Re: Evolutionary mechanism GOOD??

john zimmer (
Wed, 06 Jan 1999 17:35:47 -0600

First comment.
>> Reply:
>> Pain is a natural response - biologically designed to help
>> an animal avoid what needs to be avoided. Is the animal aware that
>> there is a function to pain or rather that pain functions?
>> Same with genetics, is our body aware of the function of genetics
>> or that genetics functions? Perhaps God made a functional universe.
>> Surely, we, who are not so functional, can look at the universe
>> and see the hand of God in the beauty and remarkable coincidences
>> that the universe (and the evolutionary record) afford. But then,
>> who are we to step away from the function of pain and the function
>> of genetics and say Oh, that's mean and nasty? From Jesus,
>> we learn to embrace suffering. And ironically, from that embrace
>> we find life. In a weird sort of way, suffering functions.
Second comment:
>Yes it's true that pain has a function (though there is plenty of pain
>and suffering without an obvious necessity). But surely the Christian
>hope is not just that we embrace suffering and learn to live with it?
>Sure sometimes this is necessary in this life, but we have hope for a
>life to come where "every tear will be wiped away". Paul suggests
>that the only reason Christians should not be regarded as fools for
>putting up with the persecution and suffering of this life, is that we
>have a hope of resurrection.
>Your answer seems to be saying that the pain and suffering of this
>life is exactly how things were meant to be. Where then can we see
>the fallen nature of this world?
Current reply:
An animal senses pain and suffers. That is nature - as is - not
elevated or fallen. An animal doesn't know the function of pain or
the function of suffering. We, however, seem to think we know
those functions - our explanations vary from myth to empirical
studies. From this, logic would dictate that what we regard as the
the fallen nature of the world comes from us. At least it colors
our viewing. And St. Paul was great at articulating those colors.

So what happens when we suffer? Like an animal, we sense pain and
suffer. Unlike an animal, we wonder about the function of the
suffering. Our sensation and our perception no longer overlap,
as it does with the animal. So we have a double view of the
suffering. (And gasp, even more strange, our own wondering may
inspire the sensation.) That, I guess, is what I meant by God
making a functional universe that is viewed from less than
functional us.

And for the phrase - suffering functions. Have you ever tried to
not worry or wonder about the function of your suffering?
In a way it sounds like Bhudda, but maybe suffering is not an
illusion but the wondering about may be. Jesus suffered in
a way so different than the whining and gnashing of teeth I
see in my little atheist workplace. Jesus did not seem to
wonder about the function of his suffering. I suspect that the
standard 'how can God create a world where ... and call it
good?' is a rhetorical way to avoid the emptiness of not
wondering. I also suspect, that in that apparent emptiness is the
solace of the divine - the "every tear wiped away" - the