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Man, Origin and Nature


I. Introduction - II. The Phases of the Evolution of Human Beings. 1. Basic Scientific Data and Methodology . 2. The Oldest Hominids: the Australopithecines . 3. Forms of Homo Habilis . 4. The Homo Erectus . 5. The Appearance of Homo Sapiens . - III. Culture revelas what is Human in Humans. 1. Biological Novelties and Cultural Discontinuity . 2. Evidence for Projectuality and Symbolism . 3. The Problem of the Human Threshold and the Origin of Culture. - IV. The Emergence of " Homo Religiosus " . 1. Different Approaches to the Issue of Human Religiousness . 2. Symbolic Activity, Spiritual Sense and Religious Sense . 3. The Burials of Primitive Men . 4. Art and Religion in the Paleolithic Era . - V. The Origin of Human Beings, Theories of Evolution and Biblical Revelation. 1. Creation and Evolution . 2. God's Project for Creation: Finality or Chance? 3. The Appearance of the Human Being and its Spiritual Dimension.

I. Introduction

It is by comparing themselves to nature around them that human beings can note their natural connection to the animal world, with which they share most of their vital functions. Yet they realize, at the same time, they are unique and emerging over the rest of the natural world. Human beings are the subject of a specific phenomenology which belongs to them only, and whose origin raises crucial questions when considered in the context of their habitat, of the entire planet Earth, and in the larger scenario of the physical universe. From the phenomenological point of view, the uniqueness and the emergence of the human race become visible in many ways. Think of the capacity humans have to adapt their habitat to themselves, according to specific intentions and projects, and to adapt themselves to it in the most convenient way; their language, which allows them to communicate through universal and symbolic forms of communication, and develop abstract thought despite the concreteness and the immediateness of their instinctive life; their capacity to understand the natural world, whose behavior they are able to predict and transform according to their needs; their restless search for further knowledge and deliberate targets, which gives rise to their  history. Yet the uniqueness of human beings emerges clearly from their capacity to produce culture and, especially, from their religious dimension, which has led them to wonder about the meaning of their existence, the freedom and morality of their actions, the beginning and the end of all things.

Since the dawn of the classical age, philosophy has attributed the reason of such emergence to the presence, in human beings, of a spiritual soul transcending matter. This placed them in a condition of uniqueness compared to any other animals, which led to Aristotle's definition of the human being as a "rational animal" (Lat. animal rationalis). Although their meanings may be radically different from one another, the "tales of origins" told in the different religions worldwide speak of a connection between the world of humans and a divine dimension, from which they may well have originated. In the Judaaeo-Christian Revelation, humankind's uniqueness and emergence prove to be a consequence of their being created in the image and likeness of God. The sense of their dignity is further developed in the New Testament, that teaches all human beings are predestined to conform to the image of Jesus Christ, the God-made-man, whose incarnation and redemption are the final revelation and accomplishment of the truth of man.

The study of the historical reconstruction of the appearance and development of human beings on Earth through paleoanthropology, biology, ethnology, and the various disciplines connected to them, has long fostered the debate between religion and science, especially from the 19th century on. Scholars began to understand that this reconstruction ought to be based on an evolutionary frame made of long development and slow transformations. In Western culture the debate focused on the confrontation between the biblical tale on the origins of humankind and scientific data, and on the attempt to find a common ground for them. The present article aims at analyzing this issue according to a paleoanthropological and evolutionary framework, in order to point out the biological and cultural identity of the human species and tackle the philosophical and theological opinions on the issue. Complementary, interdependent itineraries will be covered by other entries in this Encyclopedia. As it happens for the confrontation between science and faith in other disciplines, such as cosmology, the paths followed by science to find an explanation for "the origins" should not be considered as a dialectic alternative to what human beings have learnt about "their origins" through sources and methods different from experimental science.

II. The Phases of the Evolution of Human Beings

1. Basic Scientific Data and Methodology. The research on the origins of humankind has been enriched with many considerations, especially in the field of paleontology. They provided new basis for the understanding of the evolutionary patterns preparing the appearance of human beings on Earth, which occurred rather late in the history of the living beings. The precursors of the Vertebrates are recognized to be life forms inhabiting our planet in the Cambrian period, about 500 million years ago. The earliest forms of fish developed 450 million years ago, while the earliest Amphibians and Reptiles appeared 350 million years ago. Starting 200 million years ago, the Tertiary Era was characterized by the development of Reptiles, Mammals and Birds. The earliest forms of Primates date back to about 65 million years ago. It was only late in the Tertiary period (about 3-4 million years ago) that one of the branches of the Primates evolved into humans. Although it is impossible to answer all the questions raised on the origins of human beings, the paleontological records brought to light in the last 150 years provide the basis for an evolutionary theory, which appears to be solidly established. In this context, the analogies suggested by morphology and compared physiology of living beings, to which  Darwin and other 19th-century evolutionists resorted, are only one of the elements suggesting biological and human evolution. Human fossils as well as molecular genetic and biochemical evidence demonstrate the existence of early life forms, which developed before and prepared the present living beings.

Even though evolution, as an event, is supported by many elements, a completely satisfactory explanation of the causes and mechanisms underlying it has not been found yet. Darwinism is often mistaken for a synonym of evolution or theory of evolution. Even the modern version (or "modern synthesis") of Darwinism, holding that random and thus fortuitous genetic mutations and natural selection are the mechanisms ensuring evolution, is only one of the possible explanations for given moments in the evolutionary process. Although it may sound well-based from a microevolutionary point of view, nonetheless it appears to be unsatisfactory as far as evolution as a whole is concerned, with particular reference to the privileged directions it took, for which further mechanisms are being searched.

As regards the appearance of human beings, the theory of evolution is supported by a large number of documents giving evidence to a long path characterized by more and more complex life forms which unfortunately became extinct. Along this path, the remains of living beings that have been found displaying features that are more and more similar to humans. They could thus be associated to the ancestors of humankind. Paleontology aims at detecting the evolutionary line that led to the earliest human life forms and, through different phases, to the present human beings. Although this line, which should be further investigated, shows a sort of multilinear, network-like trend, it is likely to have developed from a single African stock (monophyletism), notably after the appearance of the earliest human life form. Moreover, paleontology investigates the mechanisms and modes underlying evolution, with particular attention to the changes in the environment.

2. The Oldest Hominids: the Australopithecines. It was in the environment of the African savannah, east of the great "Rift Valley," that the "Australopithecines," the earliest hominids of the Pliocene, developed about 4-5 million years ago, starting off the evolutionary line that led to human beings. They were bipeds, however defective their bipedism may have been. Their long upper limbs, observed especially in the earliest individuals, and the joints of limb segments, show they were familiar with the woody environment. Their craniums were not larger than that of present-day African anthropomorphic monkeys. Their earliest forms are well-known thanks to various remains found in Afar, Ethiopia (Australopithecus afarensis, 3,2 million years ago, known as Lucy ), in Laetoli, Tanzania (3,6 million years), in Aramis, Ethiopia ( Australopithecus ramidus , 4,4 million years), in Allia Bai and Kanapoi, Kenya (Australopithecus anamensis , 3,9 million years), in Bahr-el-gazahl, Chad (Australopithecus bahrelgazalensis, 3,2 million years ago) and even in South Africa (3,2 million years). These have proven to be archaic forms of Australopithecines.

Other remains suggest there were also Australopithecines with a weaker body, such as those found in southern Africa (Taung, Sterkfontein Makapansgat) spanning a period from 3 to 2 million years ago, and robust Australopithecines, as shown by the remains found both in southern Africa (robust Australopithecines from Swartkrans and Kromdraai) and in eastern Africa (Australopithecus Boisei and Ethiopian Australopithecus), spanning a period from 2,6 and 1,8 million years ago. The earliest Australopithecines, were bipeds too, but they could climb trees easily. The remains of robust individuals feature a strong masticatory system suggesting they must have eaten extremely tough food, while the gracile group must have followed a more flexible and opportunist diet. Among the remains dating back to the period in which the latest Australopithecines had lived (2,5 million years ago), a mention goes to chipped stones which, however, are unlikely to be the outcome of systematic, progressive flint working as in the case of Homo habilis. This is the reason why the objects used or handled in those times were attached with a completely different meaning, as opposed to the objects related to human beings. It could be defined as a form of "pre-culture", even though Australopithecines have never been considered human beings. Yet, while it seems that the Australopithecus anamensis species was definitely biped and that, according to some authors, it could be connected to the evolutionary line of human beings, others prefer to connect it to the Australopithecus afarensis .

3. Forms of Homo Habilis. The debate is still on going to establish to what form of Australopithecines (African, Anamensis or Afarensis) the Homo habilis, i.e. the next step in the evolutionary line, is connected. As from 2,5 - 2 million years ago, a group of Hominids lived in eastern and southern Africa at the same time as Australopithecines. The individuals belonging to the new group, though, stood out from the others for their bigger brain and the traces they left of a rudimental civilization. They are called Homo habilis , whose remains were found in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa. A piece of jaw, which may have belonged to a Homo habilis living around 2,5 million years ago, has recently been unearthed in Malawi; if confirmed, this fact gives evidence of a quite ancient migration from eastern Africa to South Africa. The species was called Homo habilis due to the development of their cranial capacity and the presence of forms of manual skill. Tobias (1991) claims that their cranial capacity improved by more than 40% compared to the previous species, reaching about 700 cc for Homo habilis from Olduvai and 800 cc for Homo rudolfensis, the form with the highest cranial capacity found in Turkana. In addition to the remains, hand-worked pebbles have been found chipped along the margin of one or both sides ( chopper and chopping tools ). They are the earliest evidence of allegedly intentional stone carving which, according to numerous scholars, appears to express a level of intellect corresponding to that of human beings.

Along with the presence of Homo habilis , also territorial organization has been found: researchers identified areas corresponding to huts built and used by men for different reasons: dwelling, flintstone carving or food distribution. Of considerable interest is also the level of development achieved in the regions of brain associated with articulated language (the Broca area for the relevant muscles and the Wernike area for language understanding). It is the endocranial cast, where the first brainprints were taken, which gave these results. In many authors' opinions, these elements show that the Homo habilis species was undoubtedly human.

4. Homo Erectus. As early as 1,6 million years ago in Africa life forms having a higher cranial capacity but featuring, however, a certain roughness, start to become evident. Despite the finds unearthed in eastern Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania), we know that they soon spread both northwards and southwards moving farther to Eurasia, where they went on evolving for hundreds of thousands of years. Although it may lead to misunderstandings, the adjective erectus did not refer to any functional feature, as if they had acquired the upright posture. Instead, it revokes the ancient fossils of Pithecanthropus erectus discovered in Java in the late 19th century, including a typically human femur and a rather primitive skull. The name of Homo ergaster has recently been proposed for the earliest African forms of Homo erectus. All the human fossils dating back to some 200,000 - 100,000 years ago, when their characteristics gave promise of developing into Homo sapiens, are classified as Homo erectus. Not only did they have a stronger skull than Homo habilis , with massive occipital and supraorbital bony ridges, but they also showed an expansion of cranial capacity (from 800 cc. to 1100 cc.). Furthermore, their civilization proved to be more advanced: bifacial industries, pebble carving, and stone chipping, in addition to " Levallois " artifacts, dated to a later stage in their evolution.

From the cradle of eastern Africa, where Homo erectus ' remains were found in Ethiopia and Kenya, namely in the surroundings of Lake Turkana and in Tanzania, they diffused throughout South Africa (Swartkrans, Saldanha, Rhodesia) and northern Africa: Ternifine (Atlanthropus), Thomas, Salè, Sidi-abder-rhaman, Rabat. In ancient times, however, the Homo erectus species had already migrated to Asia and Europe. The most famous Asian remains are the Pithecanthropus fossils unearthed in Java from 1891 on. The Pithecanthropus finds have deeply influenced human paleontology. The remains brought to light in Java are traced back to a period spanning from Lower to Upper Pleistocene and feature various morphologies. Among them are some human remains showing a primitive aspect, peculiar to the African branch of Homo erectus enriched with endemic characteristics. On the dating of the earliest remains (some 1,9 to 1,2 million years ago) consensus has not yet been reached despite their clear connections to the African forms, whose origins are currently believed to be lost in antiquity. By carrying out a compared analysis on these finds and the remains of the so called Sinanthropus uncovered in Cho-Kou-Tien, Beijing, since 1929, and in other Chinese regions (Longtandong, Jinniushan, Yuanmou, Yiyuan, Yiunxian, ecc.), it is possible to observe that their evolution occurred on a regional scale according to its own stages and rhythms to culminate in the archaic Homo sapiens species living in the same Asian regions some 200,000 to 100,000 years ago.

As far as Europe is concerned, recent discoveries trace the appearance of Homo erectus earlier in time compared to past studies. Classified under the name of Homo heidelbergensis, they are characterized by the Mauer mandible, which dates back to about 600,000 years ago. In Dmanisi, Georgia, a jaw was found and traced back to 1,2 million years ago. In Cipriano, Latium, Italy, a skull of Homo erectus was found and dated to 800,000 years ago. A number of human fossils unearthed in Atapuerca, Spain, attest to the presence of human beings in the Iberian peninsula during the same period. Although they descend from the African branch of Homo erectus, they differ from it in several characteristics, which is why this form was named Homo antecessor. They are likely to have been the ancestors of Homo heidelbergensis, as well as of "Neanderthal men", and of the modern form of Homo sapiens. Apart from the phyletic connections existing between the earliest forms, the presence of Homo erectus in Europe is conclusively proved by the remains found in different areas (Tautavel, Bilzinsgleben, Petralona, Steinheim, Swanscombe, Montmaurin, Fontèchèvade, Castel di Guido, ecc.) and dating from various periods up to early Neanderthal forms around 100,000 years ago.

The culture of Homo erectus, however, attests to an unmistakable human level. Lithium industries, i.e. bifacial tools and splinters, show intentional shaping aimed at a given plan. The Acheulean artifacts from the Lower Paleolithic period have been accurately shaped on both sides and on the edges with finishing touches. Apart from their mere functionality, it is worth focusing on the concept of symmetry these tools express. Similarly, splinter fashioning gives evidence to the will to improve tools through the Levallois technique, where the initial flaking on the core was used to predetermine the final shape of the artifacts. Some 500,000 years ago, the presence of Homo erectus coincided with the domestic use of fire. Skulls have been found bearing signs of alleged funerary (maybe anthropophagic) rituals, e.g. with connections to the Sinanthropus. At this stage, the organization of dwelling areas, both outdoor and in caves, is accepted as incontrovertible. Regarding the economy, it relied on hunting and gathering as through out all the Paleolithic period.

5. The Appearance of Homo Sapiens. The transition from the Homo erectus to the Homo sapiens species occurred so gradually that a number of remains were classified as "modern" erectus or "archaic" sapiens. This transition is believed to have taken place between 200.000 and 100.000 years ago. In those times, the earliest forms of sapiens (i.e. archaic Homo sapiens ) had already become extinct. The same is to be said for the Neanderthal men living in Europe and in the Middle East between 100,000 and 37,000 years ago who, however, left no descendants. Human remains dating from 90,000 years agofound in Palestine, descending from the African forms of archaic Homo sapiens have been officially recognized as evidence of the origins of the Homo sapiens sapiens species, i.e. present-day human beings. Numerous sapiens sapiens remains were uncovered in Europe dating from Upper Paleolithic, such as in Cro-Magnon, Chancelade, Combe Capelle, and so on. The Homo sapiens sapiens must have experienced an explosive development: from 35,000 years ago, it has settled in all the continents, including America and Australia. Sapiens culture is undoubtedly advanced, as shown by stone and bone industries, notably from Upper Paleolithic, in rock paintings, and funerary rituals. Evidence of the earliest burials, dating from 90,000 years ago, have been assembled after excavations in Skuhl and Qafzeh, Palestine. However, we know that Neanderthal men did bury their dead. Particular attention to the deceased is proven by the frequent presence of funerary belongings and the fetal position they were found in.

It is interesting to observe that, in certain areas, the modern form coexisted with the Neanderthal men: in Israel between 90,000 and 40,000 years ago as well as in several European regions about 35,000 years ago. However, most of the authors tend to interpret the prevalence of the modern form as the consequence of their diffusion from a single center in Africa more than evolution at a local level, at least not as a general rule valid all over the world. This theory is called the "replacement" theory, and holds that the modern form migrated out of Africa and dispersed through the continents around 100,000 years ago, in order to "replace" Homo erectus and Neanderthal men. It actually confirms the evidence drawn from molecular biology, notably from the studies on mitochondrial DNA: because they indicate the modern African stock was the first to develop, they support the existence of a so-called "African Eve." Similarly, the latest analyses on the Y chromosome have led to affirm the existence of an "African Adam." On the other hand, the "regional continuity" theory states that the modern form might derive from existing local populations of Homo erectus, which seems to be confirmed by paleontological data in several regions, such as the Far East, and numerous finds unearthed in eastern Europe.

The question being rather complex, excessive simplifications should be avoided. As far as Europe is concerned, scholars agree on the possibility that local Neanderthal men may have been replaced by other forms moving from the Middle East. Recent analyses carried out on the DNA of Neanderthal remains might support the hypothesis by excluding Neanderthal men from modern man's genealogical tree. If that were true, the interpretation of the African derivation implying a complete replacement of the pre-existing forms would appear to be too stringent. As a matter of fact, the newcomers are likely to have mixed somewhat with the autochthons, which is particularly true for some areas more than others. Despite the various "human waves" migrating out of Africa in prehistoric times, the evidence of microevolutionary changes occurring at a local level as a consequence of diverse factors, especially territory, is currently accepted as unmistakable.

III. Culture reveals what is Human in Humans

There are many issues at stake regarding human evolution: their phyletic connection to the Hominids existing before the appearance of human beings, the way the human threshold should be determined, the relatively rapid improvement of their cranial capacity and the evolutionary success of the sapiens forms, just to name a few. Here, it is our intention to focus on the identification of the human "threshold"; therefore, readers can refer to the bibliography at the end of the article for additional information on more general issues (cf. Piveteau, 1986, Facchini, 1995). Teilhard de Chardin remarked that human beings stepped rather quietly into the world, because the moment they were noticed, they had already become a crowd. This is the reason why it is so difficult to trace their origins back to the beginning. This paragraph attempts to analyze the question from a phenomenological and paleoanthropological point of view, leaving the emergence of religiousness (see below, IV) and the comparison between scientific evidence and biblical data and theology (see below, V) aside for the moment.

1. Biological Novelties and Cultural Discontinuity . Accepting as unmistakable the evidence that a certain continuity between human beings and animals exists, several novelties are observed even just at a biological level. Although the organization of the human brain, undoubtedly more complex than in any other living being, may be the first to come to our mind, it is human behavior, in its larger meaning, that should be regarded as the main novelty of all. In human behavior, in fact, the biological elements common to all living beings are accompanied with a factor of a completely different nature, i.e. "culture". In this view, the study of the evolution of human beings and prehistoric men is aimed at analyzing not only their biological and physical modifications, but also their culture.

There is a biological continuity between human beings and the animal world justifying the fact that, from a taxonomical point of view, humans belong to the order of Primates. This continuity does not prevent any novelties and peculiarities from occurring at a biological level, even though they could be understood as discontinuities. For instance, no other primates currently living on this planet resort to a bipedal locomotion. The development of the human brain, both quantitatively and qualitatively, is a phenomenon unique of its kind in the living world, despite the slight difference (5%) existing between the human genome and the chimpanzee genome. Obviously, it is a matter of establishing to what that difference corresponds on a biological and behavioral level. When it comes to biochemical properties (proteins) for instance, the difference is reduced to 1-2%. On the other hand, paleontological research on the oldest human fossils ever recorded attests to several physical and biological discontinuities between Homo habilis and their ancestors, such as the improvement of their cranial capacity by 40% compared to Australopithecines. However, it is rather difficult to support the existence of discontinuities without knowing every possible intermediate stage.

Because it is defined as a series of activities connected to an extrabiological sphere more than to biological phenomena, laws, and properties, cultural behavior is considered to be an element of major discontinuity. No doubt can exist based on current knowledge as to the fact that the beings who painted the rock paintings in caves during the Upper Paleolithic period had reached the human threshold as much as those who started burial practices around 90,000 years ago. However, thinking of the adjective "human" as an exclusive prerogative of the human beings in the last 100,000 years would be a rather limiting and unjustifiable evaluation.

2. Evidence for Projectuality and Symbolism. By "projectuality," we mean the capacity to plan or act intentionally, i.e. showing behaviors aimed at a pre-arranged goal. In this sense, projectuality reveals originality, and capacity for innovation and creativity, whether it was expressed through flint working, shelter building, or food handling. The same is to be said for technology, which can be related to tools, housing, or food. The animal world does know and apply technology: beavers build dams, bees build perfectly hexagonal beehives, and birds build their nests but, unfortunately, there is no innovation, no progress, and no evolution in any of them. They are nothing but fixed behaviors the animals bear in their DNA or as imprinting. They inevitably lack in any form of abstract intelligence, i.e. the capacity to cast their minds into the future, to plan, innovate, and preserve, because projectuality is also a sign of self-determination and freedom.

"Symbolism" is another essential characteristic of culture. It is the capacity to attribute to a sign, a sound or an object a meaning or a value going beyond the sign itself (for example, when a scream is the consequence of pain it is a sign, not a symbol). Furthermore, symbolism adds value to the results of technology. Projectuality is linked to symbolism. The results of technology are the final outcome of a plan and become a sign, a reminder of the uses we could make of it. The value of tools, on the contrary, is inherent in their being tools and thus in their reflecting the use they are intended for. To sum up, "functional symbolism" is observed when both tools and the technology used to produce them find their meaning in the objects themselves, for they reflect exactly whatever peculiar or general use or function stemming from the maker's intention (e.g. cutting or scraping) in the observer's mind. This is how the tools and products of human activities can enter human imagination and are attributed a special meaning in their life context.

There are symbols allowing us to communicate and establish relationships not only with reference to present emotional status, but also to situations which occurred a long time before (memory of events and reference to the future). These relationships are part of the sphere of social interpersonal communications. Communication is established: 1) through responses to biological needs when they are enriched with new meanings (dresses may have protective, attractive or aesthetic functions; a canteen is a place where both biological and communication needs are met, and so on); 2) through language, writing, and other forms corresponding to symbolic systems, which are peculiar to human societies. Words allow us to communicate even if the things we refer to are not in front of us, thanks to the possibility of abstracting concepts from sensory perception. This is how we communicate our own inner world and experiences to others. Symbolic communication through language represents the sphere where we build social relationships and create new communication systems. This is called "social symbolism."

Finally, there is another symbolic system, in which communicating means expressing the intimate thoughts of people without any particular reference to events or needs. Arts, religion, and ethics, for example, allow us to "transcend" both the spheres of biology and social communications. There may be some expressions referring to biological and social life but, in those spheres, we are completely independent and able to transcend any biological and social needs. This is why this kind of symbolism is known as "spiritual symbolism" (see below, IV.2). Deacon (1997) was right when he defined humankind as a "symbolic species." Being at the very core of culture, like two faces of the same medal, projectuality and symbolism should be considered as one, single entity, expressing human abstract intelligence and psychism. Moreover, because they are creative expressions, they may develop and improve their results, spreading through society by extraparental transmission. By accepting as true this definition of culture, we might as well point out that culture is peculiar to human beings. Therefore, it is definitely incorrect to attribute it to animals, indicating it as any behavior acquired either by imitation or by casual learning, and never through biological inheritance. Nevertheless, this position is currently shared by many authors, including Cavalli Sforza and Feldman (1981).

3. The Problem of the Human Threshold and the Origin of Culture. We know that the capacity for projectuality and symbolism in Hominids coincided with the first hints of intelligence. But when exactly did they show it? When was it that their actions showed real capacity for projectuality and symbolism? Human threshold dating is still one of the most controversial questions in the field of paleoanthropology. As a matter of fact, we must admit that the origins of human beings and their culture lie in deepest darkness.

The distinctive feature of culture is its being the expression of a psychism reflecting self-consciousness, self-determination and therefore freedom. Obviously, reflex psychism is not a fossilized artifact; nevertheless, traces have been discovered in connection with prehistoric as well as present-day human beings. Human psychism also means perception of time, not only as a memory of past events (which we share with animals), but also as predictions and plans for the future. The capacity for projectuality inherent in humankind is aimed at preserving and improving the results what they produce. This capacity means an openness towards the future, in order to investigate and shape it as consciously and freely as possible, notably by predisposing the appropriate techniques in advance. This inner attitude is clear in human behavior, from the signs suggesting it is peculiar to humankind; in a word, from the manifestations of human culture through an approach which is phenomenological or properly anthropological more than philosophical. Consequently, "humanization" is mainly due to culture. As Martelet (1998) pointed out, it defines the way in which human beings, appeared in the very heart of nature and started influencing it by their presence, as opposed to "hominization", which is likely to represent only the segment of anatomic-morphologic, and psychical evolution leading to the human beings.

Expressions of culture are to be found all through the evolutionary history of human beings, from Homo erectus and Homo habilis up to the latest stages of Homo sapiens, with burial rites and rock paintings. As we have already explained, the cultural manifestations of the earliest human forms consisted mainly in lithic stones industries or traces of their lifestyles bearing witness to a form of human psychism. Yet, from the earliest forms of erectus on, evidence has been assembled showing more than tool shaping. The marks observed on the bones of big mammals suggest that those beings might have undertaken some kind of symbolic activity (e.g. in Bilzinsgleben, 400,000 years ago; in a bovine find dating from the Rissian period unearthed in Pech de l'Azé, and so on; cf. Facchini, 1998). Faber men were also sapiens , they were found to be sapiens in their being faber starting from the pebble industry. Because it is so varied, pebble industry shows projectuality and, indirectly, even the capacity for symbolic abstraction. It is crucial to understand the meaning tools were assigned by their makers, who tried to go beyond the immediate use they could make of them, by preserving and further improving them. Technological man, the tool maker, is the one who created symbols, symbolicus and loquens at the same time: technology itself is handed down through language. Apart from the analysis of tools (which have never been "disposable," as for certain Primates which make use of stones or sticks and then throw them away), what is more convincing about the ancient origins of the human form is the context in which techniques were developed and applied. It was characterized by continuity and progress, observed both in lithic industries and in the organization of territory, with reference to all the forms, from Homo habilis to Homo erectus and Homo sapiens.

It is our intention now to highlight how culture might intervene in the identification of "human beings" and their characteristics. First of all, culture appears to be an "adaptive strategy". By influencing the environment and easing the adaptation of the organism to it, culture becomes a decisive element in the process of adaptation. Both the capacity for projectuality and symbolism —as for technology, life, social organization and language— are understood as factors of adaptation of the environment to the human beings and vice-versa. Culture allows to loosen the grip of natural selection without halting it. Unlike all the other species, human beings employ adaptive and evolutionary strategies aimed at opposing natural selection somehow in order to survive. It is thanks to culture that humankind have survived, as opposed to Australopithecines who became extinct (cf. Coppens, 1983).

Secondly, culture is regarded as the "habitat" of the human species. Human beings are born, live and grow up within culture, whatever it may be, and their relationships with the environment exist thanks to culture. From an ecological point of view, it is a sort of specialization marking the trophic and functional relations between humankind and their habitat , i.e. the ecological niche of the species. In this sense, culture may be emblematically considered as humankind's ecological niche.

Culture is, however, a symptom of "evolutionary transcendence." This idea is connected to Dobzhansky's thought, developed on the basis of Teilhard de Chardin's conception. Dobzhansky claimed that a discontinuity might be accepted in the passage from non-human to human forms of life as a sort of evolutionary transcendence. As a matter of fact, human societies are not governed by biological rules anymore, though biological laws are still valid at various levels. The discontinuity is supposed to be due essentially to culture and, according to Dobzhansky, transcendence had already pervaded the passage from the inorganic world to the living structures.

To sum up, culture may well be defined as "a symptom revealing what is human." This is to underline that it is humankind's attitude towards culture -their "capacity for projectuality and symbolism"- which reveals human specificity more than diverse cultural expressions, which might vary with time also due to environmental changes. However varied human production may be, it always show projectuality and symbolism as the standard features of culture. From an anthropological point of view, it is this cultural capacity, dynamic and in a continual evolution, which reveals what is human. As a consequence, the real nature of human beings, their most unknown side, are disclosed in the ever-lasting progress of cultural expressions. This behavior transcends the purely physical-biological side of the question to offer a philosophical connection and be interpreted as an expression of a "spirituality" showing an "ontological discontinuity" vis-à-vis the animal world (see below, IV; V.3).

IV. The Emergence of " Homo Religiosus "

The issue concerning the origins of religion has been widely debated in both scientific and humanistic milieus. Different methods have been chosen to approach and deal with it, which have usually tended either to favor certain ideological formulations or to apply religious systems, adopted by present day peoples no matter how civilized they are, to prehistoric men. The crucial question now is whether the sense of religiousness or sacredness can be referred to the original structure of human experience or it is the outcome of cultural choices which may have been suggested or even become a necessity as human society became more complex and civilized. In this regards, paleoanthropology attempts to offer its contribution by analyzing the conceptual activity of prehistoric men, with particular attention to funerary practices and artistic expressions.

1. Different Approaches to the Issue of Human Religiousness. The most traditional approach to the problem was developed by the representatives of the "evolutionary school". They assumed that no form of religiousness could have existed in the earliest stages of human evolution and that the idea of religion must have emerged later, as history evolved. In particular, Lubbock (1834-1913) suggested the following phases: atheism, fetishism (or theriomorphism), the cult of nature (or totemism), shamanism, and idolism (or anthropomorphism), with the idea of God being advanced only afterwards. E. Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) took inspiration from the evolutionary conception, too. He suggested that the religious sense might have originated from animism to develop into fetishism, then idolism, and polytheism to evolve into monotheism. Scholars like Morgan (1818-1881) and, after him, Sir James Frazer (1854-1941) agreed with the evolutionary approach. A scheme resounding with A. Comte's positivism (1798-1857) considers magic as the earliest expression of the human spirit, which was later replaced by religion and, finally, by science.

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) approached the question in a "sociological" manner, assuming that religion reflects society because it is an emanation of the collective conscience. In this view, it is society itself that creates the sacred by distinguishing it from the profane and giving it an institutional identification in the Totem. Marcel Mauss (1873-1950) and Henri Hubert (1872-1927) fully share this view with Durkheim, while Lucien Lévy-Bruh1 (1875-1939) agrees with it only partially.

The "ethnological method" put forward by Andrew Lang (1844-1912) opposed both Tylor's animism and Max Müller's naturalistic mythology, according to which religion had originated from natural phenomena. Lang supported the existence of a superior God at the dawn of religion, similarly to what he had remarked in very primitive peoples, such as Australians and Andamanians. Taking inspiration from the same idea, he expounded on the basis of the oral tradition of primitive groups of native Americans, Africans, and Australians, Wilhelm Schmidt (1868-1954) suggested that monotheism, i.e. the belief in the supreme being, may well be considered the earliest form of religion stemming from a primitive revelation.

Bronislaw Malinowski's "functionalism" (1884-1942) is aimed at finding the meaning of religion with reference to its "function" within a civilization, with particular regard to the basic needs of the social group at stake. In this light, R. Thurnwald (1866-1954) assumed that a certain connection might exist between the expressions of religion and the various social-economical schemes adopted by human societies: from the general belief in the sacredness of animals (theomorphism) during the period of the predatory peoples, to the totemism followed by the hunters, and the animistic personification of divinities in farming cultures, with the belief in the supreme gods being peculiar to cattle breeding communities.

In his studies on the emergence and development of religion, Raffaele Pettazzoni (1877-1955) followed a historical method. On one hand, he compared the data derived from the classical religions practiced by the Greeks, Romans, Germans, and Slavs; on the other hand, he focused on monotheism and its development from the primitive populations onwards. According to him, it is highly unlikely that the belief in a (usually uranic, that is, heavenly) supreme Being was asserted by a single human family in a given place and from there diffused all over the world, as suggested by Schmidt. We must say that all the modern-day primitive peoples believing in these origins belong to a wide range of cultural areas and attest to distinct cultural patterns, which have experienced a long-lasting evolution. Unlike the idea of primitive monotheism, not only did the image of a uranic superior Being escaped a slow historical decline, but it was also attributed with diverse religious meanings as soon as it was proposed, according to the different cultural milieus in which it developed.

Nathan Söderblom (1866-1931), Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) and Gerardus van der Leeuw (1890-1950) adopted a "phenomenological" approach to the problem of the origins of religion. They identified the idea of the "holy" as the key concept of religion, even more crucial than the concept of "God." While a religion can exist without developing a clear conception of divinity, no religion could ever exist without presenting a clear distinction between the sacred and the profane. In this light, the distinction between the stage of magic and the stage of religion was then considered outmoded. Otto believed that the roots of the idea of sacredness may lie deep down in the human soul, as a sort of "inner revelation" persuading us to appreciate the value of numinousness and mystery, which is tremendum et fascinans , revealing in facts and events.

Mircea Eliade's "hermeneutical" approach (1907-1986) was however more complete. By introducing the concept of "hierophany," i.e. the "manifestation of the sacred", and resorting to Georges Dumézil's comparative studies on Indo-European concepts, myths, rituals and divinities, he could propose an all-embracing method: historical, hermeneutical, and phenomenological at the same time. In this light, describing a phenomenon is considered as crucial as interpreting and decoding its message on the basis of the inner experience we gain as individuals and as a community. Sacredness is an element of the "structure of the conscience" more than a moment in the "history of the conscience." Whether this reality reveals itself or is perceived as an object, it is understood as the "Totally Other" transcending the world. Consequently, the history of the different religions proves to be a series of hierophanies, whose meaning should be investigated through a phenomenological approach.

Along this line of thought, in which the experience of the holy is regarded as essential to humankind, who will thus evolve into homo religious, Julien Ries' contribution (born 1920) pertains to the great religions from protohistory on, when hierophany was replaced by teophany (cf. Ries 1978-86). This, too, proves to be an experience of the sacred, in which homo religiosus have to deal with a symbolic universe of myth and rituals, linked to direct revelations and theophanies instead of cosmic and numinous elements. As regards the emergence of religiousness in Homo sapiens , Gilbert Durand (1992) underlined the importance of symbolism and its anthropological paths through human imagination.

Some of the approaches mentioned above deal with the emergence of religiousness exclusively on the basis of comparisons and inferences, which might be influenced by diverse ideologies. Contrariwise, the phenomenological and hermeneutical methods appear to be freer and even more proper, although they are not based on fossil data. Furthermore, it is possible to develop an approach on the basis of the elements provided by paleoanthropology and prehistory; however incomplete it may sound, it appears to be the most suitable method available so far. Along this line of though, a mention goes to the contributions of Breuil, Bergounioux, Nougier, Muller-Karpe, Boné, Blanc, and Leroi-Gourhan. Ethnologist Paul Schebesta did not leave prehistory aside even though he had applied a historical method. It is through a global approach that paleoanthropology will be able to offer its contribution to the studies on the emergence of sacredness, namely of the manifestations of homo religiosus in the long Paleolithic periods.

2. Symbolic Activity, Spiritual Sense and Religious Sense. The possibility of investigating the emergence and the meaning of "primitive symbolism" has offered a major contribution to the latter approach. The religious sense, in fact, is strictly connected to the symbolic activity. Burial practice and artistic activity can not be regarded as the sole root of the symbolic world of humankind. Not only are human activities, industries, forms of communication and relationships with the land connected to their capacity for abstraction, but they are also highly symbolic, as they have a value in themselves and refer to something different, i.e. human imagination and creative skills. This is how human beings enriched their cultural expressions with new meanings and grouped them into a universe of values. As we have already said (see above, III.2), "functional symbolism" and "social symbolism" have been detected at the Homo erectus stage and, partly, at the Homo habilis stage, too, as well as "spiritual symbolism," which is approached through manifestations of the aesthetic sense.

Signs of aesthetic sense are to be detected even in symmetrical shaping, when it goes beyond the mere functionality of tools (cutting, scraping, or engraving). It appears to have emerged long before the artistic representations dated to the Upper Paleolithic period, such as those found in Altamira, Lascaux, and Niaux. The symbolism they applied to both their burial practice (see below, n. 3) and artistic activities (see below, n. 4) transcends the sphere of individual needs as well as social needs to become "spiritual symbolism." Even though it is difficult to give them a correct interpretation, it is to these forms of symbolic activity that certain signs found on very old prehistoric objects might refer. Those signs are varied but unmistakably intentional, such as the engravings observed on a bovine rib in Pech de l'Azé, zigzagging signs on a piece of bone unearthed in Bacho-Kiro (Bulgaria), and those found in Bilzinsgleben dated to about 400,000 years ago as we mentioned above. To us, the meaning of those engravings is unknown, but their symbolism is unmistakable. As a further evidence of aesthetic or spiritual symbolism, the use of red ochre as a symbol of blood and life has been observed in various prehistoric sites dating from Lower Paleolithic, thus much earlier than Neanderthal and Upper Paleolithic burials.

It is our opinion that wherever signs of abstractive activity and reflex psychism may be found, they should be understood as the essential basis for the symbolic activity and the religious sense expressed by human beings. Human capacity for symbolism, including spiritual symbolism, is clear from the manifestations of culture, which include tool fashioning. The intelligence of human beings reveals itself in artifacts planned prior to and not "incorporated" in the work, in a way that the tool seems conceived and desired as a "third hand". Similarly, when primitive technology expresses creativity and intentionality, it reveals self-consciousness. And the moment they gained self-consciousness, human beings must have realized the difference between themselves and all the other beings, they must have had "questions" to ask about themselves and outer reality. As conscience emerged, human beings were already able to be astonished by the starred sky, the movement of celestial bodies, the beauty of sunsets, the power of lightning, and the burning lava of volcanoes. Astonishment was then accompanied with the perception of something surpassing and transcending them, whose nature they ignored and made them feel powerless. These were the feelings inspiring the sense of sacredness as the recognition of the existence of superior powers, whether magical or mythological. This is the reason why Eliade was right to believe that the experience of sacredness is inherent in the experience of humankind, being a crucial element in the structure of their conscience. "Consequently, because the things produced by prehistoric men give evidence to their being "human," we would better recognize that they must have had a certain religiousness" (Boné, 1988).

The idea of "hierophany" advanced by Mircea Elide, to which Julien Ries resorted to, is both a plausible and, undoubtedly, an efficient means to describe how the sense of sacredness developed in prehistoric men. This idea should be applied to all the stages of the human evolution since its origins, which means it is as valid for Homo habilis as for the Homo erectus species living during Lower Paleolithic, when a certain symbolic activity was detected involving expressions of culture or magical-religious practices. The cultural and somatic continuity observed between habilis and erectus suggests a conceptual level common to both species, whatever its expressions may be. Therefore, human beings can be regarded as sapiens already at the faber stage thanks to technology. To tell the truth, we have already explained that they were faber because they were sapiens , since their origins, and that was because their being sapiens kindled the spark of self-consciousness and symbolic capacity inspiring the sense of religiousness and sacredness.

3. The Burials of Primitive Men. Prehistoric men as well as contemporary peoples must have regarded death as their inevitable destiny, and that was because they, too, had the capacity for abstraction and projectuality, i.e. to cast their minds into the future. In this view, their instinct for self-preservation turned into the need for protection and the will to survive. It would be wrong to associate the emergence of the consciousness of death with the earliest known human burials, dating back to about 100,000 years ago: several funerary rituals prior to these, in fact, suggest that human beings were not indifferent to death, and that they had developed their capacity for symbolism through a series of actions and operations which were far from reflecting the immediate needs of their species.

The lack of real burials for very long periods during the Paleolithic Era led to believe that human beings used to abandon their dead on the spot, outdoors, as several human groups still do. Although we can not deny the existence of certain attentions to the deceased, whose traces have faded with time, it is in caves that we find evidence for real burials. This practice, though, is not likely to have been used for a long.

The moment human beings started burial practices, death might well have "changed meaning" for them. It is difficult to imagine why they started burying corpses: was it a matter of hygiene? Did they intend to protect corpses from wild animals as a sign of affection? Were they precautionary measures in case of return from death? Did they reflect the will to set up a dwelling with the suitable equipment for life after death? A kind of propitiatory ritual expressing the deceased's desire for protection? There may be more than one answer, considering that primitive men used to bury their dead following diverse rituals which, however, clearly showed intentionality. Here are some illustrative examples regarding this.

The oldest burials currently known are those found in the Caves of Qafzeh and Skhul, Palestine, which have been dated around 90,000 years ago. In Qafzeh, the remains of the skeletons belonging to about twenty individuals have been unearthed alongside with Musterian products (Musterian is a culture dating from the Middle Paleolithic period deriving its name from the prehistoric site in Le Moustier, France). A double burial stands out among the others: it shows a young woman lying on one side with her hands on her lap, her legs drawn up, and a child placed at her feet. Another one contained the skeleton of an adolescent lying on his back with his arms bent open on each side of his head and his hands holding the antlers of a big cervid next to his ears. On his breast were pieces of duck eggs, while traces of a fire and a piece of limestone had been placed on his abdomen; his legs had been drawn up. Was it an offering for the dead to take with him? Some authors underline the symbolic and spiritual importance of the equipment found in this tomb as far as future life is concerned: the image of deer, that lose their antlers in spring to have them regenerated, may have symbolized fertility and immortality for several peoples in ancient times.

Burials containing funerary equipment were found in some Neanderthal sites. Other Neanderthal burials have been discovered in Amud and Tabun, Palestine. In Teshik-Tash, Uzbekistan, the remains of a young Neanderthal boy have been unearthed next to five trophies of ibex horns. In Shanidar, Irak, the remains of several individuals have been found, including a child, dating from different epochs: the oldest one dates back to 70,000 years ago, while the most recent to 45,000 years ago. One of the corpses buried in Shanidar lay on and was surrounded by flowers, as confirmed by the analysis of pollens. As we can see, the cult of the dead and the attention devoted to them are clearly documented.

As far as Europe is concerned, complete and relevant documents are available on Neanderthal burials, even though area surveys had been often skipped in the past, especially for the first finds in the early 20th century. In the cave at La Chapelle (Corrèze, France) a skeleton was found in 1908 belonging to an old man lying with his head looking westwards, his feet eastwards, and his left arm along side his body, while his right arm was raised over his head, which was protected by big animal bones; beside him were the bones of a bison leg. In La Ferrassie the remains of the skeletons of two adults and five children were unearthed, the latter buried in truncated cone-shaped pits. Flat stones have been found on the head and shoulders of one of the adults, while the stone covering the tomb was engraved with small cups, whose meaning is still uncertain.

Burial practices continued on during the Upper Paleolithic Era, when they become enriched with new elements, namely funerary equipment. A mention goes to the finds in Cromagnon, Combe Capelle, Cueva Morin, Grimaldi, and Moravia. In Cromagnon five skeletons were found lying on the surface of Aurignatian firesides (culture of Upper Paleolithic) with a large quantity of shells and drilled teeth scattered on and all around them. The skeleton in Combe Capelle was found in a pit: its head, surrounded by shells, was looking northwards, while other shells had been placed on its shinbone and beside the third dorsal vertebra. At its feet were Musterian and Micoquian flints. Various burials have been discovered in the Grimaldi cave, some of which contained many funerary belongings (shell necklaces, flints, command sticks, and so on). Even the choice of the objects appears to have been accurately symbolic. Not only do they express the consciousness of death, but they also convey compassion for the deceased, and an idea of future survival. In fact, they are all tools meant for accompanying them in another life, reflecting their desire to transcend death.

The position of the dead varies from tomb to tomb: the remains are found in a resting position, maybe crouched (Grimaldi, Predmost) with their arms bent and legs drawn up differently (La Chapelle, La Ferrassie, Chancelade, and so on). There are many possible interpretations for this difference: the will to prevent the dead from coming back from death, the idea of giving them back to Earth in a fetal position, the will to reproduce the sleeping position. The same is to be said for their position compared to the cardinal points: sometimes they look northwards (cave of Barma Grande), westwards (Grotta dei Fanciulli [Cave of the Children], Grimaldi cave), or southwards (Arene Candide [White Sands] cave). The use of red ochre was observed in numerous Musterian and Upper Paleolithic burials; as we have remarked, it may have symbolic meaning with reference to blood, and thus to life.

It is likely that not every burial had mystic-religious contents, just as modern-day burials. Even in present-day societies, there may exist religions which do not have burials, and burials not implying any particular religious idea. The need for this distinction has been emphasized by many authors (cf. Leroi-Gourhan, 1964, Boné, 1978). Nonetheless, the burials where objects of a high symbolic meaning were found -trophies and parts of animals, flints, shells, colored substances, and so on- are likely to express religious feelings, in addition to the evidence of attention for the deceased, because they reflect their belief in powers and entities transcending their immediate life needs. Although it is impossible for us to understand from what religious beliefs their faith in after-life stemmed, ritual behaviors (offers, positioning) have been observed in many cases, which are somehow connected to the sacred and surely refer to a supernatural sphere.

4. Art and Religion in the Paleolithic Era. In the Upper Paleolithic, prehistoric men used to express their "religious" soul in the representations of furninshings and wall painting which often accompanied the fossils of more recent ages. Unfortunately, at that time, a religion based on a system of beliefs had not been developed yet. Although their artistic representations are rich in varied and complex symbols concerning the religious and social spheres of the prehistoric society, a religious system is still missing.

Magdalenian wall representations (around 15,000 years ago) are regarded as the culmination of the Upper Paleolithic arts, even though figurative arts had appeared well before. As a matter of fact, statuettes of animals —mammoths and reindeer (Germany)— dating back to 40,000-30,000 years ago, and bearing incomprehensible figures and symbols, have been unearthed in different European regions. In Africa, too, and namely in Tanzania, rock depictions have been discovered expressing undisputed artistic skills. Their refined shapes led us to consider them as subsequent to earlier representations. Similarly, the paintings in the Chauvet cave in France, which have been recently discovered and dated to 30,000-32,000 years ago, give evidence to a considerable artistic level, in addition to showing figurative subjects of a certain interest.

An extensive literature exists regarding the arts in the Upper Paleolithic Era. In this specific context, though, the most relevant aspects to focus on are, in our opinion, the main figurative subjects of this art and the way they have been interpreted with reference to possible religious contents. However, exploring the inner world of prehistoric men through objects, engravings or paintings is rather hard. It is not so much a question of collecting the different elements like the tiles of a mosaic, but that of understanding some complex structures such as spirituality, the inner world, and the social life of prehistoric men, only from the signs they left for us.

Women, maternity and procreation are some of the most represented subjects in furniture art. In this art, women's anatomical features were usually highlighted, perhaps as a sign of cult, or perception of a sort of sacredness in their possibility to give new life. Hunting scenes were frequently depicted in wall paintings, and the different frequency with which different animals were inserted has led us to believe that, besides being important to prehistoric men for their sustenance, the animals had a symbolic meaning connected to their religion or social life as well. Magic-religious interpretations have been advanced for most of the hunting scenes, with reference to both propitiatory and fertility cults. Not only was it important to provide game for the community but also to ensure that the animals' biological cycles, which were known to prehistoric men, would never lack fertility. The reference to magic-religious rituals is confirmed by the representation of costumes, masks, dances and special ceremonies. Numerous authors remarked that they represent "scenes" more than "actions".

Undoubtedly, it is a complex symbolism, and giving it a global interpretation may prove to be as misleading as bringing it back to a single system. This is true both for wall paintings and furnishings: no system is, and will ever be, able to account for all the aspects of prehistoric art at a time. The moment interpreting becomes only a question of applying a system, it tends to distort facts to make them coincide with theories. Obviously, it was not arts for art sake, even though many representations convey a clear artistic meaning. As Ernst Cassirer observed, art at its origins and appears to be connected to myth, and even during its subsequent evolution, it seems not to have entirely escaped from the control and power exerted by mythical and religious thought.

Both magical features and sexual symbolism are observed in the arts of the Upper Paleolithic era. Raised to a sacred or social dimension, it is difficult to understand where magic ends and religious sense starts, the latter being perhaps connected to various rituals, including initiations. The life and interests of prehistoric men have been internalized by their arts through a system of beliefs which are unknown to us, but which are likely to have been multiple and maybe even less coherent than in the following epochs.

In prehistoric men's mentality, vital needs were highly humanized and intertwined with social life. In this view, it is likely that the diverse activities and spheres of human life -from hunting to initiation, from procreation to the organization of clans- did include a religious dimension. The propitiating of natural powers and elements, which were still mysterious and competing with humankind from many points of view, stood side by side with the need for success and safety of the group. We should better consider the caves as the "sanctuaries of prehistory," in which great artists left only fragments of the inner social life of their groups. At this moment, a more naturalistic and social side, idealizing and transcending the immediate biological needs of human beings, was added to the cosmic religiousness inherited from the previous eras. We must remember that the human beings who frescoed the caves during the Upper Paleolithic period were the same that used to bury their dead and looked at the after-life with a combination of fear and, perhaps, hope.

V. The Origin of Human Beings, Theories of Evolution and Biblical Revelation

Most of the matters at stake in the relationship between scientific thought and biblical revelation are connected to the paradigm of evolution which, as far as contemporary science is concerned, tends to provide a complete explanation of cosmic reality as well as biological and human realities. The dynamism of physical and biological realities, the plan and/or randomness in the biological processes, the appearance of human beings, the phyletic unity of the human race: all these subjects imply consequences from a biblical and theological point of view. Difficulties may arise both from science and religious faith: from science, whenever it claims to answer all the questions existing on the origins and ultimate meaning of humankind and the universe; from religion, whenever it shows the same will to be all-embracing up to the point of describing how the universe formed and the living species appeared. Rendering absolute methods of knowledge which were relative, has caused misunderstandings and incomprehension, which have often characterized the relationship between science and faith in modern times, notably in the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century We should not make science say what it "can not" say because it goes beyond the sphere of its knowledge, as well as we should not make the Bible say what it "does not want" to say, because it is not part of its religious message.

While we refer to other parts of this Enciclopedia where similar subjects are tackled (see Creation, II and V; Magisterium of the Church, V.2; Sacred Scripture, V), we intend, in the light of our specific problem, to sum up several theological issues which seem to be suggested by the modern views on evolution: a) the relationship between creation and evolution; b) finalism and God's project for creation; c) the origins of human beings.

1. Creation and Evolution. From a biblical-theological point of view, the theory of evolution is important only when connected to the principle of creation. In itself, the concept of evolution opposes fixism -that is, the immediate appearance of all the species at a time- not creation. Only that which exists can evolve. It would make no sense to deny creation because of evolution, even though there have been supporters of this position. In order to appreciate whether it is compatible with evolutionary theories or not, an in-depth analysis of the concept of creation is required.

Creation concerns the existing reality as a whole: sky and the Earth, plants, animals, and human beings. As regards the way in which God may have created it, the narrative and symbolic character of the Book of Genesis emerges from the literary analysis of the first pages of the tale. The six work-day frames presenting creation in the first tale aim at underlining that the God of creation is the God of Israel, i.e. the God of the Covenant. It is not a scientific message: it is a religious message whose hard, essential core are not the allegories or the literary images, but the truth on the origin of all things, through a creative act of God. As it marked the beginning of time and history, the act of creation confirms that the whole reality is absolutely dependent on the Creator. And that dependence will linger on, thanks to a sort of "continual creation", i.e. the preservation of the created being (even though the sacred author did not use such a concept, whose philosophical import was elaborated later on). The theological affirmation of creation includes not only the beginning of all things, but also the fact that any created being remains totally dependent on the Creator, up to the extent that a creature would vanish if God's will were to be lacking.

Evolution presupposes creation. God's creative activity is inherent in the things and transcends them at the same time; it makes things exist according to their own features and laws. Various Christian thinkers attempted to highlight this characteristic, although sometimes they did it in diverse perspectives. "It is not a creative evolution —observed Nicolas (1973)— but a creation expressing itself completely only through evolution." A kind of creation that Teilhard de Chardin defined as "an act spanning all the duration of the universe." In this regards, of particular interest is what John Paul II affirmed on the occasion of a Symposium on Christian Faith and Theory of Evolution (26.4.1985): "Neither a genuine faith in creation nor a correct teaching of evolution may pose obstacles: evolution, in fact, presupposes creation. In the light of evolution, creation is an ever-lasting process —a creatio continua—, in which God becomes visible to the eyes of believers as the 'Creator of the heaven and earth'" (Insegnamenti, VIII,1 (1985), p. 1132). With his outstanding Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences dated October, 22, 1996, John Paul II proves that, by this time, creation is accepted in a context where "new knowledge has led to the recognition of more than one hypothesis in the theory of evolution" (Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, ORWE 30.10.1996, p. 7).

In this conceptual view, evolution is not a problem as long as we accept that the whole reality was created by God and that even its development, however it may occur, corresponds to God's project. Evolution does not mean that creation is superfluous. If ever an evolutionary theory was taken as an excuse to deny creation, that would be an unfair, unjustified leap into materialism, a passage from a scientific view to a philosophic view. The concept of creation can be understood only within a metaphysical frame; it is a philosophical-theological category, while the concept of evolution is a scientific interpretation of the history of living organisms in past eras.

The message emerging from the New Testament, and the theology of John Paul II in particular, underlines a crucial aspect of creation, that is its dynamism which casts it into a future beyond the time dimension. The Epistle to Colossians tells about God's project for creation, a creation "seen" in the perspective of Incarnation: "All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:16-17). Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, is at the beginning of all things and, at the same time, at the end of history. It is in the light of Christ, the God-made-man, that the full meaning of humankind and creation is understood: as noted by Bouyer (1974) "it is thanks to the projection in time of God's son, His eternal image, that humankind could come to life."

2. God's Project for Creation: Finalism or Chance? The concept of a universe organized according to specific laws of nature and properties of the matter emerges from empirical observations, even though a wide margin of randomness is to be assumed in many phenomena in both macro and microcosms. As we approach the analysis of the evolutionary processes which led to the present structures of both inorganic and living worlds, a question arises spontaneously: what is the finality of the cosmos?

The mechanisms advanced by the synthetic theory of evolution (modern synthesis) to explain the origins and development of life are based either on a rigorous indeterminism or on the randomness of the phenomena which are believed to have occurred, even though other forces were undoubtely at work, such as natural selection. If evolutionary changes are accidental, as Darwinism claims, and the needs imposed by the environment, which is changeable as well, are accepted, there seems no ground possible for any project. Moreover, whenever it arose, the project would be totally apparent. In their doctrine, which we may call "evolutionism" and not evolution anymore, Darwin and his most dogmatic followers denied the existence of any project or finality in evolution. The process of evolution is based on the small changes affecting a population, namely what genetics calls mutations and errors in DNA replications. These changes appear to be as accidental as the external factors triggering natural selection. Obviously, accidental does not mean lacking in physical causes, but they tend to exclude a general project, the existence of a mind as a separate entity able to view the whole world in a single glance. In this view, even the appearance of human beings would be totally accidental.

Darwin's theory accepts a teleonomy. In particular, it holds that some behaviors or functions are established and preserved because they are convenient even though they are aimless. The same is to be said for the transformation of the species, where finality might be only apparent. As a matter of fact, in J. Monod's opinion (cf. Chance and Necessity, 1970), natural selection is the great demiurge whose task it is to conceive the programs and directions of evolution to give the impression that it is moving towards a specific aim. In his view, teleology has been completely left aside. The evolutionary lines form through natural selection, and the same happens in the artificial selection applied by cattle breeders. Neodarwinists refer to orthoselection more than to orthogenesis. F. Jacob (cf. the Logic of Living Systems, 1970) adopted a more moderate position compared to Monod's, and admits that evolution does follow programs but, he states, "programs that no mind has thought out." The position recently taken by E. Mayr, one of the fathers of the synthetic theory of evolution, is rigorously Darwinian. More moderate positions have been adopted by Simpson, Dobzhansky and Ayala, who admit evolution may be somewhat oriented in specific directions. Simpson support the existence of a directional force influencing the evolutionary processes, while Dobzhansky admits evolution might be directional, but not necessarily directed by anyone, without excluding a global tendency in the process of evolution. Ayala suggests an inner, undetermined teleology, while he excludes that the process of evolution may be purely aleatory. In practice, human beings are regarded as a fortuitous event just as any other living species: they are the outcome originated by the occurrence of totally random genetic and inner events, not the culmination of creation as taught by the biblical revelation. Copernican revolution would act in biology by dethroning human beings from their top position and presenting them as any other animal species. However, such a vision seems to be rather conjectural. Holding that randomness and chance are the ultimate explanations for the process of evolution, including the diverse patterns leading to the various classes of living beings in a relatively short timespan, appears to be either an admission of our ignorance or the prejudicial refusal to go beyond present knowledge, a position based more on ideology than on science.

The theological implications of the problem are clear. If, according to the Judaeo-Christian revelation, the existence of a superior project of God for creation was to be recognized, how could it ever be reconciled with a process of evolution encompassing both specific evolutionary directions and events caused by random factors only? The question is particularly delicate as far as the human beings are concerned, because they are presented as the culmination of creation, almost the top of God's work. As a matter of fact, the problem of explaining whether finalism and chance are compatible between themselves is philosophical more than theological or even scientific. However, even scientists admitting evolution were unable to find a common ground. Grassé (1977) believes that other causes should be sought to explain evolutionary directions, in addition to what evolutionist genetics has already detected in the fortuitous mutations of genes. Who knows whether the indeterminism of mutations advanced by molecular genetics nowadays is the final response to the genetic factors of biological evolution?

From a paleonthological point of view, the history of evolution highlights the development of the human line in the strain of the Primates following the formation of the great phyla and the classes of the animal and vegetable worlds. In particular, Teilhard de Chardin suggested that the process of hominization was to be considered as an "arrow" in the evolution of living organisms. Piveteau (1983) remarked that everything occurred as if human beings were really the point of arrival in  the evolutionary process. Therefore, is finality only apparent or is it hidden but real? How could it be connected to what is pointed out by the Antrophic Principle in cosmology? However the appearance of humans may have occurred, their position among living beings is unique in its kind, and all scientists agree with this statement, regardless of their religious beliefs. This uniqueness stems from the self-consciousness and reflex psychism characterizing human beings, namely from the culture they produce, more than from their physical conformation -the morphological differences between them and the Primates have proved, in fact, to be slight. To tell the truth, the existence of a superior project can be neither demonstrated through scientific trials, because it escapes empiricism, nor excluded on the basis of scientific assumptions.

Although specific directions and organized structures emerge in the evolutionary process, it is true that the new structures emerge from the remains of previous flops. This is because the forms which are unfitted to the environment, which is changing as well, succumb to physical factors and biological agents and give place to the fittest for survival and reproduction. The struggle for life has characterized biological evolution which has led to new and more complex forms of life through selection. Evolution, however, is found to have different speeds for different species. Even if the logic of nature may appear to be cruel, it is continually working to establish new balance between the environment and the species, aiming at "a global order of nature" obtained by the competitive interaction of the various actors in the ecosystem. In this view, it is still reasonable to suppose that the laws governing matter and the living structures through which the global harmony is achieved do pursue an aim. It is logical reasoning, not a strictly scientific demonstration. From a strictly scientific point of view, some scholars accepted a global finality without excluding chance for accidental events.

Teilhard de Chardin claimed that evolution came about through chance and probability. Referring to de Chardin's view, Ludovico Galleni (1992) suggests a probabilistic model of evolution "following preferential lines which are probable, although not strictly determinable." Besides, he wonders whether "this universe, evolving gradually by trials instead of originating self-consciousness through a rationally deterministic plan, may be the most suitable one to welcome the appearance of a free creature."

There is no need to think that each mutation must have had a special meaning, a goal. As a matter of fact, some of these mutations have allowed or contributed to the formation of privileged directions in evolution. Moreover, in the debate about chance or finality, we must make a distinction between the finality of specific biological structures originated by phenomena of self-organization and coordination (such as an eye to see, a limb fit for climbing or keeping the upright position, teeth to cut or chew, and so on) and finalism as a global project on a large scale. There might be specific finalities without finalism. Ganoczy (1995) reminds us that while teleonomy accepts special finalities for the evolutionary processes governed by physical and chemical laws, even when unpredictable, "the debate concerning the final aim of evolution could never be dealt with by empiricism." On the empirical level, however, finalism should be regarded as "subsequent" and not "prior."

The fact that creation implies determinism and chance at the same time, is not a contradiction. Paulot (1992) observes: "'Chance' is undetermined comparing to us and indeterminable when ascribed to the nature of matter, but it is known to God: both necessity and indeterminacy are God's creatures." Relying on a undoubtedly efficient anthropomorphic view, A. Gesché (1994) imagines creation as a "game" played by God: nature is not random but it is what God wants it to be, in order to be itself. According to thsi author, creation "has the strength to comply with a project whose content God did not want to determine all by Himself." In this regards, Ruiz de la Peña (1986) wonders whether God may have rolled the dice, leaving the universe and the material world free to explore their diverse possibilities and develop one of them. From a phenomenological point of view, the world might be the result of random processes; but only from this specific point of view, as the actual course and results of cosmogenesis are allegedly thought out and wanted by a divine intelligence. Interesting observations on the metaphor of creation as a game have been made by J. Arnould (1998).

To sum up, even considering the perspectives opened by scientific observations, we feel we are facing a finalism which is real, not apparent. Generally speaking, it may be the consequence of physical or biological causes which are partially still unknown, such as physical and chemical laws, principles of order, unknown properties of living matter, and external factors. They are those which allow accidental circumstances to occur within certain limits. At most, finalism may have been originated by the combination of random genetic events, namely macro-mutations, and selection, influencing biological programs which have formed little by little to develop into more organized structures. In this light, they respond to a project on a wider scale (see Facchini, 1995).

3. The Appearance of the Human Being and Human Spirituality. The Holy Scriptures tells that God has specifically intervened in the creation of the human being. Compared to the other creatures, he and she who were created "in the image and likeness of God" (Gn 1:26) bring with them a sort of "transcendence" originated by the spiritual principle animating them. The solemnity of the account of the creation of the first human couple in both the first and the second narration recorded by the Book of Genesis, the breath of life breathed by God into the creature He had formed, their being superior, and the tasks they are assigned vis-à-vis the other creatures, leave no doubt to the uniqueness of human beings.

How could an evolutionary process involving human beings be understood in the light of this truth?  Apart from the moment the human threshold was reached, can we claim that human beings have emerged from the animal world? The question has been tackled many times by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. A first, basic teaching is contained in Humani generis (1950), Pius XII's encyclical: "The magisterium of the Church is not opposed to the theory of evolution being the object of investigation and discussion among experts. Here the theory of evolution is understood as an investigation of the origin of the human body from pre-existing living matter, for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold firmly that souls are created immediately by God" (DH 3896). This is what every Christian believer should take as a milestone. Besides, if we accept the spirituality of the human being, we can not hold that such a "really human" being have evolved into his/her present form from animal ancestors simply through biological evolution. In this light, we are to admit "a peculiar intervention or at least special intentions" by God, which is what happens in the creation of every single human being: as a whole, a son is never the mere product of his parents, because the spiritual principle, the soul, simply can not be handed down from parents to children but implies the intervention of a God creator. A sort of analogy exists between the "animation" characterising the process of generation and the "hominization" occurring over the evolutionary process. This idea was reviewed by John Paul II in one of his Catechesis: "Evolution does not suffice to explain the origin of the human race, just as the biological causality of the parents alone cannot explain a baby's birth. Even in the transcendence of his action, God is ever respectful of 'secondary causes' and creates the spiritual soul of a new human being by communicating the breath of life to him (see Gn 2:7) through his Spirit who is 'the giver of life.' Thus every child should be seen and accepted as a gift of the Holy Spirit" (John Paul II, General Audience, 27.5.1998).

In the process of animation, God's "creative" intervention occurs the precise moment when a life form is complex enough to have the characteristics of human life. A connection is thus necessary, according to the will of God creator, between the disposition of the biological structure of human life and the divine intervention creating the human soul. This divine intervention is part of God's creative power, through which He creates and keeps reality in existence, including spiritual entities, according to His project. The generation of human beings implies more than mere biological processes. God, as First Cause, explicitly wants to achieve this "more" through the parents, who become secondary causes of the baby's birth (for the connection between primary and secondary causes, see Autonomy). Even admitting that the human lives of children are immediately originated by their parents, according to the widest meaning of human life as body-soul-mind and personality —this is why the Magisterium of the Church states that God calls the parents "to a special sharing in His love and in His power as Creator and Father" (Familiaris consortio, n. 28)—, that would be insufficient to prove that the spiritual principle originates from their parents' gametes. Whenever a new human life is generated, the new life transcends the elements forming it, as every human person is called by, and depends upon, a specific creative act of God.

"Hominization" is believed to imply a similar process, namely a specific intervention of God in a living being, whom He wanted, prepared and oriented to the origination of a truly human life, through the action of secondary causes. It is as if animals had reached such a "critical state" that a change was needed, and a new being was originated from them (see Nicolas, 1973). In this line of thought, hominization must have occurred the moment a brain organization able to support reflex psychism and thus the appearance of human life had been reached thanks to biological mutations. If the process of evolution is to be considered as a single, all-embracing divine action creating all forms of nature to subordinate them to their own laws and properties, then the action by which God creates the human soul and breaths the breath of life into the first human being should be considered as the culmination of all the process, whose sense is not so much clarified by an inevitable determinism, but by God's specific project.

In this regards, John Paul II stated that "from the viewpoint of the doctrine of the faith, there are no difficulties in explaining the origin of man in regard to the body, by means of the theory of evolution [...]; it is possible that the human body, following the order impressed by the Creator on the energies of life, could have been gradually prepared in the forms of antecedent living beings. However, the human soul, on which man's humanity definitively depends, cannot emerge from matter, since the soul is of a spiritual nature" (General Audience, 16.4.1986). The existence of discontinuity, of "an ontological difference" between human beings and animals is also stated by the lready quoted Message of John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences dated October, 22, 1996. The human being can be considered the result of biological evolution as well as the fruit of a specific, creative act of God. Human beings must be considered God's creatures both for their bodily condition, which they share with the other living creatures, and for their spirituality, which is their own peculiar character.

A concept of evolution as the one described above, open to transcendence, cannot be excluded by science, simply because the notions of creature, Creator and spirit are outside its competence. At the same time, evolution cannot be ruled out on the basis of the Holy Scripture as well, even though it raises problems that may still be unsolved. However, to detect the phase of hominization in which human beings finally appeared is not so much the duty of theology as it is of science, which attempts to find it by means of all possible knowledge of human morphology and, above all, of cultural manifestations which are peculiar to human beings.

Apart from animation, which implies ontological discontinuity between animals and humans, another aspect appears to be relevant from the viewpoint of theology, i.e. "monogenism" —the doctrine that humankind had a common origin from a single couple. Theology has traditionally connected monogenism to the doctrine of the original sin in order to explain its propagation to the whole of humankind. While considering undisputable that the whole human race bears the marks of the sin since its origins, and that every human being seeks salvation that Jesus Christ has acquired as Redeemer, theology leaves more room open as regards the understanding of the mystery of sin. That original violation has consequences that pervade all human life, and to which every human sin perpetrated in history, contributes in some way. Although a strict connection between the universal character of original sin and monogenism is apparently clear from the biblical account, some theologians (including K. Rahner, Das problem der Hominisation, 1961) claim that such a connection could not be deduced apodicticly, that is leaving no doubt.

In the encyclical letter Humani generis, the Catholic Magisterium has partially clarified the question debated by stating that «it is no way apparent how the rejection of monogenism can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth propose with regard to original sin», which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through the generations, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own (cf. DH 3897). But, according to someone, what today "is no way apparent how to reconcile" might be reconciled in the future. J. De Fraine believes that the refusal of poligenism made by the Catholic Church should not be considered as conclusive (see Adam et son lignage  1968). In H. Haag's opinion, a distinction is due between the historical authenticity of the details contained in the biblical account and the historical authenticity of the sudden occurrence of the sin and its influence on human life (cf. Biblische Schöpfungslehre und kirchliche Erbsündenlehre, 1970). At the same time, we must remember that, from a scientific point of view, the assumption of monogenism should not be definitely excluded and that several researchers accept the possibility of a monogenetic origin of the human body.

To conclude, we would rather add some observations.

The true alternative to be posed is not between evolution and creation but, rather, between two different visions of an evolving world. Evolution is dependent upon the existence of a God who is transcendent and creator or, conversely, evolution is self-sufficient, self-generated and under continual transformation, thanks to a sort of power and intelligence immanent within the world. Therefore, we should be aware that it is not so much a choice between scientific interpretation and Christian revelation, as between an atheistic and materialistic vision and a religious vision, open to transcendence. Consequently, a vision of reality from the scientific point of view is not at stake.

The theory of evolution would be compatible with Christian faith even if the theory were to be falsified in the future. It may well enter the harmonious picture of creation: a vision of reality recognizing God's causality in the evolution of the universe is consistent with a divine action generally resorting to secondary causes in order to achieve its goals. Which is, after all, more attractive than leaving all to chance. The idea of an all-embracing project emerging afterwards, even through a series of non-deterministic events, is plausible, even though the existence of such a project can not be rigorously proven by scientific experimental methods only.

The fact that the created world has been entrusted to human beings increases their greatness and responsibility even at a bio-ecological level. Not only have humans a meaning by themselves, but they also assign a precise meaning to the reality around them. Their uniqueness stems from their capacity to produce culture based on projectuality and symbolism more than from the degree of their morphological evolution or from the associated results. The greatness of human beings within God's general project over creation depends on their capacity to recognize their Creator, on their freedom and the calling they received to conform to Jesus Christ, the archetype and the true image of all human beings. Because human beings are in charge of developing the creation of a world that God wanted as evolving, they must take care of it and drive the evolution of the natural resources in all their potential, in praise to God and for the sake of all their fellow creatures. It is the task humankind has, animated by the Spirit of Christ, to lead all cosmic and human realities towards the final stages of history, when Christ will sum up all things created by God to give them back to the Father for ever.


Scientific aspects: E. BONÉ, “Les sépoltures néanderthaliennes,” Les origenes humaines et les époques de l’intelligence (Paris: Masson, 1978), pp. 239-250; E. BONÉ, “La religione dell’uomo preistorico,” Synesis, 5 (1988), n. 1, pp. 27-42; J. CARLES, “Monogénisme ou Polygénisme. Les leçòns de la génétique,” Recherche et avenir 3 (1983), pp. 355-366; L. CAVALLI SFORZA, M.W. Feldman, Cultural Transmission and Evolution (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1981); Y. COPPENS (ed.), Earliest Man and Environments in the Lake Rudolf Basin. Stratigraphy, Paleoecology, and Evolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976); Y. COPPENS, Le Singe, L’Afrique et l’Homme (Paris: Fayard, 1983); T.W. DEACON, The symbolic species. The evolution of language and the human brain (London: Allen Lane, 1997); T. DOBZHANSKY, Mankind Evolving. The Evolution of the Human Species (New York – London: Bantam, 1970); T. DOBZHANSKY, Genetics and The Origin of Species (1937) (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982); G. DURAND, Les structures anthropologiques de l’immaginaire (Paris: Dunod, 1992); M. ELIADE, The Sacred and the Profane (New York: Harcourt, 1959); F. FACCHINI, Il cammino dell’evoluzione umana (Milano: Jaca Book, 19952); F. FACCHINI, “Il simbolismo nell’uomo preistorico. Aspetti ermeneutici e manifestazioni,” Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche 49 (1998), pp. 651-671; F. FACCHINI, Evoluzione umana e cultura, La Scuola, Brescia 1999; P. GRASSÉ, Evolution of Living Organisms. Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation (London - New York: Academic Press, 1977); A. LEROI-GOURHAN, Les religions de la Prehistoire (Paris: Presses Universitaires, 1964); A. Leroi-Gourhan, Treasures of Prehistoric Art (New York: Abrams, 1980); J. PIVETEAU, Origine et destinée de l'Homme (Paris-New York: Masson, 1983); J. PIVETEAU, L’apparition de l’homme (Paris: O.E.I.L., 1986); G. SIMPSON, The Meaning of Evolution. A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978); P.V. TOBIAS, Images of Humanity. The Selected Writings of Phillip V. Tobias (Rivonia: Ashanti Pub., 1991).

Theological and Interdisciplinary aspects: E. ANATI et al., Le origini e il problema dell'homo religiosus (Milano: Jaca Book, 1989); J. ARNOULD, La théologie après Darwin. Elèments pour une théologie de la création dans une perspective évolutionniste (Paris : Cerf, 1998); L. BOUYER, Le Fils éternel. Théologie de la parole de Dieu et Christologie (Paris : Cerf, 1974); T. DOBZHANSKY, “Teilhard de Chardin and the orientation of evolution. A critical essay,”  Zygon3 (1976), pp. 245-258; F. FACCHINI, Origini dell’uomo ed evoluzione culturale. Profili scientifici, filosofici, religiosi (Milano: Jaca Book, 2002); L. GALLENI, Scienza e teologia (Brescia: Queriniana, 1992); A. GANOCZY, Dieu, l’homme et la nature (Paris: Cerf, 1995); A. GESCHÉ, Dieu por penser: Le cosmos (Paris: Cerf, 1994); E. GILSON, D’Aristote à Darwin et retour. Essai sur quelques constantes de la biolophilosophie (Paris : Vrin, 1971); JOHN PAUL II, Theology of the Body. Human Love in the Divine Plan (Boston : Pauline Books & Media, 1997); J. LEJEUNE, “Adam et Ève ou le Monogénisme,”  Nouvelle Revue Théologique 90 (1968), n. 2, pp. 191-196; J.M. MALDAMÉ, Le Christ et le Cosmos (Paris : Desclée, 1992); C. Paulot, Science et création (Paris : Téqui, 1992); G. MARTELET, Evolution et création, vol. I (Montréal-Paris : Médiaspaul - Cerf, 1998); M.-J. NICOLAS, Evolution et christianisme. De Teilhard de Chardin à saint Thomas d’Aquin (Paris : Fayard, 1973); J. RIES, L'expression du sacré dans les grandes religions, 3 vols. (Louvain-la-Neuve: Centre d'histoire des religions, 1978-1986); J. RUIZ DE LA PEÑA, Teologia della creazione (Roma: Borla, 1988); Teología de la creación (Santander: Sal Terrae, 1986); A. SERRA, “Le origini biologiche dell’uomo,”  Civiltà Cattolica 149 (1998), IV, pp. 16-30.