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Evolution, Meaning and Purpose

In recent decades, especially in America, a new approach called Intelligent Design is vigorously fighting for its place in the educational curriculum. The proponents of this outlook are Christians who accept the possibility of the biological, Darwinian evolution, but propose that on the fundamental level evolution is guided by Divine Providence. The strength of their argument lies in the fact that there are just too many anthropic coincidences in the natural world and so many ingenious solutions in the physiology of the animal and human body that this life abundant planet cannot possibly be just a result ofluck. This view is more compatible with the esoteric notion of the Logos who shape and guide the evolution of form, for the purposes of realization of consciousness.


According to theBibleGod created the world in six days - in six distinct phases which seem to logically follow from each other. The question is why in six days, why not instantaneously? Surely an omnipotent God could snap his fingers and create the whole world at once. So here we arrive at the core philosophical argument: Genesis describes a process of unfoldment; God was building the world by starting with basic constituents and then creating more complex forms.

This causal and gradual development is intrinsic to the very notion of evolution. The word evolution comes from Latinevolvereto unfold, which in turn comes fromvolveremeaning to roll. Thus evolution is an unrolling of an idea or of the possibilities inherent in Nature. According to the Bible, the primal cause of the world was an Idea or Plan in the mind of God which was not realised instantaneously butgradually, hence it can be said that evolution is the second nature of Genesis.

Genesis clearly separates each day and specifies what God has done in that time period. If we compare this series of events with what modern science believes today we may discover quite interestingcoincidences. There seem to be a clear correlation between Genesis and the scientific theory as to how life on Earth evolved. This may suggest that the writer of these passages either had a very good intuition or was advised by a higher intelligence.

The fact that Genesis describes the creation of Earth in six stages and that these stages correlate well enough with the scientific theories, may lead to a conclusion that theBibleessentially is not against evolution, but rather for it, in its own way. Thus the real difference between Genesis and the modern scientific theory is not whether evolution exists but why it has happened.

The question why is a very difficult question for science and unfortunately a question which religion often oversimplifies by deferring it to an authoritarian God.Ageless Wisdom, on the other hand, threads the middle path and neither avoids the problem of why nor does it try to explain it away by simple notions. Itappeals to the deeper wisdom in ourselves - the very wisdom which can interpret the ancient scriptures in the light of spiritual intuition.

Is it possible contemplate evolution without asking why did it happened and is there any purpose behind it?Inanimate forms or matter as conceived by science, cannot have a purpose on their own. Only an entity which has a desire and volition can conceive purpose.

If evolution has a purpose, it implies that there is somebody or something sentient that drives it towards a goal. Official science denies any purpose to evolution as a whole because it believes that the whole cannot have its own nature, only the nature of its constituent parts, which are perceived as inanimate. However, in a top-down theory of the Universe the idea that human being is somehow destined to appear and that the very laws of the Universe may contain, implicitly, the blueprint of man, does stimulate imagination of some academics, but it has too strong spiritual connotations to be officially accepted by orthodox science.
Considering the etymological meaning of the word evolution i.e. unrolling of an idea or possibility, it appears that at present, science does not accept that there is anything really there to unroll in the biological world as a whole, hence maybe the word evolution is not the best choice to describe the very process it denotes. Science, perhaps, should invent a new word like random-lution?
The Spiritual Tradition teaches that the biological evolution, with its amazing complexity and diversity of life, provides a vehicle for the Spirit to experience itself personified in the myriad of forms and thus advance in the process of being and becoming. Each life form, by the virtue of its structure and correspondences, can awake some latent qualities of the Spirit that inhabits it.

Apparently, life on earth looks far more as a creative exploration of all possible modes of physical manifestation, within the laws of nature, than a consequence of a mere struggle for survival.

Life has a meaning, but is there a sufficient meaning just in the will to survive? Though an entity has to exist first before it can search for its meaning, only through consciousness, which is the subjective sentient nature of any being, can purpose and fulfilment be conceived and experienced. Therefore to exist is not enough, which is why evolution can never be solely based on the instinct for survival - it is based on the desire to express ones potential and become fully conscious of it. In other words there is no point in surviving if one cannot feelone's own existence.

The great leap in understanding of the world will happen when the notion of evolution is linked to the potential of Nature and when sentience is recognised as a basic property of all matter. Sentience has to be there from the very beginning in some form in order to be more potently demonstrated in human beings. Perhaps we are here because the Universe wanted to explore its potential and reflect on itself?

Many thinkers all around the world have realised that the logical and philosophical implications of the fact that evolution has occurred, lead to a vision of a meaningful and purposeful Universe. However, the very notion of evolution as a meaningful unfolding of some idea is rejected by the mainstream science.So, today, we are arriving at a prospect where science shuns away from the logical and philosophical implications of evolution while religion, even Christianity, is beginning to enthusiastically embrace it through the Intelligent Design theory. Genesis, if not taken too literally, actually supports evolution - the natural selection is gradually guided by the Spirit, towards the goal of Self-Realisation on individual, group and Cosmic level.