceutical companies. Rigging clinical trials the old-fashioned way is expensive, time-consuming, uncertain, and recent legislation makes it more difficult. Sometimes the truth emerges even if a study is designed to hide it. Even a study that is designed to fail might succeed when the inconvenient truths are stubborn enough.It’s easier to report the actual results and then tack on an abstract and a discussion section that convey the right message, regardless of the data in the main body of the article. This can then be used in the “citation bluff” fraud, that depends on people not carefully reading supposed supportive evidence, to perpetuate the false narrative.Often the cited evidence in support of a particular narrative doesn’t really support the narrative being advanced. In fact, the supposed supportive evidence can sometimes even completely contradict the narrative being pushed.This is something to bear in mind the next time you get into an argument with someone demanding to see peer-reviewed evidence and rejecting any evidence that has not been peer-reviewed regardless of its merits.Journals and the peer-review process have been corrupted by powerful vested interests.[15C]
It has been an open secret for some time that there is a crisis of irreproducibility of scientific studies in medicine and other fields. No less a figure than the [former] Director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, wrote that, “the checks and balances that once ensured scientific fidelity have been hobbled. This has compromised the ability of today’s researchers to reproduce others’ findings.” For example, the National Association of Scholars reports, “In 2012 the biotechnology firm Amgen tried to reproduce 53 ‘landmark’ studies in hematology and oncology, but could only replicate 6 (11%).”[15D] In 2015 an article was published in Science in which there was an attempt to replicate 100 studies from three well-known psychology journals [emphasis SML] in 2008.[15E] In the original studies, nearly all had produced statistically significant results, whereas in the study replications, only a little over a third produced similar significant results.[15F]
Another problem with the research design is the a priori exclusion of any model that deals with the Scripture account of Adam and Eve's creation (see “Scientism” in the next paragraph). In the words of Dr. Robert Carter (Ph.D. in Marine Biology): “I believe it is entirely unfair to exclude the creation model without ever considering what the implications of the model would be (in scientific terms, they failed to propose a null hypothesis that could be ruled out by the evidence)”[15G].
Scientism, is the belief that all truth about the material world comes through scientific research and discovery … and only through material science. They believe religion has no part in determining the truth. Many (if not the vast majority) of the adherents of scientism are atheists or agnostics. If there is a conflict between scientific theory and Scripture, they believe Scripture is, de facto wrong. In a sense, their intellect has become self-imprisoned within a box labeled, “Big Bang and By-Products Only: God NOT Allowed.” This self-imposed intellectual imprisonment does not allow them to even consider God’s intervention into, and supremacy over, all that exists.
Let me emphasize something before going any further. I am not trying to make the case that their research is wrong. In fact, I would say that, most likely, it is probably fairly (but not absolutely) reliable. What I am saying, however, is that the theological extrapolations being derived from the research in question (by researchers, believers, and unbelievers alike) are just plain wrong. It was Albert Einstein who said, “Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.” I would add to that meaning by substituting the word “religion,” with the word “Scripture”.
One of the assumptions researchers made in designing their research model is this: all mtDNA in their studies came from the maternal side of the offspring’s parents. They completely ignored the Genesis account of Adam and Eve’s creation. Because of that, they produced conclusions that can — and do — lead to problematic theology. Adam and Eve did not have parents in the traditional sense (further explanation to follow). Furthermore, their assumption about where all rational modern human mtDNA came from is also wrong. From a theological standpoint and as a result of research bias, they may well have pinpointed the common ancestor for the pre-existing genetic material from which God instantaneously formed Adam, but they missed the boat concerning Eve. Eve did not have an earthly mother.
The Creation of Adam and Eve
We have shown, using Scripture, that God tells us he can make organic living matter out of stone / dust. We mentioned that Jesus, Himself, was tempted by Satan to turn stone (which are merely larger sizes of dust) into bread — into organic matter. Otherwise, why would Satan bother to tempt him thusly? We know Jesus had the power to do this. And yet, when it comes to the story of Adam’s creation from dust and Eve’s creation from his rib, we can’t bring ourselves to believe that the Son of God could / would literally do this (remember that all of creation was made through the Son). We find it hard to believe that God is speaking literally when he describes Adam and Eve’s creation. That doubt is probably present because we think there is no concrete example of him doing so. Oh, but there is.
In John 2:6-11 we read, “Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.’ So they took it. … [The steward said] ‘Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.’” Almost everyone misses a very important fact contained in these words. What Jesus did in his very first public miracle, was to turn water, which has zero organic matter, i.e., DNA, into organic matter (wine) which does contain DNA. He accomplished it instantaneously. He did not do this from pre-existing grapes that had evolved over many generations of grapes. He created that particular DNA from nothing, ex nihilo. Not only did he create the grapes ex nihilo, he created them with a very specific genome (a genome that had not existed before — no two genomes are exactly the same); a very specific set of genes within the nucleus of the grape cells; a set of genes that produced “good wine.”
Now, if you’re thinking that the water might have contained a few grape cells, that assumption would be inconsistent with Jewish law. Leviticus 11:36 tells us, “Only a spring or a cistern holding water shall be ritually clean.” So water used for ritual purification had to be ritually, and literally, clean. Furthermore, remember the six stone jars. This, too, was an important part of the ritual purification jars at Cana. For “only a stone water container is 'clean' and doesn’t become ritually impure if it comes in contact with death (for example if a mouse is found dead in it). [http://www.landofisraeltours.com/cana-water-jar/]” If it so happened that the water and/or any water container, other than a stone container, became unclean, then not only the water, but the priest who used it would become ritually unclean — a very big deal in Jewish Law.
Now, if a piece of the stone jar were to fall into the water, it would still be considered as ritually clean water. Remember, Scripture tells us that God could command stones to become children of God (Mt 3:9), dust into gnats (Ex 8:16-17), or stones into bread (Lk 4:3). God could have effortlessly turned dust into Adam and/or Eve. Scripture contains no lies. However, it was vital that Eve would be taken from out of the man, Adam.
These examples provide us with a small glimpse into why the deeper understanding of salt and dust in Scripture is so important. The Miracle at the wedding at Cana is Jesus (at the beginning of his mission, and through Mary’s intercession) revealing the entire purpose of his mission, as well as revealing to us what the consequences would be at the completion of that mission. Links to the three-part blog about the deeper meaning of the wedding at Cana can be found here. The incarnate Son of God is made from dust (stone) of the earth (Mary’s DNA). Jesus is the cornerstone of the New Covenant Temple (His resurrected and glorified body of dust / stone). Furthermore, through Baptism we become living stones built into that spiritual house … the only house where God dwelled and where, throughout biblical history, priests (both common — in the New Covenant — and ministerial) perform their duties (1 Pt. 2:4-5).
There were six stone containers — the number representing man in general, and Jesus, in particular. As St. Augustine tells us,
And not without reason is the number six understood to be put for a year in the building up of the body of the Lord [within the womb], as a figure of which He said that He would raise up in three days the temple destroyed by the Jews. For they said, “Forty and six years was this temple in building [Jn. 2:19-21].” And six times forty-six makes two hundred and seventy-six. And this number of days completes nine months and six days…in that number of sixes the body of the Lord was perfected; which being destroyed by the suffering of death, He raised again on the third day. For “He spake this of the temple of His body,” as is declared by the most clear and solid testimony of the Gospel; where He said, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth [Augustine, On the Trinity, IV, 5, n. 9].
For those who mistakenly believe that Adam and Eve were conceived by hominins and then “married,” think again. Animals don't get married, which means that Adam and Eve were both still in the state of Original Justice. Since we've already ruled out replacing the animal soul with the reception of rational soul. Why? Because God does not, and never will, annihilate anything he created good. The only other possibility is this, both Adam and Eve experienced an immaculate conception of a rational human being from from two animal parents. Hmm! Let's see what St. Maximilian Kolbe has to say about that.
He asked this internal question, “Who are you, O Immaculate Conception?” In response, he wrote:
“Not God, for God has no beginning. Not Adam, made from the dust of the earth. Not Eve, drawn from Adam’s body. Nor is [Mary] the Incarnate Word who already existed from all eternity and who was conceived, but is not really a “conception.” Prior to their conception the children of Eve do not exist, hence they can more properly be called “conceptions”; and yet you, O Mary, differ from them too, because they are conceptions contaminated by original sin, whereas you are the one and only Immaculate Conception [emphasis SML]” [St. Maximillian Kolbe, Scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe, Rome, 1997, #1318].
According to Kolbe, Adam and Eve were not, could not, be conceived immaculately. That was reserved only for Mary. Adam and Eve were made / formed without sin, but not conceived without sin. The spiritual soul is the substantial form of the body. The soul forms the body. In order for the fertilized egg of animal hominins to conceive rational Adam and Eve, the rational soul would have to have been breathed into the egg immediately upon fertilization — upon conception. This would violate the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception (cf. Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, #25). Actually, even this scenario could not occur without the annihilation of the animal nature of the fertilized egg. See Part III for more details, including Aquinas’ thoughts on when and how animals receive their animal souls.
In 1854, the Blessed Virgin Mary proclaimed to St. Bernadette Soubirous: “I am THE [SML] Immaculate Conception.” In the words of St. Maximilian, the Blessed Virgin is the Created Immaculate Conception, as the Holy Spirit is the Uncreated Immaculate Conception. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit [Jonathan Fleischmann, “Who Are You, O Immaculate Conception?” https://saintmaximiliankolbe.com/who-are-you-o-immaculate-conception/].
Let’s talk about Adam’s creation. To begin with, Adam could not have been created ex nihilo (out of nothing) because God tells us that Adam was made from the dust of the earth and to dust he will return. Furthermore, I do not recall anywhere in Scripture where God clearly created a material something from absolutely nothing (ex nihilo) after the “first day” of creation in Genesis. As I see it, there are two main possibilities concerning Adam’s creation, both of which would not contradict Church teaching. At this point, you might find it very helpful to read the page titled, “Is DNA in the Bible?”. The first possibility is this: God took actual dirt, clay, and/or mud from the ground and formed Adam. However, all of us are described as being made from dust of the earth — but we know this is not literalistically correct. After all, we got our dust from our parents — not from the dirt in our parent’s garden. So the literalistic interpretation of Adam’s creation is not, by necessity, the correct interpretation.
The second possibility is the one I believe is most likely. It is this: God took a stem cell or, perhaps, a germ-line cell from some other hominin male donor. With this material, he breathed the Breath of life into this non-differentiated stem cell prior to an animal soul was given it, and it began to grow and multiply as a man created in the image and likeness of God (because of the Breath of life). Because the spiritual soul is the substantial form of the body, the donor cell would begin to divide and differentiate as directed by a rational / spiritual soul — not a sensitive animal soul. Is this too difficult for God to accomplish? Previously, we described how God Himself revealed to us that He has the power to do this. Scripture contains many passages that tell us so. Science can already “grow” one animal from another animal’s cell. We call that cloning. This is not the same thing, but it’s close. Is man more powerful than God?
What does the Church say about this possibility? According to Pope Pius XII:
The Church is not saying this is the way it happened; it is simply saying that the possibility would not be contrary to any Church doctrine, unlike theological polygenism — or modern day theological gymnastic-like attempts to redefine what constitutes monogenism.The Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter — for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that rational human [emphasis SML] souls are immediately created by God.
As a consequence of this latter creation method, the mitochondrial DNA of early ancestors would be present in Adam’s cells because the donor’s cell would have contained it. It is important to note that, under this scenario, Adam would not have had any parents, either animal or rational. A donor of genetic material would not, in any sense of the word, be considered a parent of the recipient. There is no conjugal act — there is no begetting. It is Church teaching that Jesus is the prototype of all rational humans; it is not the reverse of that. Adam is not the prototype of Jesus. Would God the Father allow his Son to become incarnate from the ancestral line of two purely animal ancestors? Think about how utterly ridiculous that sounds.
Now let’s turn to Eve’s creation. I have long maintained that the scriptural description of Eve’s creation is both literally and historically accurate, i.e., she was taken and formed from the stem cells contained in Adam’s rib. I make, what I believe to be, a compelling case for this belief in: 1) the first half of Part I of this blog using Scripture; 2) an article about the creation of Eve from a scientific viewpoint here. If my hypothesis is correct, then Eve would have gotten her mitochondrial DNA directly from Adam, who would have gotten his mtDNA from so-called “mtEve,” (not the biblical person Eve) who is purported to be our common ancestor as identified by Cann et al. Because Eve’s creation would not have been from a fertilized egg, Adam's mtDNA would not have been destroyed by the woman's egg enzymes. A further advantage to this understanding of creation is this: there is no necessity for a dependent correlation between the timing of the existence of the two historical persons of Adam and of Eve on the one hand, and the historical timing of the existence of mtEve and Y-Adam on the other. Put another way, the Bible and science would not be in conflict if Adam and Eve (and, therefore, rational man) were created 100; 1,000; 50,000; or 200,000 years ago.
As far as I am able to reason, my hypothesis, as described above, is the only one that does not contradict the research conducted by Cann et al. while, at the same time, does not lead to a heretical or theologically problematic interpretation of Scripture. Thus, science, when properly interpreted, actually helps to prove that Scripture is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Part III of this blog proves that all attempts to claim that Adam & Eve were born, not made, are false and contain at least two heresies.
Part I of this blog can be read here.
Part III can be found here.
Too see a list of all blogs and website Pages with descriptions and links, go here: https://www.stossbooks.com/index.php.
. Dorothy R. Haskett, “‘Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution’ (1987), by Rebecca Louise Cann, Mark Stoneking, and Allan Charles Wilson,” (The Embryo Project Encyclopedia, Arizona Board of Regents, 2014), https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/mitochondrial-dna-and-human-evolution-1987-rebecca-louise-cann-mark-stoneking-and-allan. October 10, 2014.
Cited by Haskett: Pakendorf, Brigitte and Mark Stoneking. “Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution” Annual Review Genome Human Genetics 6 (2005): 165–83.
. Natalie Andrews, “What is an Organelle in a Cell?,” Sciencing, https://sciencing.com/organelle-cell-8733502.html, April 24, 2017.
[3-a] Biology Dictionary editors, https://biologydictionary.net/phospholipid/.
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