Life is a gift outside and beyond anything of man's own making; because of that, humanity has always felt a need for allegiance to the unknown source. (we call that Religion). Many names have been given to that source, in Western Judo-Christian cultures we commonly use 'God'. Our sacred book is the Bible, considered to be inspired by God . . . inspired by God, but delivered through the thought processes of man.
In the Bible there are stories, and there are directives (as well as history and poetry). The stories tell essential truths cloaked in narratives appropriate to the time and culture of its origin. In these stories--or myths--complex concepts are introduced in ways that can reach the understanding level of those addressed--as in the creation story.
The directives are unvarnished statements believed to be the direct word of God such as Deuteronomy 30, 'I set before you life and death . . . choose life'; or the Ten Commandments--what is said is meant. The directives are not negotiable whereas the stories are interpreted and undergo changes in meaning as knowledge and understanding evolves. Literalists fail to differentiate and assign the same value to everything insisting upon a yes or no answer to the Bible's overall veracity.
Just as mankind has a need to honor life's source, so too mankind has a need to seek knowledge to understand the world (we call it Science). Slowly we accumulate knowledge and periodically new discoveries call upon us to readjust our thinking. Our earliest understanding of our world was of a flat earth surrounded by oceans--mariners feared sailing too far and falling over the edge. Above were the heavens in which the sun, moon, and stars revolved around us--our earth--and God from his heavenly vantage point watched man's every move--yes we were that important! When Coperinicus' calculations indicated our most basic premise about earth and celestial bodies was incorrect and Galileo with his telescope confirmed that the earth was not the center of the universe but rather one of the many planets that moved in orbits around the sun, many found that fact intolerable and Galileo almost lost his life for making the claim--yet with time, thinking was readjusted to accommodate the truth.
All philosophy, metaphysics and science up to the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries were ignorant of humanity being the product of evolution. Until Darwin's discovery it was taken for granted by Religion that man was 'created apart', an instantaneous spontaneous creation of God. As science grew in prominence, doubt of God's reality crept in, then increased. God couldn't be seen, touched nor measured! Science and Religion parted ways. The theory of evolution seemed to complete the sundering between Science and Religion that had begun with the Enlightenment. Darwin's theory appears to turn the human being into 'just one more' random creature among the multitude of beings populating the earth . . . thus we seem to have moved from all-important (via Religion) to of-no- importance (via Science). Something is amiss there! The human alone thinks, reasons, and reflects upon being--it is of another order.
Today there is a need once again to readjust our thinking. A fundamental change is called for to reunite Science and Religion. What is humanity's place in all that is? Evolution is the central governing principle of all that is--and if we study it carefully we can see in it a pattern and direction toward ever greater complexity, finally yielding a being with reflective awareness who knows and knows he knows, who can shape the future. There is room for God.
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