What Does the Catholic Church Teach on Creation?

One of the greatest things about being Catholic is that we don’t get to make up our own beliefs. This is why we have compiled this library of writings of the Fathers, Doctors, and Magisterium of the Catholic Church have taught about creation. All the resources listed below are entirely free!

Fathers and Doctors

St. Theophilus of Antioch (183)
To Autolychus
A excerpt from a letter of one of the earliest Church Fathers. This excerpt contains commentary on the first eleven chapters of Genesis, showing what the earliest Christians taught.

St. Irenaeus (130-202)
Against Heresies 
In this work Irenaeus refutes the errors of the Gnostics. Since many of these errors related to creation, this work serves as an excellent witness to what the earliest Christians believed about creation.

St. Ephrem (306-373)
Commentary on Genesis
A commentary on the early chapters of Genesis by the great Syrian doctor of the Church.

St. Basil the Great (330-379)
Homilies on the Hexaemeron
The great Patristic commentary on the six days of creation. St. Basil looks at both the literal and spiritual senses of Genesis 1, witnessing to what the Church teaches on the matter and giving us good moral examples from the creation.

St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-395)
On the Making of Man
Gregory completes the commentary on creation started by his brother Basil by commenting on the creation and purpose of mankind.

St. Ambrose (339-397)
Commentary on Genesis 2-3
Ambrose comments on the creation and fall of man.

St. John Chrysostom (347-407)
Homilies on Genesis
A series of homilies on the opening chapters of Genesis by the greatest homilist in Christian history.

St. Augustine (354-430)
The Confessions
Augustine’s autobiography. Particularly important here is chapters 11-13 where he discusses the opening verses of Genesis at length.
On the Literal Meaning of Genesis
Augustine’s unfinished commentary on the opening chapters of Genesis. While he takes a slightly different approach than other Fathers to the creation, he is still essential to read to see how he is still united with the rest of the Fathers on the essential doctrines of creation.
City of God
Augustine’s magnum opus. Particularly important here are books 11-16 where he comments on Genesis and the importance of it to salvation history.

The Venerable Bede (673-735)
Concerning the Six Ages of the World
A brief discussion of how the six days foreshadow the six ages of salvation history.

St. John of Damascus (675-749)
On the Orthodox Faith
Damascene seeks to set out a comprehensive explanation of the orthodox (right believing) Catholic faith, summarizing what the Fathers taught on various matters. Here in book 2 he discusses creation.

St. Bonaventure (1221-1274)
A catechism written by one of the great theologians in the history of the Church. Part 2 discusses creation and part 3 discusses the fall.

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Summa Theologiae
St. Thomas’s magnum opus. He discusses creation in many questions of the Prima Pars. Questions 44-46 discuss the creation more generally. Questions 65-74 discuss the six days of creation. Questions 90-92 discuss the creation of Adam and Eve. Finally, question 102 discusses the Garden of Eden.


Council of Carthage (419)
Canon 109 condemns the opinion that men died before Adam.

Fourth Lateran Council (1215)
The confession of faith at this ecumenical council teaches that God made all things together at the beginning of time.

Council of Trent (1545-1563)
The fourth session teaches what is in scripture and that scripture is to be interpreted according to the Fathers and the magisterium.
The fifth session teaches original sin.
The profession of faith of Trent reaffirms the above teachings as part of the faith and not merely disciplinary.
The Catechism of Trent teaches that pastors should familiarize themselves with the sacred history of Genesis to teach it to the faithful (pg 42).

Pope Leo XIII
Arcanum Divinae (1880)
This encyclical teaches that origin of marriage is the marriage of Adam and Eve. It reaffirms the perennial teaching on the creation of Adam and Eve as well.
Providentissimus Deus (1893)
This encyclical teaches how to properly interpret scripture and rejects higher criticism.

Pontifical Biblical Commission (1905-present)
The commission has released many decrees defending he historic interpretation and authorship of sacred scripture. While the full set of documents from them is only available in Latin and Italian, the first 50 years are available in English.

Pope Pius XII
Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943)
This encyclical reaffirms Pope Leo XIII’s teachings on holy scripture and calls for the study of the scriptures in their original languages.
Humani Generis (1950)
This encyclical opens a discussion on evolution, but places limits upon it. It also reaffirms that the teaching of the Church that the first eleven chapters of Genesis pertain to true history.

Second Vatican Council
Dei Verbum (1965)
This document teaches how to interpret scripture.

Pope St. John Paul II
Laborem Exercens (1981)
This encyclical teaches the importance of labor to the vocation of man according to Genesis.
Evangelium Vitae (1995)
This encyclical teaches the importance of the opening chapters of Genesis, including the genealogies, for the sanctity of human life.

Pope Francis
Laudato Si’ (2015)
Pope Francis continues the work of Pope St. John Paul II on the importance of Genesis to the social teaching of the Church. This encyclical teaches how man’s sin destroys his relations with God, his neighbor, and creation. Chapter two contains a wonderful exposition on the theology of creation.