In the above, Owen wrote:
So, I'm speculating, but my premise is that there is not an unlimited number of ways of thinking about things. And that there is nothing new under the sun. Which means that Darwinism is not something that just drops out of the sky, but that there are intellectual antecedents, not just because of direct historical influences, but because in the past people have had similar experiential conditions that led to similar concepts, because consciousness has a certain structure to it. And one constant concept would have to be the idea that perfection is not something that pre-exists but evolves and progresses over time, with history as the medium, if you will. In other words, history is a process of progressive movement from an archaic realm, advancing through stages, culminating in the present. This is the essence of Darwinism, and the implication is that we will continue to evolve and progress to a more, and more perfected state, biologically, until we overcome the need for more evolution because there will, at some critical point, no longer be a need for competition. This parallels certain Christian views of eschatology, on the one hand, and parallels the adoptionist view of Christ's divinity as something that does not pre-exist (what can that possibly mean?), but progresses over time.
The idea of progression into perfection is a wholly Christian approach to created reality, rooted in the experience of the eschatological Christ in time in the incarnation. In Christianity, 'perfection' (teleiotes
) is an eschatological, not protological, concept. It is what comes at 'the end' -- a point both explicit and obvious in the Greek term, which has as its root telos
, 'end'. There is a general imbalance in the understanding of 'perfection' in many circles today (which we've discussed several times in the past here in the Community), which forces 'problems' onto the understanding of patristic approaches that the fathers themselves did not suffer. The idea that the created realm was 'perfect' at the beginning, when God created it, and somehow became 'imperfect' through distortion, is not only something that the fathers (and the early fathers in particular) do not support, but against which they argue explicitly. All creation is inherently imperfect
, precisely because it created, and therefore growing / becoming. Its perfection is met in the eschatological Christ, in its telos
INXC, Dcn Matthew