Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Descaralization of Humanity

"For old Adam, that near-angel whose name means Earth, Darwinists have substituted a creature who shares essental attributes with whatever beast has been recently observed behaving shabbily in the state of nature. Genesis tries to describe human exceptionalism, and Darwinism tries to discount it. Since Malthus, to go back no farther, the impulse has been vigorously present to descralise humankind by making it appropriately the prey of unmitigated struggle. This descaralization - fully as absolute with respect to predator as to prey - has required the disengagement of conscience, among other things. It has required the grand-scale disparagement of the traits that distinguish us from the animals - and the Darwinists take the darkest possible view of animals. What has been rejected is the complexity of the Genesis account, in favour of a simplicity so extreme it cannot - by design, perhaps - deal with that second term in the Biblical view of humankind, our destiny, that is, the consequences of our actions. It is an impressive insight, in a narrative so very ancient as the Genesis account of the Fall, that the fate of Adam is presented as the fate of the whole living world. I have heard people comfort themselves with the thought of the perdurability of cockroaches, a fact which does not confute the general truth of the view that our species is very apt to put an end to life on this planet." - Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam

Does this make us distinct, exceptional? We who were created a little lower than the angels are able to end all life on earth.


Anonymous said...

Certainly a disruption affecting this privelaged position in our solar system, whether gradual or abrupt,may end all life, but to suppose human kind could achieve this is ridiculous. We may choose to end our own, as may an old shabby dog.

byron smith said...

Anonymous - I suggest you're not paying attention to the scale of the effects that humanity is having on the planet. The possibility of human self-extinction is quite real (if still somewhat remote). The possibility of ending all life on earth is not unthinkable (though admittedly far from certain).

I don't think it is Darwin who desacralises humanity. Human dignity and holiness is derivative upon Christ, not upon uncovering certain traits that are allegedly unshared by other animals. It is the rejection of belief in Christ as the image of God and so the true human that desacralises. Evolutionists (except the most crass variety) need be under no illusions that humanity is simple or our destiny obvious. Might the demonisation of evolution actually be a more common source of the distortion of humanity than its acceptance?