"Oh, there's several different kinds of humans," my late friend replied that day as we stood talking about science and history at the Universalist Church in Stockton, Illinois. It seems like another lifetime ago, probably because my life was quite the opposite of today in terms of living circumstances, and also the fact that my friendly associate has been long dead. But what I loved about our conversation was that we remained theistic. While mainstream religions feel threatened or offended by the facts of evolution, Hellenists like myself see no reason why it should disturb our religious beliefs.
In fact, the topic of evolution does sometimes make me wonder how the Gods did it in terms of making humans as we know them. The process of evolvement is clearly one of intelligence and intent, because there are direct circumstantial responses, beyond the control of the species, all across the world and the animal kingdom. As for us, we are not chimps or apes because chimps and apes still exist. Rather, we are our own brand of the ancestral primates. At some point, we diverged from the chimps and the like, and came into our own. We can see where we came from, but our DNA is still human in the larger picture. Why? Or rather, how?
What if, instead of creating us wholly as we are now, and as some may believe, the Gods split the DNA lines? After all, we were the last of the major animals to be made. What if Zeus said, "All of these beings are wonderful, but we would like one that looks like us?" And Prometheus replied, "In order to do that, we'll have to split the lines, and it will take some time." I imagine Prometheus taking the lines and Zeus or Hephaistos raising their lighting bolt or mallet and smashing them in a thunder that shattered the general course of animal life. It was certainly an extraordinary action and process that changed not only the world, but the universe, as no other mortal being can do the things that we do, nor accomplish the feats we have accomplished.
Then, once we reached our human form as we know it, the Ages of Man under Zeus began. We might also entertain the idea that it's not over yet. Evolution doesn't actually stop; we're still changing in some ways, but hopefully for the better. It's the intelligent and necessary process that the Gods have put into play, not just for us, but all life. It's never shocked my theistic worldviews. In fact, the more I learn about evolution, the more proof I find of the Gods.
In fact, in his Origin of Species, I think Darwin said it best, "I see no good reason why this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone."
In the Goodness of Olympos,
Courage and Honor,