I don’t exactly know when my belief in the absurd story of Genesis finally evaporated from my mind, the mythical story of God digging his hands into the earth like an artist shaping and molding the human body. And when the artist finally pleased with his work, embraced it, breathing into its nostrils, humanity came to life.
It was beautiful to think of creation this way, so profoundly special, so about us. But, are we more freaks of nature, rather than the ultimate end to grand design.
Evolution is deeply disturbing. On the one hand, yes we are unique, but in the other, could our coming into being be more of an unraveling, a cascading series of profound accidents, a chain reaction of possibilities that sometimes “stick” together.
The Genesis story is certainly comforting. The artist who loves his work, the realtionship of molding, shaping and seeing it come to life before his eyes, a sort of self portrait made in “His” image. But, perhaps even more profound (scary) and extremely fragile is the reality of organic chemicals, atoms suddenly sticking together like glue in this primordial ocean. From there unfolds unicellular life, to multicellular life, to a rigid internal frame, to musculature, to neurons, to grey matter, the human brain.
This celestial ocean that our galaxy spins in is some four or five billion years old, and what we imagine as infinity stretches in all directions beyond that. Looking back over our shoulders this evolutionary man, the up-right walking ” Homo erectus” is said to be fifty to one hundred thousand years old.
If one still clings to the idea of a cosmic creator, sitting in the factory of “existence,” the assembly line slowly moving as he randomly sticks atoms, and molecules together; maybe it is more a story of Dementia (taken from Latin) originally meaning madness, from de- (without) + ment, the root of mens (mind) is a serious loss of cosmic cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person (a God) who lost his mind and we are the outcome of the accident.
The shock of self confidence came into existence and this awakening brought the knowledge we were distinct, and in some sense separate, outside the non-being of the rest of creation. Humans would never again identify themselves completely with the natural. The Genesis story reinforces the myth of a creation story being about us, and our maker when maybe against all odds the dice were rolled in our favour and humans found themselves on a evolutionary pathway of higher complexity.
With consciousness we experienced a greater sense of self which stood over against the world. We became conscious of the uncertainty and the shortness of life. We began to contemplate life. With the evolution of human consciousness a tremendous need was also born to find meaning, permanence and stability in a world suddenly meaningless, transitory and destabilized.
We can only imagine the first humans gazing into the infinite black depths of the night sky, the glittering surf rolling across this mysterious ocean. Try to imagine the shock, trauma, sense of aloneness and radical sense of insecurity that seized the human conscience. Now there was an awareness of danger being a chronic state of being. We were aware of our own mortality, and of the existence around us being so utterly vast we sensed ourselves as being insignificant.
The mind of humanity must have been gripped by angst and a fear of being squeezed to death. One thought must have oozed out constantly, “Who? Why? Is there anyone out there?”
There were no rockets, nor satellites to be launched. Primitive man howled at the moon. We screamed at the top of our lungs to anyone, anything, hoping for a response. We began to muse something beyond us, a maker, a creator. We mused what ever it was, it was as interested in us, as much as we were interested in it.
The relationship had begun, the evolution of God and the evolution of humanity.