It was a pleasant evening. I was sitting in my recliner chair along with my Mother in our balcony gazing at the trees in our apartment. It was then she pointed out a small, camouflaged collection of leaves bound together with some sort of glue making a nest type structure. We both started to wonder about the skill and thinking capacity of the red ants who had built that structure. It was their home. As I looked closer into it, I realised that they had made sure the water from the rains would not penetrate the outer walls of the nest. The planning was on point. Camouflaged properly amidst leaves so that the predators would overlook it. Home sweet home. A tiny organism with the abilities of a modern day architect. This blew wind on a spark inside me which was suppressed for a long time. I asked myself that why would God make the ants so intelligent? Why would he put so much of his energy just so that ants get the necessary thinking capabilities which would help them survive in nature? This is not only limited to ants or this one scenario. There are millions of species of plants and animals on Earth and millions of each kind. Each one has their own characteristics, colour, habitat, skin type, teeth set and food preferences. Is all of this part of God’s massive blue print for life? If so, why? Why follow a pattern? Why fill the butterflies with so many colours and designs? Why put so many scale patterns on so many different types of snakes?
I hadn’t given much thought about all of this. But that changed when I attended a lecture in Vishveshwaraiah Museum, Bangalore, where one of the speakers uttered two words that would make me re-think about life as we know it. Evolution and Creation. Two small, yet powerful words having a huge amount of theories and experiments behind each one of them. Then it was just an interesting topic to think about in my spare time. But during the course of time, I came to understand that those two weren’t just words but were two different understandings of our existence. I wouldn’t call it two faces of the same coin just yet. Our history, our beginning, the very inception of life, reality and universe falls into either one of these two mega classifications. Let me be clear; I am not taking sides or saying one is true and other is not. I am also not condemning, undermining or questioning any theories related to any God, religion or cult whatsoever. The ability to think is one of the pivotal characteristics which differs us from other animals. I am just putting it into good use.
Creationism is something which says that the Universe had a beginning and it was due to a supernatural force/entity. All over the world, there are so many religions and faith groups which have their own theories of creation. Obviously religion, God and creationism go hand in hand. Each one of them has a different belief as to how the universe was created and how life was started. From the Mayans in America till the Australian aboriginals, every group of people have a theory which accredits the creation of life to some or the other deity. Some theories might as well seem overlapping but with different characters and POV. For example, Islam and Christianity have theories which are convincingly close and point to the same source of creation. Hinduism has a different approach all together which says about a three fold plan for creation, livelihood and destruction of life. Some of these theories might, at some point of time, involve a black box. The closer we get to the source, the lesser the chance we will get a convincing answer and at some point, we will have to stop asking questions. Singularity. How was Noah able to build such a big ship? How did he manage to gather all the species at one place? Or who was Zeus and what was his origin? Again, a point of singularity, beyond which there is no light. Yep, just like a black hole. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit. If we aren’t supposed to ask certain questions, why do we even have the ability to think and reason? Again, don’t think of me as a Neo-Atheist. Nowhere it has been written that religious people aren’t supposed to reason or rationalize. Many of these theories across the Globe come dangerously close to threatening the laws of physics. I don’t see why Theology and Physics shouldn’t complement each other. After all, why would God create something which would contradict the entire understanding at some point? I agree that this is a very vast and complex matter with very little hope of getting an answer. After all, the secret of life has been one of the most intriguing mysteries which has baffled thinkers from ages. It still does. We don’t have to dig deep to find all these theories on creationism. Just open a religious text from any religion and it will contain everything about the beliefs related to it. A lot of questions and a lot more understandings when it comes to creationism.
Evolution, on the other hand, has a pattern. Some of the earliest philosophers who theorised about evolution were Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Charles Darwin. Both came up with their own arguments about evolution and this was something which would be easy to comprehend by us. The outline of most of the evolution theories is that life started as the result of chemical reactions in the form of a single cell in some deep corner of the ocean. Through genetic mutation over the course of millions of years, different plants and animals came into existence. Something which is in accord with laws of science. So does this mean I believe evolution trumps over creation? As Leonardo DiCaprio said in Wolf of Wall Street, Absolutely not. Take a step back. Think about the first cell which came into existence and which supposedly marked the beginning of life. The bottom line? It was just a chemical reaction. How? How did the chemical reaction take place? Atoms? Nucleus? How deep can we go? Who or what orchestrated it? We are back to the singularity. Darwin’s laws go as far as what we have achieved in understanding about our nature. Go further back in time. The Big Bang. What happened then? What was there before? Was there life before the Big Bang? Again, too many questions with multiple understandings. Evolution may seem more convincing and rational compared to creation but if we dig deep enough, we will find the same question mark we found at the end of creation. Or should I say the beginning of creation?
The ideal scenario however, would be finding a middle ground between these two notions. Hypothetically speaking also, there might exist a point where both of the beliefs would be linked. The end of the tunnel. One of the instances where I came across a possible link between these two worlds was while watching Westworld. Ford explains the ‘Creation of Adam’ painting by Michelangelo to Dolores by calling it a lie. “The divine gift isn’t something which came from a higher power, but from our own mind”.
Almost after 500 years, we began to realise that the part which depicts God seemed very much like the human brain suggesting that creation of life might as well be something from within. Definitely more than meets the eye. Michelangelo was a thinker and a hidden perspective such as this can be expected of someone with his intellect and artistic stature. Middle ground? Possibly. Humans have a unique gift of pattern recognition. Go back in time again. Vedic ages in India. Sri Shankaracharya, a renowned Hindu religious leader who has also said to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, had made a bold and powerful statement many years ago. Aham Brahmasmi, which roughly translates to the supreme power is within. You connect the dots. Two different people of different parts of the world suggesting the same thing in a rather subtle way. For all we know, this could be the middle ground which would answer our questions. We might not even be evolved enough to comprehend the truth. Sometimes the more we look, the less we see. Take the human body for example. You can get the accurate chemical composition of our body in any other biology textbook. So that’s it? Carbon, Iron, Calcium is that it? Is that what life is made of? What about our conscious? What about our feelings? What are they comprised of? Someday we might be able to find an answer for all of this and more. Someday we might be able to decode the singularity of origin of life. Not just theories but facts and conclusive proofs. Someday our entire understanding might change. We might start looking everything that has happened in the past in a different way and anticipate everything that will happen in the future with a different hope.
Creation. Evolution. What do you want to believe?