A story can contain a truth without the need for all circumstantial aspects of the story to be “strictly” historical
In order to develop, in a brief way, the explanation of this previous principle, I will use certain comparisons that I believe can help in the understanding of this complex concept.
a) The Parables of Jesus
And among them, to be able to specify the example, I take one of them: The Father and the two sons (the Prodigal Son)
This account does not have to be “strictly” historical to contain truth. It is, therefore, a story that tells us the relationships of love and forgiveness of a father and two sons, who could be (we could be) any of the people. But there is no doubt that what is really trying to narrate is the great truth of the love and forgiveness of God the Father for all his children.
Jesus takes an example of everyday reality to show us a true, divine reality, that is, he encourages us to see our reality with God’s eyes, with God’s gaze.
b) The Resurrection of Jesus
That we are not able to narrate “exactly” how the Resurrection occurred does not mean that the event is not real and true. The reality and veracity of something does not depend on my being able to understand it. An ant cannot understand the totality of me (physical, psychological, spiritual …) and, nevertheless, I am real.
The fact that the Resurrection transcends the historical fact does not mean that as it is a transcendent event, it ceases to be also historical. We are facing two different planes: our plane, which moves between the coordinates of space and time, and the “plane” of God, which surpasses what we can understand by plane since the coordinates are not limited.
This comparative explanation between Original Sin and the Resurrection, in terms of its historical aspect, could also be done by taking the Miracles or Signs of Jesus, or from the apparent contradiction of being free (ex: the yes of Mary) and may God already know what we will decide.
c) The first chapters of Genesis (Gen 1-11)
Not only the account of original sin, but the entirety of the first 11 chapters of Genesis, tell us some truths from catechetical narratives and, even sometimes, allegorical.
True concepts are explained from the vehicular limitations of those who write and listeners-readers of a more philosophical than scientific age (just the opposite of today).
Two major limitations: 1. It is written many years later; and 2. Those people had a scientific level mostly lower than a child of, for example, 10 years old.
– None of the stories I have cited seeks to have a scientific character. Truths can also be transmitted from philosophical, literary concepts, etc …
– If we were able to “thoroughly” understand everything … we would be God. Our limitations as human beings only allow us approximations, as a “gift” for being children.
We can accept Original Sin as true, as true, and at the same time accept that its real character does not have to assume the strict historicity of its story.
The important thing is not whether Adam and Eve are a couple (monogenism) or several (polygenism), nor is it important whether the rebellion against God’s plan is embodied in a tree and its fruit or it is just a catechetical allegory. The important thing is that Original Sin explains the origin of sin, the tendency we have to sin and, above all, explains the reality of Grace and Redemption as a cause.