[asa] Evolution of the Soul

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Mon Sep 25 2006 - 10:54:03 EDT

Given that a majority of people on this discussion list are both scientists and Christians who accept evolution as the vehicle (or mechanism) through which God created the world, there is a question that has returned to me that I would like to ask you now. It comes from reading the work of Nikolai Berdyaev, the Russian religious philosopher who was exiled and lived in Paris after the Russian Revolution(s). Berdyaev writes about ‘the genesis of man in God and God in man.’ It got me wondering how an evolutionary theist, theistic evolutionist (TE) or evolutionary creationist would understand the appearance, emergence or genesis of God in humankind, whether God would appear from within or from outside of the human mind/body and how the connection would (originally) be made.
  Berdyaev writes: “For if there is such a thing as a human longing for God and a response to it, then there also must be a divine longing for man the genesis of God in man; a longing for the love and the freely-loving and, in response to it, the genesis of man in God.”
  My questions to those at ASA are the following: What do we know about the evolution of spirit or the evolution of the image of God? Was there an ‘intervention’ in the process of transformation in the morphology of species change between quadruped and biped, in the case of where human beings (supposedly) ‘evolved’ from ancestor beings, when something non-natural or extra-natural was involved? Could it be said that God (has) evolved in God’s relationship with human beings? Did knowledge of God and relationship with God evolve ‘into’ human existence, based on the physiological capacity of having a larger brain and evolving language? Or do human beings and also all of matter contain (a kind of) spirit from the ‘big bang’ that was realized in a personhood sense somewhere along the timeline of life on earth?
  A book and an article, both of the same title, have been helpful for me on this topic: “The Evolution of the Soul,” by Igor Sikorsky (1949), father of the modern helicopter, and The Evolution of the Soul by Richard Swinburne (1986, 1997), current philosopher of religion at Oxford University. Both books accept (natural) scientific evolution as a reality and discuss the spiritual life of humanity in the light of philosophical and theological understanding.
  Gregory A.

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Received on Mon Sep 25 10:54:29 2006

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