Seminary/School of Divinity
Date of Paper/Work
Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.)
Type of Paper/Work
Philip Rolnick Ph.D., John Martens Ph.D., Rev. Brian Zuelke O.P.
As the scientific world grows in its knowledge of evolution, the theological teachings about human origins are being questioned, including the fall and original sin. This study will explore several alternative theories for the origins of humanity and original sin, both monogenetic and polygenetic. The investigation includes topics such as the historicity of Adam, original sin, and evolution and begins by exploring the Catholic tradition of original sin with developments by Augustine, Aquinas, and Pius XII. This study then explores works by protestant scholars such as John McIntyre, John Bimson, John C. Collins, and others who have written journal articles on these topics. Additionally, more comprehensive theories come from monographs on Adam, original sin, and evolution from Daryl Domning, Patricia Williams, and Karl Rahner. Theories will be presented and then assessed by how well they adhere to the traditional Catholic understanding of original sin, especially the historicity of the original sin and its transmission through propagation. Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. provides what this author believes to be the most plausible explanation for how to reconcile the Catholic doctrine of original sin with the science of human origins. He demonstrates the plausibility of a connection between what is known about human origins from science and what is known about human origins from revelation. His theory exhibits the least amount of conflict with the traditional Catholic understanding of original sin while still maintaining the best scientific data available.
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Schumacher, Mark, "The Theology of Original Sin and the Science of Human Origins" (2021). School of Divinity Master’s Theses and Projects. 36.
Catholic Studies Commons, Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion Commons