Friday, January 14, 2011

Origin of the Human Species

Dennis Bonnette, author of a book of that title, noting that "authentic Catholics and many traditional Protestants understand that theological monogenism -- which holds that all mankind is descended from a single pair of ancestors -- must be maintained in order to confirm the reality of Original Sin, and the consequent need for the Redeemer," attempts to "offer a detailed explanation of how the current theory of human evolution might be fully consistent with sound scriptural interpretation" — Must Human Evolution Contradict Genesis? An excerpt:
    Respecting the "special creation of man," nothing prevents God from directly creating Adam from the "slime of the earth" in the most literal biblical manner, an event totally escaping modern scientific observation. Still, Cyril Vollert suggests in his Symposium on Evolution (1959) that evolution theory might integrate with Scripture if God directly infused the human spiritual soul into a fully adult subhuman primate. Such transformation would instantly change the entire material organization of that primate into true man. Vollert also proposes that this radical change might have taken place at the embryonic level. In that case, subhuman primates would not be the real parents of Adam, since his direct creation as a human being, though using evolved embryonic material principles, would be the work of God, who alone can create the spiritual human soul as well as raise matter to the level of this qualitatively higher new species. Even subhuman primates might readily rear such "offspring" as their own. This new species could then separate from the prior subhuman stock in the manner described above.

    The "formation of the first woman from the man" poses a greater challenge, if we are to take an evolutionary perspective and attempt a real material connection to Adam. Again, God could have taken Eve from an adult Adam's rib in a most literal fashion. Still, since the Hebrew word sela can also mean "side," a more creative, evolutionary scenario might be proposed -- one based on Vollert's hypothesis of embryonic transformation. Monozygotic twinning might have occurred immediately following Adam's formation. Save in the rarest of instances, such twinning produces siblings of the same sex. God might have foreordained that an almost unique "XXY" zygote form monozygotic boy/girl twins by one of the twins dropping the extra "X" chromosome and the other twin dropping the extra "Y" chromosome. Or else, by unseen direct divine intervention, a "Y" chromosome is changed into an "X" chromosome in the twin that becomes Eve. In the miracle of the Virgin Birth in which Mary begets her Divine Son, it appears that an "X" chromosome must have been transformed into a "Y" chromosome -- in order that a male Savior be born. The process of begetting Eve might have entailed a "reverse" foreshadowing of the miracle that was to bring mankind its Redeemer.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.