Re: Redheads descended from Neanderthals?

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 17:14:59 EST

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    Wally wrote: "I would agree that there is nothing unchristian about it.
    But what does add? If we accept evolution (which I do), then we are
    descended probably from worms and all sorts of things. Being desended
    from something and being "man" in the eyes of God seem to me to be quite
    different matters. We know there is a long train of evolutuion. Are we
    attempting to reason our way through this by using science only and
    ignoring any input from what many believe to be the "Word of God"?
    Somewhere along the way we acquired a soul or didn't we?"

    OK, I thought the idea itself looked "unchristian" to you. To answer your
    last question, we need to understand what a "soul" is -- or if it even
    exists. To say it exists implies dualism, so let's start there, since I
    suspect you are a dualist (I am on the fence on that issue, myself).

    1. You assert you "have" a soul. Or "are" a soul, in a body. Either way.
    2. At some point in your ancestry an entity which had no soul gave birth
    to an entity with a soul.

    If that's your position, and it is the position of some, I see it as
    having problems. But it could be. That means "God" (otherwise undefined
    here) created a soul in some living (probably just born) entity at some
    time in the past. Could be.

    Now comes the hard question. At what point is the soul created (or
    infused) in a developing fetus? And how does one defend whatever answer
    is given here? If "the moment of conception" is chosen, what particular
    moment in the conception process, which takes, as I understand, about an

    I think you see where I'm going on this one -- and I'll leave the
    soul-creation-in-a-fetus question as tangential and return to the
    Neandertal issue. Perhaps, just perhaps, the creation of
    humans-in-the-image-of-God did not take place as an event -- but as a
    process. If one allows that it may be a process, rather than an
    event-at-a-moment-of-time, then that process may well have started prior
    to both Neandertal and Homo-sapiens -- perhaps as early as home erectus.
    Perhaps even earlier than that. Teilhard tried to unpack this idea -- he
    even attributed some sort of intelligence/"soulishness" to elementary
    particles -- an idea expanded upon by Whitehead and others. If one can
    only see the universe as "particles hitting other particles," then all
    the above makes no sense, of course. Quantum mechanics, of course,
    suggests that such a view is very naive. Whitehead's "occasions of
    experience," each occasion "prehending" past occasions, although
    difficult to understand, begins to help explain all this.

    Sorry for the long answer -- I don't pretend to be any kind of an expert
    on all this -- I do study a lot about it. It fits my educational training
    (physics) rather well -- I have no idea how it is viewed by other
    scientific disciplines.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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