Thoughts on Evolution and the Sin in Eden: A New Christian Synthesis (1998) 02

This blog on Zimmerman’s synthesis belongs to “the science of Original Sin” theme.

In chapter 1, Zimmerman contemplates the relation between speech and revelation.  He noted that the image of Adam and Eve as speaking and monogamous puts both traits at the origin (as does An Archaeology of the Fall).  This image means that Adam and Eve were not children.  They also were not like hominids without language. They were aware of the meaning of the words that the Lord spoke.  They also did not have genitalia at the service of reason.  They were in love, whether or not they had figured out a way to consummate the desire.  And eventually, they would have performed the deed.

Zimmerman is fascinated with the idea of speech.  After all, speech, rather than monogamy (or sex, for that matter) is both medium and player in the Story of the Fall.

Zimmerman notes how language indicates an immaterial soul, how thought anchors itself in speech, and how God revealed himself through speech.  In addition, language would have been necessary to transmit the revelation inherent in the Fall.  These indications imply that Adam and Eve knew right from wrong.  They were responsible.  Just like us.

How did the human capacity for speech evolve?  Here, Zimmerman writes before the year 2012, because for him, speech and language are the same.  He does not consider the evolution of talk as different from the evolution of language.  He focuses on the evolution of the vocal tract, referring to the work of Philip Lieberman and arguing that speech had certain qualities not found in any other form of animal communication, such as the rapidity in which syllables may be transmitted.  These qualities not only gave speech an adaptive value, but also set the stage for a radical innovation, Eden, where God would give us something mind-boggling to talk about:  Revelation.