Essay on Evolution, Religion, And Humanity

Essay on Evolution, Religion, And Humanity

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Evolution has long been a hot topic in the monotheistic religions of western civilization. Many scholars feel compelled to put in their two cents on many different evolution-based concepts, and on how those concepts can connect to religion. Such is the case with authors Daniel Matt and Byron Sherwin, who each offer varying ideas about evolutionary theories and how they relate to Kabbalah, Judaism, religion, and humanity as a whole.
Matt’s feelings about the scientific theory of evolution are conveyed in a rather short-but-sweet manner, in less than 70 words overall. To sum up his opinion on the matter, “The theory of evolution accords with the secrets of Kabbalah better than any other theory.” One of the central beliefs of Kabbalah is that creation was originally flawed, and that we must be in a constant state of improving ourselves, to try to acquire the perfection God initially intended for us. This coincides perfectly with the theory of evolution, according to Matt. According to evolutionary scientists, all species have been in a state of constant self-improvement since the beginning of life itself. Scientifically speaking, populations evolve when those individuals who are randomly born with beneficial genetic mutations reproduce offspring who also have those beneficial mutations--and so the strong individuals multiply, and the species as a whole finds itself better adapted to its environment. In another way, Kabbalists who take it upon themselves to practice Tikkun olam (repair of the world) are consciously attempting to help all of creation evolve to be better. In the creation story, it is also said that “the earth was formless and void,” implying that some kind of material was already there, but had not yet taken the shape o...

... middle of paper ..., biological evolution coincides perfectly with Kabbalistic ideas of the repair/improvement of the world. “How can one despair, seeing that everything evolves and ascends?” he says. He focuses on improvement for improvement’s sake, returning the world to the perfection that God intended, to please God and to enrich our own lives. To Sherwin, the evolution of creation has had the ultimate goal of bringing about the perfect conditions for the Messiah’s arrival. In Sherwin’s description of Lurianic Kabbalah, we also find ideas about individual evolution. Transmigration provides people with second chances, to improve their situations in life and to improve themselves spiritually--evolving over many different lifetimes. To Sherwin, Matt, and countless other scholars, evolution is strongly connected to many mystical beliefs, in ways that are both scientific and symbolic.

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