Monogenism, Refuting Racism, Sin of Beastiality (aka why Catholicism can’t say goodbye to me)

Well, I’ve written on my trouble with certain theological positions in the past and I would have to say, that my fight with God isn’t over yet. Although in all honesty, what I have learned from it is something major. I’ve learned empathy for those who don’t who believe in God. We all wrestle with God and I cannot say that it is fair to chastise someone who does not hold the same faith that you do because they are wrestling with him too. We are all wrestling with God. We are all running around trying to figure out what to do. We all have questions that make our heads explode. It’s unfair that you or I should be any different.

To whoever has all the answers to life’s questions, I want to tell you something. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything. Because you don’t exist. To the fundamentalist Christian out there who holds all of the answers about God’s existence – do you really expect a blessing with that kind of attitude? Did not Jacob fight God?

Genesis 32:27-29 – And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Tell me, I pray, your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. (RSV Catholic Edition)

You’re not alone if you are fighting with God right now and you should continue fighting God. You won’t receive a blessing if you can’t fight God. But neither should you feel fear in fighting God. You should feel like it is a calling to fight God. There are many deceptions put up by our arch-enemy, the Devil in our fight with God. I have been an Arian but I realized that it was a heresy. If Jesus wasn’t God, how could theosis and absolute union with God be possible. I have fought with Pelagianism. But then I realized it denied we were sufficient on God. I have ran away from my fight due to things like Calvinism. And almost called it quits. Recently, I was about to lay down my fighting gloves but then I felt like another round. I wanted to give up due to monogenism. But another round I felt called to do. And I’ll probably be fighting him my whole life, denying him, but then returning each time. That’s okay. There are things that will go beyond my understanding but I will continue to put up with him until I receive that prize.

But enough of that. I want to go back to what I was talking about. Monogenism. Monogenism is the Catholic doctrine that we are all descended from one man. Only one man. But this does not mean that this one man cannot be out of many men. The Council of Trent talks about monogenism when it argues the nature of Original Sin and how it entered into the world. It talks about how we received it from the first man, Adam, and it passed into all the rest of us as our own. (BTW, Original Sin is simply the teaching that we are born into a state of privation of grace as a result of Adam’s sin.)

By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. (Council of Trent, 5)

Pope Pius XII also argues for monogenesis in his encyclical, Humani Generis.

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 which maintains that either 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 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.

Well now, this doesn’t make sense or it’s going to be racist in light of our understanding of science is generally first to come to my mind. But is this really so? I would suppose it’s racist if God had the intention of picking one variety of homo sapiens to be humans over all the others but how about we back up to where it all began in the first place. Let’s look at Genesis 1-11 in its entirety and see how humanity came to be according to theology. But wait, Genesis 1-11 has been debunked by modern science? Well now, let’s fight shall we? Let’s not look at it so literally but instead let’s look at it as more of a mythological account of early primordial history. Some parts have been invented to make the tale more exciting. Like adding dragons and wizards into a medieval setting and calling it history.

Creation of the Universe – God Wills it to Exist
We start with Genesis 1. And that’s the controversial stuff. Genesis 1, there’s no way God’s creating in six days. Well not if we think of it that way. Genesis 1 is the Jewish version of the Enuma Elish. It takes from the seven tablets and turns them into days. Then it takes the creation order and mixes it up a bit. Instead of having the world emerge from chaos, the world emerges from order and peace. God wills it and therefore, God claims responsibility for having made it. Finally, God makes man in his image as opposed to Marduk making man his slave. This is quite a different view than what we see in the Enuma Elish. Why would you want to go back to that after hearing this? God saw the entirety of creation in his foreknowledge and allowed it to exist. Then, according to the commentary in the New American Bible

[2:4] This is the story: the distinctive Priestly formula introduces older traditions, belonging to the tradition called Yahwist, and gives them a new setting. In the first part of Genesis, the formula “this is the story” (or a similar phrase) occurs five times (2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10), which corresponds to the five occurrences of the formula in the second part of the book (11:27; 25:12, 19; 36:1[9]; 37:2). Some interpret the formula here as retrospective (“Such is the story”), referring back to chap. 1, but all its other occurrences introduce rather than summarize. It is introductory here; the Priestly source would hardly use the formula to introduce its own material in chap. 1.

Origins of Humans
And we move on to the Garden of Eden narrative. We need to be looking at the Garden of Eden narrative in light of the absence of predetermination. God willed a human race to exist that would be made in his image. He did not predetermine what this would look like. He merely saw it in his foreknowledge and brought it into existence by allowing this foreknowledge to be carried out.

The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God. (Catechism 362)

Of all visible creatures only man is “able to know and love his creator”. He is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”, and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:

What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good. (356)

So God willed it to exist for its own sake and humans are the only ones who are capable of sensing their creator. I don’t agree with them but the Biologos website suggests that Adam and Eve were a couple of neolithic farmers chosen by God. The error is that this assertion would be both falling into the category of racism and Calvinism. Both of which are heresies. But if we instead think about Adam and Eve as having gained reason, we can think of them as neolithic farmers distinct from the others. Thus, Adam and Eve were the first humans in the sense that they had a spiritual knowledge of God. No other homo sapiens had this yet. They were natural beings still. And Adam was isolated in an Eden-like state but then Eve also was isolated and she found Adam in his Garden state and God brought them together. God thus willed the human race as made in his image to exist. In his divine foreknowledge he saw this happening. This is only racism though if you have God predetermining it. We don’t know entirely when this happened, we just know that Adam realized he was different, was lonely, and eventually, Eve, who suffered the same condition, found him and they united. The species don’t show immediate changes so we should not expect to find this happening in the fossil record.

The Origins of Sin – Beastiality and Incest
That recaps the origins of the human race. But we haven’t walked through everything. There was a tree. They had this spiritual knowledge. Now there is a tree of life and a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In this, God gives these first two spiritual homo sapiens (humans) an obedience test. Do they choose to follow God or do they choose to pursue their own selfish goals represented by the tree? If they choose God, they choose the immortal life he has to offer for them. Of course, they chose to rebel against God and because of this, their holiness was lost.

By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”). (Catechism, 416-418)

Again, it is called sin in an analogous sense of the word and it refers to how we are all born as descendants of Adam and Eve with a corrupted sinful nature and into a state of privation of grace. The real error is when we continue in this. God had seen all this in his foreknowledge but it was his plan that man would come into communion with him and so God continued to pursue man even though in his foreknowledge, he knew what they would do. Why was there incest? Incest was not yet sinful at this point since the first humans were supposed to be a finitely perfect species. Remember also that Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister.

Genesis 20:12 – Besides she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. (RSV Catholic Edition)

Thus, to commit incest at this point would have been to keep the human race pure-blood. But because of the effects of Original Sin, some of Adam and Eve’s children went off with some of the non-soulish hominids at the time and committed beastiality. But God did not punish these children for their parents act of beastiality as they were also seen in his foreknowledge as humans who inherited the same corrupt human nature from their parents. This explains at least who Cain’s wife was. But again, don’t read the story so literally.

Remember that the story is primordial history mythologized or mythologized primordial history. When we read about the sacrifices offered to God by Cain and Abel, we don’t take their sacrifices as literally one is presenting crops and the other meat but rather we take it as one is presenting a life sacrifice and the other is just presenting a one-time deal sacrifice. Because the one-time deal sacrifice is considered not enough, Cain of course kills Abel.

So sin passed onto man and man continued in his sin. Note that it was the will of God to have the soulish human race exist and the human nature is being passed down from the one man through all of his descendants. Monogenism and Original Sin make racism impossible because there is no way to dictate what a human is and is not. Original Sin defines the human and monogenism keeps humans under one family.

Genealogies and the Flood
Again, don’t take either genealogies or the flood too literally. What they are there for is to give a mythological story-line to the primordial history. The genealogies make it more of a historical fictional account and the flood describes the event of the non-soulish homo sapiens going extinct.

Genesis 6:2 – When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. (RSV Catholic Edition)

This of course is around the time that you have the Nephilim showing up on Earth.

Genesis 6:4 – The Nephilim appeared on earth in those days, as well as later, after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of human beings, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown. (New American Bible)

The Nephilim are the hybrids of the soulish homo sapiens who are the humans and the non-soulish homo sapiens. They were the result of beastiality but they were not destroyed because they were humans. Tyrannosaurus rex is extinct and velociraptors and woolly mammoths and mastodons as well. The Nephilim were also around after this as well.

Numbers 13:33 – And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim); and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (RSV Catholic Edition)

So the flood story doesn’t have a literal flood. It is simply describing the scenario of how there was the soulish human race represented by the one guy Noah and the Nephilim walking the planet. The flood wiping out all the creatures represents how the non-soulish homo sapiens went extinct. And the earth represents the non-soulish homo sapiens destroyed. Noah was spared in this disaster because he had a soul and was a human. Humans were not destroyed. But the Nephilim don’t make it to the boat because they were the humans in rebellion. Noah thus reflects a free will decision made to stay tuned to God in spite of those around and the flood reflects the vanishing of the non-soulish homo sapiens eventually going extinct. God had willed the human race to exist. God foresaw this happening but allowed time to play out when he created it because he wanted the human race.

The Tower of Babel
The rest of the accounts detail the descendants of this man who sought God amongst the midst of those who were rebelling. They also eventually rebelled due to being descended from Adam and Eve. They formed different religions that kept turning from God and attempting to conform God to their wishes. We see this most prominently in the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel is symbolic of the Babylonian Ziggurats. But God judged the nation of Babylon and broke up the Mesopotamian kingdom into Persia, Babylon and Assyria. Thus, these people spoke different languages. This is ancient history being mythologized. God would also see to it these nations enslave Israel as well.

I am no scientist and this is perhaps one of many explanations. You probably don’t have difficulty with this but if you do have difficulties with monogenism like I do, I hope this at least helped you to remove that stumbling block. This was a subject that kept getting in the way of my search of Catholicism. I don’t expect to fully understand it all but one doubt was just simply not enough to block me out.

About newenglandsun

A student. Male. Passionate. Easily offended. Infant-child at heart. I have the best mum in the whole world though!
This entry was posted in Atheism, Bible, Old Earth Creationism, Old Testament, The Genesis Myth, Theistic Evolutionism. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Monogenism, Refuting Racism, Sin of Beastiality (aka why Catholicism can’t say goodbye to me)

  1. brianniemeier says:

    Intriguing post. I’m partial to your take on the Nephilim.

    The only point I’d take issue with is the implication that ontological monogenism (as opposed to genetic monogenism, which I, too, reject) is in any way racist. In the simplest terms, racism is wrong because it offends against the divine dignity which God inseparably joined to human nature. Since the theoretical proto-humans under discussion lacked the divine image and likeness that are the source of human dignity, it can’t be called racist to favor some of them over others.

    • When I understand monogenism as this as God willing the human race to exist and not actually just singling it out, it’s easier for me to accept without confusing it with some sort of semi-Calvinism or semi-racism. Of course he foresaw all of it because he is outside of time.

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