Thursday, May 10, 2018

Intervention Started Early on Road to Humanity

There is a lot which early Genesis chapter one does not say about creation. The language on days five and six in particular lend one to believe God intervened personally and repeatedly in fashioning the creatures of the land and seas. Most particularly, they point towards His intervention in the formation of the human race.

Well genetic biology is not my field, but I have an acquaintance who is an expert in that and he is both a Christian and an evolutionist. He believes that God guided the process in some way undetectable by science but that evolution was the process that He used. I myself have pointed to some gray areas between theistic evolution, intelligent design and special creation but I see the text as much further on the creationist side of things with humanity in particular.

At any rate we were having a dialogue about the Cambrian Explosion. He was insisting that it was not a problem for evolution. I said the molecular clocks showed more time was needed than the fossils showed they had in order to develop 70 new phyla of life. He chalked it up to inadequacies in the fossil record from the period when soft-bodies were the thing, along with a clock that only worked on closely relate groups. I countered that perhaps it only works for closely related groups because that was as far as nature could go with evolution. The distinct groups themselves then would have come about by some sort of special creation and diversified from there.

He countered that the link between chimps and humans was very strong, which should not be so if they were not related. Previously we had had a discussion where I had thought that there was more difference than time allowed between the two genomes but I was going off of old research. The latest research "looks like" it should look if they had a common ancestor six million years ago. Did they just re-measure until they got a value that fit their biases? I am not versed enough to say so, but he is and he doesn't think so. Of course that is a measure of mostly "noise" in the genome rather than functional change, but it shows what it shows.

So I was looking for "the fingerprints of God" in the genome. Places where change happened at a rate too fast for normal evolutionary mechanisms, indicating that something else was happening. I wasn't finding it anywhere between Chimps and humans. Of course He could, and I am sure does, operate in ways both subtle and sublime. We may not be able to detect His action, even if it permeated reality under certain models. Particularly with our current level of science (or as my associate points out maybe never and if we could science still could not demonstrate it was God's doing, just an anomaly).

At any rate, I think I found it. The anomaly, the fingerprints, whatever you want to call them. Again this can't be shown scientifically to be God's action, but it can be shown to be something out of the norm. It is up to humans to ascribe meaning. In this case the big fast change did not occur between chimps and humans, but according to this study it happened between chimps and humans together vs. everything else.

Here is a sample of what they found..

Eichler's research team found an especially high rate of duplications in the ancestral species leading to chimps and humans, even though other mutational processes, such as changes in single DNA letters, were slowing down during this period. "There's a big burst of activity that happens where genomes are suddenly rearranged and changed," he says. Surprisingly, the rate of duplications slowed down again after the lineages leading to humans and to chimpanzees diverged.

Well, that sounds a lot what special creation would look like. Maybe the special creation was not a human but it was more like a "test model". One branch of the test went one way and another branch went another via the significant but not unlimited amount of evolution which can and does occur. In other words chimpanzees are not the original form but a derived form of something which was originally less adapted for living in trees. The other branch led to the hominids. Perhaps there were no more "major reorganizations" between human genomes and that of chimps because the rest of the job could be done with relatively minor tweaks in the genetic code that did not stick out from genetic background noise. Not many changes to that hominid template need be made when forming humanity, because they were already made on the changes which got us to that template.

In other words, using the chimp-human genomes to say there are nothing like Divine fingerprints to be found is just cherry-picking the data. The fingerprints are found just before that point. Does that mean this was the only place God intervened and humans just evolved from a common chimp ancestor from that point? Not at all. It could just mean that the other interventions were too "light touch" to be detected as anomalies by our present level of understanding. But we don't need to locate every fingerprint to make the case for some form of special creation. Finding a few of the big ones makes the point.

I would also say that the Christ-centered framework for early Genesis make more sense out of this possibility than traditional models. Why get some forms all the way up to "near human" before finally creating Man? In the Christ-centered model the second Person of the Trinity fused with humanity in Genesis 1:27. Whatever traits are temporarily set aside when a member of the Godhead takes bodily form would be in play, whatever limitations which may come from that would be in play. So the Logos got things prepared so that when He assumed the more anthropogenic form of God often referred to as "Yahweh" there was only so much left to do - just create and form man. He did not have to do the body part of humanity, or the DNA part, from "scratch". He just took the DNA code from the hominid line and made some tweaks. The changes in the soul and spirit part were greater, though hard to measure through science.

Understand that there is no necessity to detect God's fingerprints on creation. He could have done it all "light touch" if He wanted to. And even if we find them, we can't scientifically prove that this is what they are. Evidence is a mirror which says as much about the person viewing it as it does the natural universe. But I am in favor of looking none the less.

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