I say that, what do you think? Fairy tale? Fable? Myth? This is common way of starting off a fantasy – often times a mystical adventure that didn’t actually happen, but still conveys real truths.
Take Lord of the Rings for example. Author J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote the series specifically to echo Catholicism, never once mentions the name Jesus throughout any of the three books. Tolkien does however split the three Persons of Jesus into the 3 main characters, Frodo (Priest), Gandalf (Prophet), and Aragorn (King). And there are obviously religious tie-ins. Frodo takes the burden of the world and makes the sacrifice, Gandalf dies, is resurrected in a glorified body (not to mention the whole “In 3 days, look east” part), and Aragorn battles evil and temptation to become King. My point in all of this being: Tolkien conveyed a real truth with a “fake” story (in the sense that the characters are fictional) in a way that really hit them home.
Now the Bible is a book that is meant to be understood by every nation and people in every age. It also isn’t meant to be scientifically literate, as I mentioned in my past blog “Science is Cool (And the Creation Museum Isn't)”. It becomes preposterous to expect a book that’s been around for a millennium to use language that would be understood in 2014, when a great deal of the scientific words and terminologies we use today would have been complete gibberish to even Einstein himself. For as much as we know about science and how things work, there’s also infinitely more we do not know. The point is, a word has no meaning if you don’t know what it represents. This is why it didn’t help me in Freshman Chem Lab when my TA told me to put the cuvet into the spectrophotometer.
Now let’s take a moment to look at what’s actually written down in Genesis – and I mean the original writings. The difference between the New Testament and many of the Old Testament writings is historical basis. I mean this in the sense that the New Testament was written by eye-witnesses to events unfolding. Genesis was written about events that would have happened thousands of years prior, which would have been handed down by oral tradition. So, to all those who say oral tradition has no room in the Christianity, and the Bible is all you should go off of, please realize that oral tradition is responsible for that book as well.
Bl. Pope John Paul II had this to say about the story of Adam and Eve:
Following the contemporary philosophy of religion and that of language, it can be said that the language in question is a mythical one. In this case, the term “myth” does not designate a fabulous content, but merely an archaic way of expressing a deeper content.
“…the first eleven chapters of Genesis, although properly speaking not conforming to the historical method used by the best Greek and Latin writers or by competent authors of our time, do nevertheless pertain to history in a true sense, which however must be further studied and determined by exegetes; the same chapters, (the Letter points out), in simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and the chosen people. If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents.”
Finally, an argument often brought up in conjunction with this topic is “If humans weren't created as in the creation story, and maybe even evolved as you are suggesting, when did humans become ‘human’ and receive a soul?”
And the paraphrased answer of the Catholic Church is: