>The gap between huamns and our closest relatives is so vast that it amounts
>to a qualitative difference. Of these differences, one of the most
>significant is probably our capacity for self-awareness and
>self-determination. No naturalistic process is able to satisfactorily
>explain the emergence of these capacities, which are prerequisites for moral
>accountability. We are moral beings because we have these capacities, and
>when we misuse them, we fall into sin. The doctrine of Original Sin not only
>requires that we are morally accountable, but also affirms the concept of
>the unity of humankind - that it is through the sin of one that we are all
>fallen. IMHO, to deny the historicity of the one Adam is to make non-sense
>of the doctrine.
Firstly, self-awareness and self-determination are very abstract concepts.
How do you know that no other animal is self-aware? This has been debated
for years, and I don't see any clear objective way of determining it. My
personal view is that at least some higher animals are indeed self-aware.
Secondly, what does moral accountability have to do with the origin of the
physical human form? I can see no reason why our moral and spiritual
nature, or our relationship to God, has any direct connection to the origin
of our physical form. It seems clear to me that the "image of God" is tied
specifically to our covenant relationship to God. We are God's
representatives, God's ambassadors to the rest of Creation. Past and
contemporary evangelical theologians have seen no necessary connection
between the manner in which our physical bodies were created and our being
made in the image of God.
Lastly, evolution also affirms the unity of humankind. People like
Warfield used evolution as a strong argument against polygenism (multiple
human origins) and racism (see the discussion of Warfield in "Darwin's
Forgotten Defenders"). Furthermore, many of those accepting human
evolution, both past and present, also fully accepted the historicity of
Adam. Whether the historicity of Adam is necessary for the doctrine of
original sin is another question, but it can be consistenly held by those
accepting an evolutionary origin for the human physical form.
Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
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