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What is the Origin of Man

What is the Origin of Man

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Published by Al-Amin Ibn Akhter

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Published by: Al-Amin Ibn Akhter on Jun 20, 2013
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What is the Origin of Man?
The Answers of Science and the Holy ScripturesDr Maurice Bucaille
Man has pondered his origins for thousands of years, but until recently, his only source of ideas consisted of notions drawn from religious teachings and various philosophical systems. Not until modern times, and thearrival of data of a different kind, has he been able to approach the problem of his origins from a new angle.We live in a time where reason and the conquests of science claim to provide logical answers to all the greatquestions asked by the human intellect. Likewise, the problem of the origin of man has primarily been presented by some as a matter that can be perfectly explained by secular knowledge. Darwin's
On the Origin of Species 
,which appeared in England in 1859, enjoyed a great success with the public, and during the years that followed.,it became clear just how significant was the effect of a theory which, as far as the origin of man was concerned,did little more than offer suggestions. A basic hostility toward religious teachings already existed, however, andin Darwin's theory, people saw what seemed to be a decisive argument: Through what appeared to be a logicalassimilation, they felt free to postulate that man was descended from the apes. This went beyond Darwin'stheory, however, for by extrapolation, such people had managed to assert that, just as other species must havecome from a different, pre-existing species, so man must have appeared on earth as the result of an evolutionfrom a neighbouring lineage in the animal kingdom.This statement concerning the origins of man came as a profound shock to all those who remained faithful to theteachings of the Bible, for they believed that man was created by God. Moreover, the very idea of the evolutionof species contradicted the words of the Bible, which stated quite clearly that the species were fixed andimmutable. Secular theory and religious teaching were at odds, and the consequences of this confrontation werefar reaching indeed. It was maintained that the Bible until that time considered to be the word of God had beenfound wrong. Credence could no longer be given to it, and for many, that meant rejection of the entire text of theBible. As a result, the theory gained ground that scientific data undermined the faith in God.At first glance, this argument seems logical, but it does not hold water today because when talking of theBiblical texts, we now possess certain facts that were only beginning to be discovered at the end of thenineteenth century. The idea of a text of revelation to be accepted without questioning a single sentence gaveway to the notion of a text inspired by God. The text of inspiration was written by mortal men at different pointsin time, it took its cue from ideas of the day, and included the traditions, myths and superstitions prevalent at thetime it was written. "The scientific errors in the Bible are the errors of mankind, for long ago man was like achild, as yet ignorant of science:" This quotation from the work of the eminent Christian thinker Jean Guitton(1978) leads us to view the texts of the Bible from an angle very different from what was once the rule.Indeed, the texts referred to here were consistently, thought to have been written by Moses himself. In actual
fact however the longest part of Genesis: „(the Sacerdotal narrative)‟ was written by priests in the sixth century
B.C. There is, however, a second narration, the Yahvist version, that probably dates back to the ninth or tenthcentury B.C. In view of this, it is difficult to take archaic ideas seriously. I have given a detailed account of thisquestion in `La Bible, le Coran et la Science' [
The Bible, the Qur'an and Science 
[Published by Seghers, Paris, 9th edition, 1983,Also available in English from the same publisher.]
, and if we add to it ideas put forward on the texts by Christian exegetesthemselves, we may conclude that there is no need' to prolong the antagonism between the supremacy of scientific fact and the primacy of Biblical teachings.Later on, we shall see that the situation is quite different for other Scriptures, on account of their origin as wellas their content. Here again, however, the age-old antagonism between religion and science is no longer  justified. Nevertheless, the fact remains that many scientists continue to view with disdain or at least with indifferenceany comment that touches on the supernatural, an attitude which appears to have hardened over the last fewdecades: Science is the key to everything, and sooner or later it must reveal facts that will enable us to form anexact picture of the origins of life, the formation and functioning of living matter; the appearance on earth of organisms ranging from the most basic to the most complex, and last but not least, the origins of man. In view of this, we may well ask whether religious teachings have not been superseded by progress. How indeed can wefail to be impressed by the stupendous discoveries of modern times particularly in molecular biology and

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