Two Sides of Original Nature

Humans have long contended and struggled with the two sides of our nature.  Theologically speaking, there is Ireneaus’ and St. Augustine’s “Original Sin,” and more recently Matthew Fox’s “Original Blessing.”  ImageScripture tells us that all of creation, including humans, was created “good.”  But after eating from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, humans and therefore the rest of creation “fell” from the original created “goodness.”  Preston Harold riffs on this dichotomy from the evolutionary viewpoint:

If man is in bondage to his original nature, he is bound to expression in material being, for he was raised up from matter, from cosmic dust – and he is bound to immortality as is the one-cell creature.  Ardrey says: ‘If man is a part of the natural world, then he possesses as do all other species a genetic inheritance from an ancestry as long as life itself.’  Man can use his big brain to attenuate the errors he has acquired throughout his evolutionary journey so that in time knowledge of them will serve to inoculate him against their deadly peril.  He appears to have just enough of Cain’s virulent strain within him and more than enough brain power to do this.  If he is bound to his original nature, he is bound to whatever it is that caused him, alone among all creatures, to speak the one original word, “I.”  And he is bound to that which Ardrey offers as his one redeeming feature: 

‘The command to love is as deeply buried in our nature as the command to hate.’

Harold then goes on to indirectly invoke the preamble to the Gospel of John and the prophecies of Isaiah and Joel :

Through the guidance of the Self-presence that gives man the power of the word, “I,” the power of speech, and the power of love, of truth, Imagehe may come in time to lay down and beat into “ploughshares” his perfected weapons – a move unprecedented, save in his own history.  Once, long ago, he relinquished weapons, his fighting canines, and picked up a tool.  And again he may make this move, a move “irrational” in the “view” of any other creature, for “rationality” has led all others to evolve and perfect their means of offense and defense and then to utilize these means to the fullest extent.

In our next post we will continue to explore man’s irrationality.  Until then, peace…

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