Evolution

By Radharao Gracias
24 August 2012 23:52 IST

The concept of evolution has existed from the beginning. However, whether man was created or has evolved, has been a matter of dispute. The first and second chapters of the Book of Genesis are often cited in support of creationism. In doing so, the import of chapter three, is overlooked.

Chapter three contains the well known story of how the serpent enticed Eve, to eat the forbidden fruit and invite the wrath of God. As punishment, God cursed the serpent in following words:

“Genesis 3.14: So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.”

It is unambiguous and clear, that the serpent crawls on its belly, only because, the Lord God cursed it to do so. It follows, if not for the curse, the serpent would develop legs, evolve into a higher form and cease to eat the dust of the earth, all the days of its life. If not, what was the curse for? Who says, there is no evidence of evolution in the Bible? The Bible, as we can see, does not rule out evolution. But the church does. The gulf between what the Bible states and what the church preaches, is ever widening. The chasm, may never be bridged.

The ancient Hindu, seems to have had a greater understanding of evolution, than others. There is an intriguing possibility, that the various avatars of  Vishnu, actually presage evolution. Vishnu has so far appeared, in nine avatars, all of which are in chronological order of evolution, as present anthropological evidence seems to support.

The avatars of Vishnu in order of appearance, are Matsya (fish), Kurma (turtle), Varaha (pig), Narasimha (lion), Vamana (dwarf), Parashuram (with his axe), Ram, Krishna and Buddha. The tenth and final avatar, is to be Kalki, the perfect man. Evolution holds life evolved in the sea (fish), which emerged on land as amphibian (turtle), later evolved into herbivores (pig), and then as carnivore (lion). The first human beings were short statured (dwarf). The next stage, were hunter gatherers (Parashuram with his axe), followed by warrior-kings (Ram and Krishna) and finally man of peace in Buddha. The order of appearance of various avatars of Vishnu, are in perfect symphony with the concept of evolution.

How did the ancient Hindus so cannily arrive at the various avatars of Vishnu in the chronological order increasingly backed by anthropological evidence? It is a mystery. May be Kalki represents the perfect man, who is yet to evolve, in terms of Darwinian Theory.

The Hindus and Christians should therefore be quite comfortable with the theory of evolution, as the holy books/beliefs of both communities are certainly not averse to evolution. What the Church preaches, on evolution, may not necessarily be in synch with the Bible. After all, it is said even the devil can quote the Bible.

There has been considerable evolution, in food habits too. Early man ate whatever was available; raw. Gradually, as fire was discovered, man learnt to roast food. Subsequently, condiments came to be used and over the years, modern concept of cookery evolved. And as cooking evolved, the manner of eating also changed. Table manners emerged. The man in the west invented forks, spoons and knives; in the east, chopsticks. The countries that have evolved eating habits have also come to dominate the world in military, economic and cultural terms. Those which have failed to evolve continue to live a hand to mouth existence ! That is the present reality.

Evolution has accompanied man and his ideas. Early civilisations including, ancient Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Roman, Sumerian and Indian believed in a multiplicity of Gods. There were Gods for thunder, lightening, wind, war, love and practically every natural phenomenon or human endeavour. Gradually, it occurred to man that the concept of Gods is self contradictory and Gods evolved into a single, all powerful God. The first monotheist belief is attributed to the ancient Egyptian King Akhenaten, which was later appropriated by the Jews and the Persians. Today, some civilisations are on the verge of discarding God altogether and believing in a world, without God. That is evolution of thought.

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Radharao Gracias

Radharao F.Gracias is a senior Trial Court lawyer and ex President of the South Goa Advocates Association. He is also former independent MLA of Goa. He has been an activist on issues related to Goa for more than three decades.

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The first monotheist belief should be attributed to the Vedas. Refer Rigved 164/46 “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” meaning “That which exists is one: sages call it by various names”. Also Brahma Samhita shloka “Eko Brahma Dwitiyo Nasti” meaning “there is one god, nothing else”. (Unless you believe that King Akhenaten predates the Vedas.)

- Amigo, Canada | 26 th August 2012 04:56

 

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