From: Jay Willingham (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Sep 16 2003 - 12:23:08 EDT
I wonder if animals are pure instinct or not.
Certainly they are capable of significant learned behavior, as any animal trainer can attest.
The most radical of animal rights scientists claim the apes should be accorded "personhood". Ok, a bit loony but a recent National Geographic discussion saw a research scientist advance this position
The Bible seems to indicate they are aware of God as all creation waits for the Sons of God to be revealed . Acts 10 seems to indicate they exist in heaven as well.
Perhaps our pride and faith in our own perception separate us from them as well as our intellect.
----- Original Message -----
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 12:02 PM
Subject: Re: Evolution and Salvation
In a message dated 9/16/03 9:25:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
Yes, we do encounter some conceptual difficulty in specifying a hard boundary between not yet human and human along a continuous evolutionary parent/offspring line. At what particular point would the uniquely human qualities of God awareness, moral awareness, and moral responsibility become present at an "adequate" level? Some millions of years ago the creatures present on Earth had no awareness of God (The Sacred), no awareness of the moral difference between right and wrong, no sense of responsibility to do the right and to shun the wrong. Now there are such creatures -- us. Those uniquely human qualities may have been there potentially millions of years ago (to be actualized much later in time), but not yet actually. Furthermore, many persons find it impossible to think of these human qualities as something that could develop "naturally," that is, without some form of divine intervention.
The reason animals don't need moral awareness and responsibility at an 'adequate' level is because their behavior is instinctive as opposed to man's learned behavior with its expanded self consciousness. To the degree animal behavior is instinctive it is governed by God, morals are unnecessary as there is no free will. To the degree behavior is based on learning it requires a moral awareness and responsibility. The technical dimensions and implications of this "hard boundary" are the subject of the first half of - True Religion, the Darwinian Interpretation of Biblical Symbols
However, It seems to me that we encounter a similar difficulty in a phenomenon much closer to our own experience -- our own development from a fetus to an adult. Some years ago, as a fetus, each of us had no awareness of God (The Sacred), no awareness of the moral difference between right and wrong, no sense of responsibility to do the right and to shun the wrong. Now, as adults, we have all of those qualities. Those uniquely human qualities may have been there potentially in our fetal stage (to be actualized later in time), but not yet there actually. Uniquely human capabilities developed within us gradually. Furthermore, it seems that we are comfortable with the idea that we developed these capabilities naturally as part of normal human development (without divine intervention, using the developmental gifts of the created world).
Question: If we are comfortable with this lack of discontinuity in our own gradual and natural developmental history from fetus to adult, why should we be uncomfortable envisioning a similar lack of discontinuity in the history of the species?
Howard Van Till
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