A number of recent posts among us (we should come up with some sort of cool name for our group) have dealt with either philosophy, religion, or evolution. I'm going to attempt to combine the three by posing a question I don't have a good answer for. First, I'm going to make a couple of assumptions and then ask my question.
#1) The evolutionary model is largely correct, i.e. at one point in time modern man existed as pre-modern (Neanderthal and the like).
#2) Language limits thinking in regards to the abstract, i.e. humanity as a whole cannot conceptualize something that cannot be expressed or experienced.
#3) God exists, it was not necessary for Man to invent him.
A little background on where this comes from and then the question. I've been reading Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition by Umberto Eco, CBA (certified bad-ass). The first essay, On Being, concerns itself with Eco's assorted thoughts on being. Section 1:4, How We Talk About Being starts off like this-
"Being is even before it is talked about. But we can take it from irrepressible evidence and transform it into a problem (which awaits an answer) only insofar as we can talk about it. The first opening to being is a sort of ecstatic experience, albeit in the most materialistic sense of the term, but as long as we remain in this initial, mute evidence, being is not a philosophical problem, and more than water is a philosophical problem for fish. The moment we talk about being, we are still not talking about it in its all-embracing form, because, as we have said, the problem of being (the most immediate and natural of experiences) is the least natural of our problem, the one that common sense never poses: we being to grope our way through being by carving entities out of it and gradually constructing ourselves a world."Based on the assumptions stipulated above- it would seem to me that for most of history humanity has been fundamentally unable to reconcile itself with God. Man possessed neither the cognitive capacity to recognize revelation from God, nor the ability to question the purpose of existence or recognize the inherent weirdness of existence, which to me appears to be an elemental step on the path to discovering God.
Would this imply that there is a specific point in human history where God suddenly became accessible? Is there some kind of evolutionary "age of accountability" for mankind, where God extended a grace period until his redemption became necessary? Could this be heading towards an arbitrary when did humans become fully human defintion a la the abortion debate? I wish I could wrap this up neatly and succinctly but I can't- plus I'm willing to leave it deliberately open to see where it goes...
If you don't feel you have anything to say on the topic, you could go ahead and leave a sweet name for our group!