The chief form of life on this planet is a creature who is genuinely confused as to whether his grandfather was God … or a monkey.
– Archy (the cockroach)
from “The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel” by Don Marquis
We are predisposed toward the notion of MUTUAL EXCLUSIVITY. Black or white. Evolution or creation. One or the other.
Is it not so?
We look at the world presupposing inherent mutual exclusivity.
This (as it turns out) … is a MISTAKE.
Our view of the world is (extensively) mediated by (lots of) grotesque stereotypes. And mutual exclusivity happens to be one of them.
Our cultural “discussion” on the issues surrounding abortion … is mainly a fight between two polarized camps – those who are ‘pro-choice’ (and favor women’s rights) … and those who are ‘anti-abortion’ (who regard abortion as equivalent to murder).
Barbara Kingsolver assures us – that when a woman has an abortion, if you were to ask her any time afterward – how old that child would be … she will always know. (It is never a casual matter.)
And … (if my memory serves me correctly, and if my studies were true) – the soul does not normally enter the body … until after the birth.
Probably – there are some situations where abortion is the best choice … and some situations where the best choice would be to try for full-term pregnancy. (and then either keep the child … or put it up for adoption)
There are many factors which need to be taken into account.
There is a similar ‘fight’ between the Creationists … and the Evolutionists.
But where do we get the idea – that life arises by ONE PROCESS OR THE OTHER?
What if it’s … BOTH?
[if you are interested in this question, I suggest you read the excerpts from the Urantia Book – which are included at the end of this essay]
The culture we live in is devoutly materialistic.
I say that because there is (still) a great deal of commitment (in our perverse hearts) toward the idea that there is NOTHING beyond the realm of materiality.
We have all heard it said that – ‘there is always a scientific explanation’.
We WANT to live in a world which is material …. ONLY.
[This is an important battle in the Great War of Ideas]
Isaac Bashevis Singer was a wonderful writer [Nobel Prize, Literature, 1978]; and he wrote many stories about his childhood – growing up in Warsaw.
One of these stories – “Why the Geese Shrieked” – well embodies the struggle between these two schools of thought. Singer’s father is the local rabbi … so you can guess which side he takes.
[I just now added this story to the ‘Poems & Stories’ page, within this site’s ‘References’ pages] and
I heartily recommend that you read it.
The Urantia Book also has some things to say about this matter –
34:7.2 (382.2) Evolutionary mortals inhabiting normal worlds of spiritual progress do not experience the acute conflicts between the spirit and the flesh which characterize the present-day Urantia races. But even on the most ideal planets, pre-Adamic man must put forth positive efforts to ascend from the purely animalistic plane of existence up through successive levels of increasingly intellectual meanings and higher spiritual values.
34:7.3 (382.3) The mortals of a normal world do not experience constant warfare between their physical and spiritual natures. They are confronted with the necessity of climbing up from the animal levels of existence to the higher planes of spiritual living, but this ascent is more like undergoing an educational training when compared with the intense conflicts of Urantia mortals in this realm of the divergent material and spiritual natures.
157:6.4 (1749.3) Thus did Jesus exemplify in his life what he taught in his religion: the growth of the spiritual nature by the technique of living progress. He did not place emphasis, as did his later followers, upon the incessant struggle between the soul and the body. He rather taught that the spirit was easy victor over both and effective in the profitable reconciliation of much of this intellectual and instinctual warfare.
157:6.6 (1749.5) Jesus had sincerely endeavored to lead his followers into the spiritual kingdom as a teacher, then as a teacher-healer, but they would not have it so. He well knew that his earth mission could not possibly fulfill the Messianic expectations of the Jewish people; the olden prophets had portrayed a Messiah which he could never be. He sought to establish the Father’s kingdom as the Son of Man, but his followers would not go forward in the adventure. Jesus, seeing this, then elected to meet his believers part way and in so doing prepared openly to assume the role of the bestowal Son of God.
How are we to make sense of this fight? –
It is abundantly obvious that life is material … and it is less obvious that it is also NON-material / spiritual.
Carl Jung says that people spend the first half of life getting “into the world” … and the 2nd half of life getting out of it.
This generalization he arrived at through having seen many many people as clients, as he worked as a psychotherapist.
And, of course, it is not an admonition or anything like that, it is simply a description of how human beings live … and through the course of life – how our focus shifts.
Here is how I make sense of it —
Humans are spiritual beings (always).
But as we begin life we do not realize this; we are young and stupid.
(by which, I just mean that we have the kind of stupidity which comes automatically with being young).
But as we live and (slowly, gradually) begin to open our spiritual eyes, we begin to realize (more) who we really are. (a spirit being … having a ‘human’ experience).
[There is more to say (on the issue of ‘both’ vs ‘mutual exclusivity’); I better save some for next week]
(Remember that ‘Urantia’ is the name that the celestials use to refer to this planet … which we call – ‘the Earth’.
In reference to 734.5 – the Earth is what’s called a ‘decimal planet’ … because one (evolutionary) world in every ten is designated as an “experimental planet” … and our world happens to be one of these.
Embolded text is my doing.)
~ ~ ~ ~
65:8.2 (739.6) If spending so much time in effecting the evolutionary changes of life development occasions perplexity, I would say that we cannot time the life processes to unfold any faster than the physical metamorphoses of a planet will permit. We must wait upon the natural, physical development of a planet; we have absolutely no control over geologic evolution. If the physical conditions would allow, we could arrange for the completed evolution of life in considerably less than one million years. But we are all under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Rulers of Paradise, and time is nonexistent on Paradise.
65:8.3 (739.7) The individual’s yardstick for time measurement is the length of his life. All creatures are thus time conditioned, and therefore do they regard evolution as being a long-drawn-out process. To those of us whose life span is not limited by a temporal existence, evolution does not seem to be such a protracted transaction.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
65:3.6 (734.3) Mankind on Urantia must solve its problems of mortal development with the human stocks it has—no more races will evolve from prehuman sources throughout all future time. But this fact does not preclude the possibility of the attainment of vastly higher levels of human development through the intelligent fostering of the evolutionary potentials still resident in the mortal races. That which we, the Life Carriers, do toward fostering and conserving the life strains before the appearance of human will, man must do for himself after such an event and subsequent to our retirement from active participation in evolution. In a general way, man’s evolutionary destiny is in his own hands, and scientific intelligence must sooner or later supersede the random functioning of uncontrolled natural selection and chance survival.
65:3.7 (734.4) And in discussing the fostering of evolution, it would not be amiss to point out that, in the long future ahead, when you may sometime be attached to a corps of Life Carriers, you will have abundant and ample opportunity to offer suggestions and make any possible improvements in the plans and technique of life management and transplantation. Be patient! If you have good ideas, if your minds are fertile with better methods of administration for any part of the universal domains, you are certainly going to have an opportunity to present them to your associates and fellow administrators in the ages to come.
4. The Urantia Adventure
65:4.1 (734.5) Do not overlook the fact that Urantia was assigned to us as a life-experiment world. On this planet we made our sixtieth attempt to modify and, if possible, improve the Satania adaptation of the Nebadon life designs, and it is of record that we achieved numerous beneficial modifications of the standard life patterns. To be specific, on Urantia we worked out and have satisfactorily demonstrated not less than twenty-eight features of life modification which will be of service to all Nebadon throughout all future time.
65:4.2 (735.1) But the establishment of life on no world is ever experimental in the sense that something untried and unknown is attempted. The evolution of life is a technique ever progressive, differential, and variable, but never haphazard, uncontrolled, nor wholly experimental, in the accidental sense.
65:4.3 (735.2) Many features of human life afford abundant evidence that the phenomenon of mortal existence was intelligently planned, that organic evolution is not a mere cosmic accident. When a living cell is injured, it possesses the ability to elaborate certain chemical substances which are empowered so to stimulate and activate the neighboring normal cells that they immediately begin the secretion of certain substances which facilitate healing processes in the wound; and at the same time these normal and uninjured cells begin to proliferate—they actually start to work creating new cells to replace any fellow cells which may have been destroyed by the accident.
65:4.4 (735.3) This chemical action and reaction concerned in wound healing and cell reproduction represents the choice of the Life Carriers of a formula embracing over one hundred thousand phases and features of possible chemical reactions and biologic repercussions. More than half a million specific experiments were made by the Life Carriers in their laboratories before they finally settled upon this formula for the Urantia life experiment.
65:4.5 (735.4) When Urantia scientists know more of these healing chemicals, they will become more efficient in the treatment of injuries, and indirectly they will know more about controlling certain serious diseases.
65:4.6 (735.5) Since life was established on Urantia, the Life Carriers have improved this healing technique as it has been introduced on another Satania world, in that it affords more pain relief and exercises better control over the proliferation capacity of the associated normal cells.
65:4.7 (735.6) There were many unique features of the Urantia life experiment, but the two outstanding episodes were the appearance of the Andonic race prior to the evolution of the six colored peoples and the later simultaneous appearance of the Sangik mutants in a single family. Urantia is the first world in Satania where the six colored races sprang from the same human family. They ordinarily arise in diversified strains from independent mutations within the prehuman animal stock and usually appear on earth one at a time and successively over long periods of time, beginning with the red man and passing on down through the colors to indigo.
65:4.8 (735.7) Another outstanding variation of procedure was the late arrival of the Planetary Prince. As a rule, the prince appears on a planet about the time of will development; and if such a plan had been followed, Caligastia might have come to Urantia even during the lifetimes of Andon and Fonta instead of almost five hundred thousand years later, simultaneously with the appearance of the six Sangik races.
65:8.7 (740.3) [Sponsored by a Life Carrier of Nebadon resident on Urantia.]