Hi Roger, in the post that lead to this, you wrote the following:
Third, Science indicates that the human species developed out of a community of hominids, but does it indicate how sin came into being?
I just want to point out some of the things we know from archaeology that would indicate that those things that we think of as being a result of “sin” have always been with us and aren’t recent innovations.
I don’t know when you believe Adam and Eve lived, but…
The earliest examples of cannibalism go back to homo heidelbergensis 600,000 - 400,000 years ago.
There is evidence of human on human violence dating back 150,000 - 200,000 years ago
Cemetery 117 in Northern Sudan is between 13,140 and 14,340 years old. Of the people burried there, about 40% died of violent wounds. Pointed stone projectiles were found in their bodies at places that suggest the bodies had been attacked by spears or arrows. The wounds were located around the sternum, abdomen, back, and skull (through the lower jaw or neck). The lack of bony calluses, a natural result of healing around these types of wounds, indicates that the attacks were most likely fatal.
It is generally accepted that maces were first developed around 12,000 BC. Maces are not for hunting. In Ukraine, stone mace heads were first used about 8000 years ago
There are mass graves where men, women and children have been slaughtered dating back to 5000 BC (Talheim death pit)
None of this should be surprising though. Given that we evolved from pre-human ancestors, it stands to reason that we would have been influenced by their behaviours as well. What sorts of behaviours do we see in non human apes?
- Gang violence
- Stealing of mates
All of these behaviours are evident in humans today. If we are going to allow evidence to guide our epistemology as opposed to faith (which we should), then the most logical thing to do would be to acknowledge that we have always been this way. The only difference that separates us from our non-human ancestors is our sense of guilt and a general agreement that these sorts of behaviours are wrong.
In a book by Wrangham and Peterson (1996) they write:
“Modern chimpanzees are … surprisingly excellent models of our direct ancestors. It suggest that chimpanzee-like violence preceded and paved the way for human war, making modern humans the dazed survivors of a continuous, 5-million-year habit of lethal aggression”
If I was going to put a theological spin on this, I would say that:
We’re not the way God intends us to be, but we are the way that God created us which is to say that he intends us to evolve morally and become more like him (our moral selves are in the process of development and we will get there eventually). This is what Saint Irenaeus taught long before evolution was ever suggested.
So rather than calling it original sin, we should call it the slow dawning awareness that we are held to a higher standard which came about as a result of increasing cognitive ability which God fully intended.