Was there a first human?
re R. Isaac and D. Venema
The references you both gave may help me to understand the details of current views of evolutionary processes a little better. Thank you for these references. I’ll be looking at them shortly.
Randy, I know you have much to do for the annual meeting, so I’ll be interested in whatever continued comments you want to make when it’s over. Thanks for taking so much time already.
I know it is not as simple as mere single mutations producing radical changes. I suppose that it’s just easier for me to think in those terms since it gives a clear idea of how changes can occur. Dennis, I don’t see that the more complicated and more realistic processes you mention (combination, recombination, incomplete lineage sorting, etc.) really make a difference to my claim. Maybe after I look at your references I will. But for now doesn’t it seem that whatever genetic changes and recombinations we need to produce the necessary and sufficient conditions for humanness (God-awareness, moral awareness, etc.) we still end up with some in a breeding population who will have those characteristics and others who will not. Those without those characteristics will either eventually become extinct as they are selected out of the population by natural selection or they will form another species. (Here I’m just assuming the simple definition for a species of all members of an interbreeding population.)
Concerning your comment about God-awareness being an awareness a child gradually develops, Dennis, I would think that the child certainly may develop this gradually and yet only be responsible before God at some discreet point in the process. That is, at some point the child is aware that God is there and God is someone to whom they ought to respond spiritually. Before this point the child might have some more vague awareness of God, but this is not certain. If they do at some point have only this vague awareness, then they are not truly aware of God as God until they are aware of how they ought to respond to God. I may be wrong here. It may be that God considers the child to have their humanness actualized at some point at which the child is merely aware of God’s existence and is aware of some other relationship with God. But I would claim that one is not an actualized human but only a potential human until one of these points.
It is not as though this understanding can be used to justify infanticide, for example, since God sees a person as one through time. God sees the infant as the same person who will someday have moral and God-awareness. God does so because both are the same person. I am the same person I was as a new-born and even as a fetus once I was given sentience. The same awareness persists through time and constitutes the identity of a person. Nevertheless, humanness occurs at a discreet point. Before that point of moral awareness and God-awareness, one has no greater awareness than that of the other animals. At least one might say that any greater awareness up to this point does not make any difference.
Now the primate that is just on the verge of God-awareness but doesn’t quite possess it in it’s life may be the parent of a primate which does possess God awareness. But because the first primate is not the same person as the second, because it is cut off from this distinct awareness, it is not human. Only the second primate is human. So again, it seems to me that humanness is something one either has or does not have.
I’ve mentioned my indebtedness to your work in one of my earlier comments in this discussion, Dennis. Thanks again for your added comments. I’ll get to your study on the BioLogos web site shortly.