April 11, 2009:
Among the many incongruities of our lives here in Uganda is the one of spending major Christian holy days in wildlife parks. Christianity is a cultural thing in the sense of involving language, customs, rituals, and traditions based in history and literature, something utterly absent in the world of prehistoric hominids. As such, being surrounded by the very ecology that supposedly gave rise to humankind in its ancient origin uncovers a stark incongruity when one is meant to focus on the life events of a single historical figure from only two thousand years ago [Jesus].
What’s the connection between millions of years of evolution – the epochs of geology, ecology, and biology – and the incarnation of God into human history? How does the death and resurrection of Jesus come to bear on the elephant, lion, or reedbuck? What is salvation to these creatures? What did redemption look like 250,000 or 250,000,000 or 2.5 billion years ago?
I’ve had a growing sense that if the old age of the earth is correct, then all our language-mediated religious absolutes are really only the products of cognitively advanced mammals reflecting on more primal, originary truths about the universe. I feel that we won’t fully understand the meaning of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ until we can say what they have to do with the primordial cycles of birth, death, and evolution.
I love the question, I love the answer – of which I can now only discern the faintest outlines – and I wish life were long enough to discover the truth.