Re: [asa] Improbability of Homo Sapiens?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Fri Feb 09 2007 - 11:10:25 EST

*The answer that suggests itself is that it is somehow interesting to the
Creator. The deeper question we can only speculate about is "why?". We like
the relational answer - that God somehow desires/needs our companionship.*
A very profound thought, that one motive for why God used the processes He
did in creating is that it was "interesting" to Him. Maybe there's a little
danger in anthropomorphizing too much here, as "interesting" can suggest a
bored, god who decided to start tinkering with stuff one day, just like I
might decide to tie some trout flies on a cold winter Sunday afternoon. But
a God who delights in bringing forth the complex diversity of the universe
over deep time, in seeing and knowing creatueres that perhaps only He will
ever have seen and known -- cool!

I also think the relational answer shouldn't be dismissed. In classical
Christian trinitarian theology, God doesn't "need" our companionship, since
He experiences perfect fellowship within the Trinity, nor does He "desire"
our fellowship in the sense that a lonely man desires the companionship of a
good wife. But, He desires to relate with us out of love for us. Sometimes
we take for granted how inconceivably good it is that we are alive and able
to relate to God and to participate in His purposes for creation. That God
brought us forth as relational beings, even though He didn't need our
fellowship, is an expression of His love.

On 2/9/07, Jim Armstrong <> wrote:
> Hello again! Stimulating questions.
> My take is thus:
> 1. Let's first try "yes". But the size of the universe and its spectrum of
> possibilities given its myriad suns and environs, "improbable" does not mean
> "impossible". The choice between those two terms is one we cannot make with
> certainty without direct access to God's intent (though many Creationists
> make that leap to an assertion of "impossible").
> But the answer might also be "no" because it is quite possible that the
> trajectory of the evolutionary aspect of Creation was purposefully planned
> so that movement is somehow favored in directions that make such outcomes
> possible. "Omniscient" trumps "improbable".
> 2. See the answer to 1. We just don't know with certainty. However, the
> evidence that evolution per se is a reality appears to be pretty sound (many
> independent lines of corroboration). And, there is evidently at least one
> apparently evolutionary tree (here on Earth) of primates and other thinking
> creatures. That suggests that such a process that has this potentiality
> would not be necessarily unique to our particular physical context (though
> the specific outcome might arguably be). So again, "improbable" does not
> automatically equate with "impossible". We just cannot say with certainty.
> 3. How? That's of course a huge and basically unanswerable question. If
> your worldview includes an omniscient God, then He just knows. It is His
> nature. In particular, He knows how to create an evolutionary design that
> can bring forth a living, sentient, relational creature. In either case,
> the result is stunning. It introduces into Creation a whole new dimension, a
> thinking, imagining, resource-and-energy-exploiting (here used in a positive
> sense), volitional element that brings with it a whole new spectrum of
> possibilities - again countering that "improbable" thing.
> But one has to ask, if He CAN do that, why DID an all-knowing God use a
> time-constrained and/or sequential process to bring it about? The answer
> that suggests itself is that it is somehow interesting to the Creator. The
> deeper question we can only speculate about is "why?". We like the
> relational answer - that God somehow desires/needs our companionship. But
> realistically, the gap between the relational abilities of transcendent God
> and our own kind must be huge. To our (limited) way of thinking, this
> scenario suggests that the outcome of a Creation that embodies (in part) an
> evolutionary capacity might not be known; that the results of the
> developmental process is of itself somehow of interest. That, of course,
> brings into question the exact nature of the "omniscience" often attributed
> to God in a blanket way. It also leans in the direction of a process view of
> theology.
> Or so it seemeth to me. JimA
> Johan Jammart wrote:
> *Quote*
> In 1986 the consensus among such biologists that the evolutionary path
> from primitive Cambrian chordates, e.g. Pikaia, to homo sapiens was a
> highly improbable event. For example, the large brains of humans have marked
> adaptive disadvantages, requiring as they do an expensive metabolism, a long
> gestation period, and a childhood lasting more than 25% of the average total
> life span. Other improbable features of humans include:
> * Being the only extant bipedal land vertebrate. Combined with an
> unusual eye-hand coordination, this permits dextrous manipulations of the
> physical environment with the hands;
> * A vocal apparatus far more expressive than that of any other mammal,
> enabling speech. Speech makes it possible for humans to interact
> cooperatively, to share knowledge, and to acquire a culture;
> * The capability of formulating abstractions to a degree permitting
> the invention of mathematics, and the discovery of science and technology.
> Keep in mind how recently humans acquired anything like their current
> scientific and technological sophistication.
> Few questions here that are important for my theological reflection (as it
> is my domain of interest) as it seem that the evolution to homo sapiens
> seems improbable.
> *What if homo sapiens did not arise from evolution?*
> 1) Is other form of intelligent life (like human intelligence) improbable
> with the evolution?
> 2) Is the evolution of humanoids improbable?
> 3) How could God knew that evolution would bring creature that will be
> able to have relationship with Him? Of course He is omniscient but in His
> omniscience He had to choose a process that would bring intelligent life.
> Blessings,
> Johan To unsubscribe, send a message to with
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David W. Opderbeck
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Received on Fri Feb 9 11:10:52 2007

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