kind of into Hobbits, so when a newspaper headline told me one had
been found on a remote
I started to wonder if fiction had turned into fact.
Did J.R. Tolkiens mythical creatures really exist some 18,000
years ago in a middle earth that has now become rain forest?
course not, but the discovery of “Homo Floresiensis”, or LB1 as it
is called, has raised the whole debate of myth and mystery again.
World famous anthropologist Desmond Morris states that this one
metre high human “hobbit” must force many religions to examine
their basic beliefs. In
fact, he is quoted as saying that “The existence of ‘mini-man’
should destroy religion.
Scientist Magazine puts it more gently.
In an article published October 27 they state that “the
discovery has been heralded as the most important
palaeoanthropological find for 50 years, and has radically altered the
accepted picture of human evolution.”
stood just about a meter tall and had a brain about the size of a
grapefruit. The radical
rethink in evolutionary theory is that LB1 was not a progression in
the human evolutionary chain, but was existent at the same time as
other human forms.
Stringer at the Natural History Museum in
states, “"It raises the whole issue of what it is to be human,
or a member of the genus Homo, and shows how little we really
know about human evolution."
may be more truth in his statement then he thinks!
I remember walking around an evolution exhibition in his museum
a few years back. It was
very well produced and extremely educational.
Except for one thing. They
kept mentioning gaps in evolutionary history for which they currently
had no explanation. What
we might call the “missing link”.
There was lots of microevolution explained there –
development within species – but no macro-evolution – no solid
evidence of a jump between species.
is hard for the proponents of the evolutionary theory – yet easier
to explain for folk like me, who see relevance, beauty and purpose in
the account of creation we find in the Book of Genesis.
Despite people like Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary
biologist, who fails to understand why religion in any form has
managed to survive Darwin, I’ve found in the beginning of the Bible an account that lets me
know that I have a purpose for existence in the Universe, and that I
have a God who still has a determined interest in me.
Wilkinson lectures in theology and
science at the
in the north of
England. He finds no
incompatibility between the discovery of LB1 and his belief in the
Christian faith – but poses what he considers the crucial question
in the whole issue: What does it mean to be human?
writes that “LB1 becomes part of this contemporary question
alongside developments in science such as human cloning and the growth
of artificial intelligence where what it means to be human is seen in
Star Trek's Mr Data and Kubrick's AI.”
then refers back to Genesis for his definition of what it means to be
overwhelming view which can be found in the early chapters of
Genesis,” he states, “is that human beings are defined in terms of
relationship, and in particular their relationship to God. Being made
in the image of God is about being given the gift of intimate
relationship with God, and a certain kind of responsibility in the
kind of responsibility seems to be what the rest of news this week
seems to be talking about. Making
wise and moral choices in elections – whether in a major economy
, or a small island like Palau. Dealing with green
issues like Global warming, the use of fossil fuels, providing
appropriate food resources. Tackling
those tricky issues of what we might call our “lack of humanity”
in the way we sometimes deal with each other – with hostage crisis,
war, and crime.
the end of Genesis 1 it tells us that God blessed our first parents
and told them to "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the Earth! And take
charge!” (Genesis 1:28 MESSAGE)
told them to “be responsible” (vs28) for all of creation and to
care for the earth so it can provide a good healthy diet – indeed
one similar to that recommended by modern nutritionists with their
five portions of fruit and veg each day (Vs 29-30).
he climaxes it with relationship.
In the beginning of chapter two – a special relationship with
God emphasized in a weekly worship cycle, and in the rest of the
chapter, a relationship, a companionship with each other.
To me, that’s what it means to be human.