I am well aware that Christians are not dualists, in that they consider the devil to have a power that can be reasonably compared to God's. But I did (do) believe that orthodox theology considered Lucifer (Satan) a Fallen Angel created as a spiritual person before God created Adam. Am I wrong in this? Is there an orthodox evangelical position on 'personified evil'? @Christy ?
That is precisely my point, J.A.L. As soon as I accepted the 'fact' that humans evolved slowly (and not created instantly Poof!), I realized that neo-Darwinian theory posits a strong selfish component in the 'struggle for survival'. This instinctive selfishness must be overcome if we are to live up to the second command that Jesus gave us: "Love thy neighbor as thyself." In some manner that we cannot yet explain with biological science, God 'programmed the Homo sapiens brain to become Mind--a Mind that could distinguish right from wrong, and could desire a relationship with its Creator. Knowing what God expects of us, yet preferring to remain in instinctive selfishness, is the essence of Original Sin. At least this is the way I have come to see it.
This is highly unorthodox. Two priests (one Jesuit, one Dominican) were punished for promoting it. And it may be wrong. But, contrary to your statement about the limits of human cognition, it does explain the mechanisms of sins power and the means of its transmission. As a child and young adult, I believed that following the orthodox Catholic doctrine to the letter was the surest way to lead a good life. As I reached maturity and wanted to fully utilize God's most precious gift, my Mind, I found that some (slight?) changes to dogma (or a significant reinterpretation of Scripture) provided a smoother path to leading a good life. If I am in error and God deems me a heretic, I can only ask His forgiveness--without the necessity of being burned at the stake! Thank God!