Re: Behe on Kansas in Today's NYT

George Murphy (
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 10:44:34 -0400

Moorad Alexanian wrote:
> Dear George,
> Can you elaborate on part c) of your comment? I do not follow you.

> > c. Though the _theological_ idea of recapitulation in the Incarnation,
> which
> >goes back to Irenaeus & the Gospel of Matthew does not dependent on any
> kind of
> >embryological recapitulation. But the latter provides a very nice
> illustration _&
> >extension to prehuman life_ of the former, as C.S. Lewis realized in
> _Miracles_.

Irenaeus' idea was that Christ recapitulated the stages of individual human life
to sanctify each. In Matthew the idea isn't as explicit but seems more wider-ranging,
with Christ recapping the history of Israel. The temptation narrative in Ch.4 is
perhaps the clearest example, with God's Son redoing, but this time doing right, the
tests which Israel as God's "firstborn son" (Ex.4:22) failed. Perhaps the Marcan
temptation narrative carries it even further back to Adam in the garden (note the
"beasts" in Mk.1).
Now in a sense evolution means that each one of us carries our prehuman ancestry
& our relationships with other species with us - perhaps in some ways in our
embryological development, certainly in molecular makeup and anatomical homologies, as
well as a more abstract common history. & since Christ is fully human as well as fully
divine, those relationships have been assumed by God in the Incarnation.
What Lewis says is:
He comes down; down from the heights of absolute beinginto time and space, down
into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate
in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and
sea-bed of the Nature He had created. But He goes down to come up again and
bring the whole ruined world with him."
(_Miracles_, Macmillan, 1947, pp.115-116. I've corrected an apparent typo.)


> >George L. Murphy
> >
> >
> >

George L. Murphy