The 2nd is not strictly a question, but a defense of a recently deleted answer of mine. I will write it next assuming the answer to the 1st question is "yes". If it is "no", please tell me where to write it.

The answer I want to defend is this:

How does the Catholic Church reconcile evolution with original sin

IMV, it is wholly relevant to the original question, which was "How can the doctrine of ancestral sin be justified in view of the Darwinian theory of evolution?"

The question itself has a problem, in that the legitimate concern is about the compatibility of a doctrine with relevant established scientific knowledge, not with any particular theory which may or may not be relevant and may or may not be confirmed by observations. And the established scientific knowledge which is relevant to the doctrine of original sin is the fact, established by extensive DNA sampling and sequencing, that all extant human males on earth are patrilineal descendants of one Most Recent Common Ancestor, usually dubbed y-chromosomal Adam, who lived 250-300 ka ago according to current estimations.

To be blunt, if someone is not aware of this fact, then they should first get a basic understanding of current genetic anthropology before making questions about how a doctrine can be justified.

Having set this straight, then I point out that this relevant established scientific knowledge does not present any challenge whatsoever to the doctrine of original sin, as it is enough to hold that Biblical Adam was either y-chromosomal Adam or a patrilineal ancestor thereof.

IMV, my answer is straight to the point and does not warrant deletion.

  • 4
    Yes, this is the right place to challenge deletion of an answer. As for the rest – I'd encourage you to take a look at Are questions on a Creationist explanation for scientific observation on topic here? It's not an identical case, but it does get at how we approach science on this site. The short version is: show us that the Roman Catholic church argues this way, not just "scientists." Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 18:54
  • Nathaniel, then sure the answer must be kept deleted. The probability that the Magisterium of the RC Church will make a pronouncement on this subject in the near future arguing on the basis of the facts ascertained by genetic anthropology is extremely small. On the other hand, an individual Catholic can adopt a position on a subject without having to wait until Rome makes a pronouncement on it, when the subject in question is so clear as this one. And, moreover, the question was clearly NOT restricted to Magisterial statements on the subject.
    – Johannes
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 19:15
  • In summary, for anyone with a clear grasp of contemporary biology and of the RC doctrine of original sin (which speaks only about Adam) it is clear that said doctrine does not need to "be justified in view of the Darwinian theory of evolution" any more than it needs to be justified in view of the Maxwellian theory of electromagnetic waves. IMV it is a pity that one cannot provide that answer until the Magisterium of the Church makes an official statement on the subject. But if those are the site's rules, that's it.
    – Johannes
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 20:07
  • 1
    "Roman Catholic church," at least in my excessively brief summary, is not meant to be understood as only referring to the magesterium. We answer questions about other traditions without a central authority (like Methodism, Calvinism, etc.) by appealing to prominent theologians from those traditions. The same is possible for Catholicism too in cases where the magesterium is silent – note the many answers about Catholicism quoting just Aquinas (not that he'd be of much use in this case!). Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 20:34
  • Yeah, find someone at least marginally prominent saying the same thing. Check catholic.org and newadvent.com. It's a good answer, but it needs to be sourced.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 6:27

1 Answer 1


You could probably easily make it relevant to Catholicism by adding an addendum saying something to the effect.

Because the premise is incorrect, like Galileo's Heliocentrism, the Catholic Church is wise to not have an official position on this incorrect theory.

One could probably list 900 other gotchas that never amounted to anything which disproved Original Sin only to re-prove it over and over again.

But, in general, the premise defeating answers are less fun to read than the premise confronting answers. There's a lot of questions about whether or not we should follow X law from the OT. Most of the answers are "No because Jesus" which is not exciting.

FWIW, I'm not going to undelete your answer because I have another answer and hence a conflict of interest on the question. But I think it could be worthy of undeletion if you didn't lead with "I'm going to answer this question from a Scientific POV". Religion and Science don't prove or disprove each other (this was my answer). But, again, this is a premise defeating answer, but at least it's a Catholic answer - and not a Scientific answer.

  • "at least it's a Catholic answer - and not a Scientific answer." Exactly this. You have to give the religion answer on this site.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 6:29

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