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The Story of Evolution, Spring 2005
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Of the Body: How Evolution Fits with other Creation Stories

Kelsey Smith

14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12

Where do we come from? Why are we here? Inquiring minds have asked–and answered–these questions of origin for thousands of years. As a consequence, every culture has a response that holds claim to a slightly different method for establishing the ancestors of the life that exists on earth today. These stories each have their place in the "body" of knowledge about process that made earth a habitable planet with the capacity to support a broad range of species.

In "What Evolution Is", Myer proffers that evolution was the source of higher life forms. He says that evolution has been proven true enough times so that it is no longer a theory and can be considered an accepted fact. This is similar to the other creation stories because they, too, can be viewed as truth by those who believe what they say. The difference is that evolution has "tangible" proof (in the form of fossils).

This same type of proof is obviously lacking in the creation stories because with them, current life is the result of the efforts of a supreme being (or beings, as the case may be), who largely created all creatures by thinking or speaking. Some examples of supreme beings are the Hindu Divine Self-existent, the Sumerian Gods, and the African Ancient One (known as Unjukunklu, the Zulu creator).

Myer's explanation of how life became more diverse is similar to other creation stories in that at one time, Earth changed from have few animals to having many different kinds. In all of the stories, an outside force is necessary for life to exist. With evolution, that force is energy. In the other stories, however, the force is a different kind of energy. It is the will to drive change that leads to the existence of the first creatures.

Evolution and other creation stories account for why some species existed previously that are not on earth now. Evolution says that a species becomes extinct because it is no longer adapted to its environment—as in the conditions in the habitat changed and the species was not capable of responding rapidly enough—and is thus incapable of reproducing and allowing the population to continue.

Other creation stories, by contrast, place the blame on the creatures themselves, who exist in close proximity to the creator. For all we know, the environmental conditions are not remarkably different from when the first examples of a particular species were created. Instead, the creator became dissatisfied with the created and took the liberty of starting over.

One such example occurs in chapter 6, verse 5 of the book of Genesis: "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time (NIV)." Therefore, He decided to destroy all of humanity except for Noah and his family because "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD (NIV 6:8)." For some people, this story is rooted in the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh.

However, other cultures have similar flood stories, such as the Apache story Jicarilla. According to this story, other people predated the Apaches. The people were told to go to the tops of four mountains and not to look at the flood or sky. Since only a few people listened, all the rest perished. Those who looked at the water turned into frogs and those who looked at the sky turned into birds.

Though the stories that explain the origin of humanity differ in some ways, they are strikingly similar in others. Even with their differences they are still part of the body of knowledge that can be used to explain the past.


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