1. Are we required to believe that Adam and Eve were two real historical persons?
Yes. It is a dogma taught by the Council of Trent that original sin resulted from the personal sin of Adam, and, the teaching implies, Eve, when they fell from grace by offending God.
2. Are we required to believe that all human persons who have ever lived and will ever live are their descendants?
Yes. The same Council taught that all human persons, other than Jesus and Mary, have original sin because they are descendants of Adam and Eve. There are no exceptions. Adam and Eve were not two among many human persons. They are not merely the progenitors of everyone alive today, but of “the whole human race”, including Jesus, in his human nature, and Mary.
3. Did animals and plants living before the fall of Adam and Eve die? How can this be, when death entered the world through the sin of Adam?
Science proves that death was part of the earth from the very beginning. So death for the plants and lower animals did not begin with the fall of Adam. My opinion is that, because of the fall of some of the angels, eons ago, not long after the time of the creation of the universe, God decided that the material universe would be in a fallen state. For the angels have always had a role in helping God to govern His Creation. That is why death was found in the earth from the beginning of life on earth.
Then, when Adam and Eve fell from grace, death entered the world, in the sense of the whole human race.
4. How can this be, when science teaches that the human race resulted from evolution, through hominids, and before them, other lower animals?
In my opinion, God guided evolution to create the human body, in the form of the anatomically-modern humans (AMH), which had bodies like ours today, but without the ability to reason abstractly. Evolution was unable to evolve free will, the ability to reason abstractly, or an immortal soul.
God then created Adam and Eve, miraculously, but patterned after the AMH. When the human race was created, with Adam and Eve, they were in an unfallen state, so they were placed by God in an unfallen place, the Garden of Eden. Then, when they fell from grace, they were place on this fallen earth. Adam and Eve were the first behaviorally-modern humans (BMH). From them descended the whole human race.
5. Where is the Garden of Eden?
It is a discontinuous place, like Purgatory or the Limbo of the Fathers. It is not in this universe, but it is kept separate by God. The Garden of Eden was never a place on earth.
6. How could Adam and Eve and the other persons described as their recent descendants have lived such long lives, hundreds of years, as the Bible states?
In my opinion, the lengths of their lifetimes is figurative, not literal. They lived a normal lifespan.
7. How could Adam and Eve have existed only 5,000 or so years before the present, when science tells us that the human race (BMH) has existed for between 50 and 80 thousand years?
Since the lifespans of persons in Genesis chapters 1 – 11 are figurative, we cannot place Adam and Eve any particular number of years in the past. Science tells us that the BMH began about 50 to 80 thousand years ago, so that would be the time when Adam and Eve were placed on this earth.
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