Best of Steve — Another Way to Think . . .

March 27, 2008, 10:30 am; posted by
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Originally published April 12, 2007.

What if we consider original sin and evolution as synonymous?

The Genesis account tells us God created plants and animals of all types, then human beings, whom he ordered to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” The “crafty” serpent enticed Eve to disobey God’s commands, promising: “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” At its heart, this is a twisted desire for self-improvement — removed from God’s manifest presence, man instead attempted to become like Him. And in addition to this knowledge and power, Adam and Eve were cursed by God in the areas of (among other things) reproduction, relationships, food provision, and lifespan.

Evolutionary biology suggests that the ultimate goal of every organism is to propagate itself — to gain safety and comfort, but more than anything, to ensure its genetic code is replicated as often as possible before it dies. But there is no indication that death existed before the fall; the restoration of communion with God is indicated in the Bible in vignettes where lions and lambs lie down together in safety, where neither tears nor death have any place.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you?,” James asked. “Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.”

I agree with many of the observations of evolutionary biology, and here I extend them, to argue that the immediate and continuing outcome of the fall of mankind, as told in Genesis, is functionally equivalent to the predicted results of evolution. Desires for pleasure that war within us: lust, murder, envy, greed. Faced with limited resources to share and limited opportunities to reproduce, newly enlightened man was foisted into a constant race to improve and compete — and there we have both the blessing and the curse of the “knowledge of good and evil,” for the very nature that pushes us to improve also tragically destines we will forever fall short of our goal.

And in the meantime it gives us a world where greed, overconsumption, pride and promiscuity often seem to be the ‘right’ strategies. The crafty ones.

This is probably why prophetic visions of heaven speak of eternal joy and satisfaction, rather than the tortured “chasing of the wind” that pervades life on earth. “They shall not build and another inhabit. . . they shall not labor in vain.”

The renewal of eternal communion with God will eliminate the desire for every counterfeit.

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