EXCERPTS FROM EVOLVING OUT OF EDEN “Sin” or Biology? - TopicsExpress


EXCERPTS FROM EVOLVING OUT OF EDEN “Sin” or Biology? Jesus said the “meek” inherit the earth, but we haven’t inherited much from them genetically. Rather, it is the “disproportionate replicators” who left their mark on us, our forebears whose drive and passion got their DNA immortalized into children who would, with enough luck as well as drive and passion of their own, continue down the line. You won’t find many celibate shrinking violets in your ancestry. You are here because you had ancestors who did what it took to survive and reproduce in a harsh world. What you inherited from them is not some taint of sin, but the very traits that allowed them to produce you. We are the genetic success stories of our ancestors’ behavior as well as their bodies. We all lapse into angry outbursts from time to time. This rash tendency is entirely to be expected, says Kolts. Our threat “system has evolved so that it is activated rapidly, because defences that come on too slowly may be too late” (2011, 8). We have been prey more than predators, even for most of human evolutionary prehistory, and there isn’t much time to react when the tiger is about to pounce. Kolts wants us to understand that having a rapid-response amygdala for threat response “is not our fault; it is simply the way our brains work.” Collins objects that the biological interpretation “tends to reduce evil merely to our acting on biological impulses, ignoring the particularly serious forms of evil that are made possible by our own self-awareness and transcendence—evils such as idolatry of self, viewing other people as mere objects, and the like.” But these traits and deeds are rooted in our survival instincts. As the anatomist and Christian Daryl Domning points out, our “sinful” human behaviors exist because they promote the survival and reproduction of those individuals that perform them. And, “there is virtually no known human behavior that we call ‘sin’ that is not also found among nonhuman animals. Even pride, proverbially the deadliest sin of all, is not absent.” Domning’s “unambiguous conclusion” is that animals are “doing things that would be sinful if done by morally reflective human beings.” Moreover… “Logical parsimony and the formal methods of inference used in modern studies of biological diversity affirm that these patterns of behavior are displayed in common by humans and other animals because they have been inherited from a common ancestor which also possessed them. In biologists’ jargon, these behaviors are homologous. Needless to say, this common ancestor long predated the first humans and cannot be identified with the biblical Adam.” On the brighter side… We have collectively agreed on certain moral ideas now that we have come to live in large, fixed societies rather than just roaming bands of kin. Aggression and selfishness help the individual or one’s kinship group survive but typically do not promote the flourishing of much larger communities. Many Protestant and Catholic theistic evolutionists believe that at some point a soul appeared in two (or more) of our animal ancestors. One of these, or perhaps their representative, was assigned the name “Adam.” These first ensouled humans were spiritual orphans, apparently. Their parents would have looked and acted much like them, with only a handful of DNA mutations distinguishing them, biologically, but these first ensouled humans would have suckled at the breasts of a soulless mother, and picked up their first lessons on how to behave by observing and interacting with soulless parents and friends. pg.158 Having acquired a “soul” that now needed to be “saved,” what kind of salvation was available to our ancient ancestors who first chipped stones, carved spears, built fires, and later drew pictures of animals on the walls of caves in France? The “oldest known human- made religious structure,” was built about 12,000 years ago, and is decorated with graven images of animals which would much later be prohibited by Exodus 20:4. Besides evidence of animism early human artists carved images of large breasted women. pg.158-159 How might a scientifically savvy Christian bridge the chasm between natural and supernatural conception in the case of Jesus? Did the Holy Spirit employ a set of freshly constructed chromosomes that fused with Mary’s? But divinely produced DNA would need the appearance of having come from an evolved human father. The paternal and maternal chromosomes have to line up. So let’s say the Holy Spirit injected a ready- made Y chromosome into Mary (along with 22 others from falsified meiosis in a non-existent human father), complete with endogenous retroviruses, fossil genes, and other hallmarks of evolution that would be capable of lining up beside Mary’s chromosomes to form a fully complementary set. So the Holy Spirit would have had to add a Y chromosome faked to look like it had been passed down, with occasional mutations, from an endless line of evolutionary descendants. pg.170 The idea that we are descended from “beasts” is one reason why many people have been repelled by evolutionary theory. And the idea that Christ would share that relationship is especially shocking to many Christians. —George L. Murphy, in Perspectives on an Evolving Creation pg.160
Posted on: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:41:15 +0000

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