These problems are precisely what led me to consider that, for theological discussions, humanity should be defined, not by the Homo sapiens genome, but by their behavior, the modern form of which appeared suddenly as a Great Leap Forward (as per I. Tattersall & J. Diamond). This epigenetic change that transformed brain into Mind could be transmitted orally from the first few that experienced it to other Homo sapiens; i.e. it was a Lamarkian type of evolution. The physical nature of this “programming” is unknown at present, but the fact that DNA methylation operates differently in the brain than in other tissues is a fact that should be investigated further.
The importance for theological discussions is that the GLF would mark the first time any earthly life could respond to its Creator’s offer to become co-creators–to resist the selfish tendencies of our genetic nature and infuse into earthly life solid evidence of altruism and compassion, qualities that had only been hinted at previously. Thus moral evil–freely rejecting God’s offer to be co-creators–arose with the advent of Mind and conscience (~40K yrs. BP), but also it made possible the immortality of human souls.
Acceptance of this proposal leads to a number of important conclusions that involve potentiality and actualization. Each Homo sapiens zygote has an immortal soul, but its importance is only potential until it is actualized by overcoming a number of hurdles, both in-utero and neonatal. Faulty gastrulation could lead to anencephaly, and the potential to become human could never be actualized. The ‘fate’ of the immortal souls of stillborn humans (who die before being baptized) was ‘solved’ by the Catholic dogma of Limbo. Following my proposal, the ‘fate’ of one’s immortal soul depends, not upon a specific act of baptism, but of the attainment of ‘the age of reason’–i.e., the acquisition of a conscience, the formation of which is a gradual process and therefore cannot be assigned a specific time frame. This may be seen as unsatisfactory, but it is unavoidable. After all, the rational justification of Faith is an oxymoron.