Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Man’s power of selection

Posted by Chris on March 10, 2010

Before reading, you may want to read my introduction which includes why I’m reading The Origin of Species, my scientific beliefs about evolution, and my theological beliefs about creation.  Also, click the category listed below the post for related posts.

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We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of Nature.  But Natural Selection… is a power incessantly ready for action…

Darwin spends quite a bit of time on man’s power of selection, though, as you see in the last part of the above quote, only to compare it to (what he considers to be) the superior power of Natural Selection.

Darwin gives many examples of breeders of different types of domesticated species and their ability to affect changes in a breed within a few generations.  Talented breeders bragged that they could create any physical trait if they tried.

That was a simpler world.  Today, when we speak of modified animals and food, very complicated ethical and practical questions arise.  I am going to discuss man’s power of selection to modify a stock of animals, but ask the reader to suspend modern worries and criticism of the practice and consider a pre-agricultural and pre-industrial revolution period.  The only tool for modification of species was selective breeding.

In this post, I will simply present an argument from scripture that what Darwin calls Man’s power of selection is in accord with Christian theology.  This may not surprise anyone, but my point is not to make an ethical argument, but to continue a study comparing Christian Creation theology with what I’m reading about in The Origin of Species.

In Genesis 1, God creates all things, and all are called good.  Occurring before the Fall in chapter 3, Christians believe that all things in creation are therefore inherently good.  That being said, products of God’s creation can be used for evil purposes; used with impure motives; etc… and defiled from their inherent goodness.  But if we interact with Creation as intended by God, we not only do not sin, but we do something good– we glorify God and enjoy what He made enjoyable.

In Genesis 30, Jacob puts into practice “man’s power of selection.”  He identifies strong and weak animals, and through selective mating, ensures that he gets the strongest.  (The methodology borrows from the supernatural, and Jacob is able to accomplish the feat without breeding for several generations).  The principle is the same.

I deduce that Jacob’s actions were good, and therefore “man’s power of selection” for two reasons.  First, God was with Jacob.  In fact, God enables this blessing by supernaturally aiding Jacob.  God would not aid him in sinning.  Second, because God made creation good, with the capability to be bred, and gave Adam the mandate to rule over it, man has the unique role as steward of animals.  And one way man stewards domesticated animals is by selective breeding.  In and of itself, Man’s power of selection is good.

As a summary: Man’s power of selection, that is to selectively breed animals in order to create the best stock, is good, because it is an ability that comes from God.  Furthermore, this is affirmed by the biblical precedent of Jacob in Genesis 30.

Things that come from God are good, as long as we don’t abuse them.

So far, Darwin’s theories and Creation Theology are in perfect harmony.

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One Response to “Man’s power of selection”

  1. […] I said in this post on Man’s power of selection, Creation, as originally created, is good.  1 Corinthians 6:12 is guidance of how to keep it that […]

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