Book Of Genesis, Historical or Myth?

Modernist Biblical Scholars either Catholic or Protestant, propagate their belief that the Genesis account of creation are consciously planned narratives taken from ancient Mesopotamian creation narratives. The New Jerome Bible Handbook is guilty of this liberalistic interpretation of the Genesis account.

In Mesopotamian culture, the model for most of the stories in Genesis 1-11, scribes explored beginnings through stories, not through abstract reasoning. . . The biblical writers have produced a version of a common Mesopotamian story of the origins of the populated world. The New Jerome Bible Handbook, page 16

Not contented in endorsing their liberal views, they now turn their attention to the traditional view of Genesis and criticized it. Some readers even end up concentrating on defending a “literal interpretation” of chapters 1-3, in particular, against modern evolutionary theory, something that the ancient authors of Genesis, with their tolerance of different versions, would never have done. Ibid.

Although it is not a dogma of the Catholic Faith that Genesis is either a myth or historical, yet we are obliged to accept with religious assent that the Genesis account on creation is historical narrative in the literal sense. Rejection of this truth will lead to;

1.) Polygenism, the belief that the human race did not originate from Adam and Eve through natural generation but from a certain number of first parents.

2.) Reject the traditional belief that Adam and Eve are the progenitor of the human race, and

3.) Rejection of original sin. Through the ordinary magisterium the Church against these errors affirmed that we must hold a literal historical view on the Genesis account of creation. Pope St. Pius X in his Motu Proprio Praestantia Scripturae, tells us without exception to submit to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, whether issued or to be issued. And warns everyone not to disobey the said decisions nor can anyone who by word or by writing attacks the said decrees.

We now declare and expressly enjoin that all without exception are bound by an obligation of conscience to submit to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, whether already issued or to be issued hereafter, exactly as to the decrees of the Sacred Congregations which are no matters of doctrine and approved by the Pope; nor can anyone who by word or writing attacks the said decrees avoid the note both of disobedience and rashness or be therefore without grave fault.Praestantia Scripturae, Pope St.Pius X

The summary of the decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission are the following,

1. The first three chapters of Genesis contain narratives of real events (rerum vere gestarum narrationes quae scilicet objectivae realiti et historicae veritati respondeant), no myths, no mere allegories or symbols of religious truths, no legends. D 2122

2. In so far as it is a matter of facts, which touch the foundation of the Christian religion (quae christianae religionis fundamenta attingunt), the literal historical sense is to be adhered to. Such facts are, inter alia, the creation of all things by God in the beginning of time, and the special creation of humanity. D 2123

This literal historical view of Genesis is not only limited to the decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, but it was reaffirmed by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Humani Generis. Pius XII reiterated the ancient traditional belief the Church the Adam and Eve are not just a mere symbol of a certain number of people but are truly historical characters.

When, however, there is a 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 which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true 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 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. Humani Generis No.37

Even if it is a unanimous teaching of the Church that Genesis must be taken in a literal historical sense, yet there are even Catholic authors who do not hesitate to criticize the literal sense of the Genesis account. Such is a case when a Catholic apologist refuted Protestant arguments using a liberlistic view of the Sacred Scripture.

Lingid sa kaalaman ng marami wala ng modernong iskolar ng Biblia ang tumatanggap sa Genesis 1-11 bilang isang literal o makasaysayan pangyayari. Dahil dito, naniniwala ang my akda na ang pag-iwas sa makabagong pamamaraan ng pagsusuri ay katumbas na rin ng pagmamaliit o pagtuya sa likas na kakayahan ng mga dalubhasa. Araling Pambiblia Para Sa Mga Dinedebateng Katoliko, footnote no.28, page 27


Unknown the the knowledge of many, there are no more modern biblical scholar that accepts Genesis 1-11 as literal and historical event. Because of this, the author believes that avoiding to utilize the modern method of [Biblical study] is equivalent to degrading the ability of the scholars.

The logical flaw to this kind of reasoning are;

1.) It assumes that all Biblical scholars nowadays no longer accept Genesis 1-11 as a historical event,

2.) It assumes that the collective opinion of Biblical scholar is the final authority in interpreting the Sacred Scripture.

However this is not the case, even if we assume that all Biblical Scholar nowadays no longer accept Genesis as literal historical event, yet it does not invalidate nor change the traditional and orthodox stand of the Church. They can bark all day long but the Church will not change what Sacred Tradition laid down for us. And the collective opinion of Biblical scholar is not above the Magisterium (reread Prestantia Scrpturae) it is subject to the judgment of the Magisterium. We are not oblige to submit to the opinions and findings of the Biblical scholars but we are oblige to submit to the decrees of the Church. We can contradict and criticize scholars but we cannot reject, attack and criticize the decrees of the Magisterium.

Modern day theologians sided with the Church regarding the issue whether Genesis is historical or myth. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Pontifical Biblical Commission was asked the following question:

“May one question the literal historical sense of these chapters [Genesis 1-3] when they deal with facts that touch the fundamental points of Christian religion?. . . The answer was “The literal historical sense may not be questioned.” The accounts of these events in Sacred Scripture are NOT MYTHS or LEGENDS, or MORALIZING FABLES, but HISTORICAL NARRATIVES in the LITERAL SENSE. Faith Seeking Understanding, page 198, Charles Belmonte (my emphasis)

The Catholic Bible Dictionary also clarifies that the decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission regarding the creation account may not be questioned or doubted.

The Pontifical Biblical Commission enumerated nine “narrated facts” in Genesis whose “literal and historical meaning” should not be questioned:

1. The creation of all things by God in the beginning of time;

2. The special creation of man;

3. The formation of the first woman from man;

4. The unity of the human race;

5. The original happiness of our first parents in a state of justice, integrity, and immortality;

6. The divine command laid upon man to prove his obedience;

7. the transgression of that divine command at the instigation of the devil under the form of a serpent;

8. The fall of our first parents from their primitive state of innocence;

9. The promise of a future redeemer.

Catholic Bible Dictionary, page 308, Ed. Dr. Scott Hahn

Therefore, in obedience to the Magisterium of the Church we must reject the opinion that Genesis is a myth, and accept the ancient tradition of the Church that the Genesis account on creation is a historical narrative in the literal sense.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s