Celia Deane-Drummond: The Lost Soul of Homo – Humility, Wisdom & Technology in Deep Evolutionary Time

Date(s) - June 5, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Regent College Chapel

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This lecture addresses some recent archaeological discoveries about early hominins in order to think theologically about their inner probable mental world. I will argue that one of the features that must have arisen in deep evolutionary time when considering one of the earliest technologies of stone tool making was that of humility, that ability to exercise self-constraint in the context of a community of others. I will discuss what humility means in biblical terms and compare this with humility as discussed in the work of medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas. The experience of infused humility can be understood as a theological enhancement of that self-awareness and takes self-reflection a step further, by considering that humility as directly infused by God. This implies, further, that not all humility is necessarily explicitly tied into reasoning capacities that may not have been so well developed at this stage in human evolution. There are also faint traces of expressions of long-term and faithful compassion and wisdom left behind in the hominin archaeological record, with long-term compassion arising first. Such discussions raise intriguing questions about human origins, the experience of encounter with God or a sense of the divine, and the particular capacities of humans as they began to create distinctly social worlds with concomitant moral capacities. Respondent: Dr. Craig Gay, Regent College.

Dr. Deane-Drummond’s research interests are in the engagement of systematic and moral theology and the biological sciences, including specifically ecology, evolution, genetics, animal behavior, psychology and evolutionary anthropology. She is joint editor of the international journal Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences. She has been Chair of the European Forum for the Study of Religion and Environment since 2011 and is honorary visiting Professor in Theology and Science at the University of Durham. She has published over two hundred scholarly theology and scientific articles or book chapters and twenty five books as editor or author. She has most recently published Technofutures, Nature and the Sacred, ed. with Sigurd Bergmann and Bronislaw Szerszynski (2015), Ecology in Jürgen Moltmann’s Theology, 2nd edition (2016), and Religion in the Anthropocene, edited with Sigurd Bergmann and Markus Vogt (2017).

This lecture is part of our 2018 Summer Evening Public Lecture Series.


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