The Emergence of Human Evil: the Prequel

There’s a scene from the movie, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, wherein the local African cattle kill and eat several wild hyenas. Almost immediately after ingesting the animal flesh the cows begin to stumble and drop dead. As gruesome as the whole scenario was, it seems symbolic of the first day, one million years ago (or so), also in Africa, when pre-human primates came across or killed another animal and decided to eat its dead flesh. As with the scene from the installment of the Exorcist, the event represented an innocent plant-eater’s first brush with evil.

Unfortunately for all other life to follow, humans did not have an immediate sickened reaction and drop dead like the cattle in the film. Nothing stopped the greedy proto-humans from continuing with their aberrational carnivorous crimes against nature. Instead, the killing and consumption of their fellow animals, bolstered by the lust for power and control, became routine, tradition, and finally enshrined. Now, here we are today (both the unthinking omnivore and the ethical vegetarian alike) paying the penance for our ancestors’ acts.

Yes, there was an original sin, but it had nothing to do with eating apples or any other fruit, nor anything that grew on trees or in the ground for that matter. It had to do with trying to mimic natural predators who’ve had millennia over us primates to adapt physically and psychologically into the role of carrion scavenger or killer. Not that nature’s carnivores were ever evil, but why would we want to emulate such undesirable and offensive behavior?

That first bloody bite of carrion, the first mouth-watering morsel of tender flesh was all it took; all she wrote. Fast-forward a million years—game over.

The proud human followed a path from hand-to-mouth, from feed lot to oil field, changing everything from Earth’s biodiversity to its very climate.

A lot has been made about humans being the only species to cause a mass extinction. But when all is said and done, some may say that we’re not the first species to have a role in a mass extinction; that the over-population of methane producing microbes, methanogens, might have factored in to the third mass extinction event, the Permian extinction. Still the fact remains that humans have the dubious distinction of being the one species to knowingly bring en entire era (in our case, the Age of Mammals—the most diverse in Earth’s history) to a close. Despite ample warning and time to modify our behavior, our species seems bent on making the same mistakes right up to the living end. Not only did the freeways and highways not miraculously clear at the first sign that our carbon over-output was changing the planet’s atmosphere, but relatively few people (relative to the over-all burgeoning human population, anyway) are swearing off carrion after learning that meat production is responsible for an even greater carbon (and methane) footprint.

And it all leads back to that first fateful bloody bite. Mother Nature was too nice to us. If she had made that early proto-human urp it all back up again, projectile-vomit at the very thought of it, or experience some repellant natural reaction, we could all have been spared a lot of misery at the hands of Homo Horribilus Rex, the two-legged mutant, meat-eating monster.

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15 thoughts on “The Emergence of Human Evil: the Prequel

  1. Great idea! According to Genesis, the only food first allowed in the Garden of Eden was vegan. It would seem only fair that killing and eating another being was the first and worst sin. At the risk of being blasphemous, though, I used to think that the Original Sin was God’s for creating us (or allowing us live and evolve).

  2. I always think that we are God’s mistake. We keep speculating about what was done in the past, bacteria, what the Anthropocene boosters guess at and use for their excuses to keep doing it, etc. But that’s only guesswork – what we do know and what we have proof of is what we are doing now and have done, through recorded history during our terrible reign on this planet.

    Whatever we say about animal behavior, humans have taken killing and violence to entirely new and terrible levels. We don’t do it for food only. There’s no contest.

  3. Yes, and that creates a real dilemma that the Church does not really address and theodicy cannot vindicate: If God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-merciful, and all-just (the attributes of God), how could “He” be create a being (Homo sapiens), the so-called crown of His work, who terrorizes the planet, is responsible for multiple extinctions of His other species, and causes the unending suffering and death of his “lesser” creatures. Then He does not condemn the carnage or punish it in this world or the next. Another dilemma is how so many people believe it and do see all the contradictions and the evils. If God doesn’t make mistakes, then we came about by intention? Guess this is the Great Mystery.

    • Not quite sure what you are saying here. The Bible is clear, what God created was good but man brought evil into the world and God regretted that He made man. Nevertheless we have free will to do good or evil – for a time at least. God sent His Son as Savior for us to accept or reject and choose to be saved or not. The Bible also makes it clear that many who say or believe they are saved, are not saved.

  4. One point is that it would be less convoluted to view Genesis as myth (not in the derogatory sense) but as a people’s attempt to explain how the world and its inhabitants came to be. Evolution provides an answer. Otherwise there are problems: Since God is all-knowing, he would have realized that Adam and Eve would bring sin into the world. He knew that human beings would abuse free will and frequently choose to do evil. He knew that many would commit horrible crimes and a multitude of harmful acts without free will because they were insane or cognitively impaired. The concept of evolution doesn’t leave us with the question of why a good and just deity could knowingly allow the evil act of two people in Eden to cause all the pain on this earth and it doesn’t explain why animals suffer for anyone’s sins.

  5. The bible was written my humans. Anyone who has read this book knows that the majority of it is about “begetting” and war. I was raised on the bible, even became a “born again” Christian, but luckily got over that myth later. Humans have made themselves “gods.” They then created a “God” in their image, and a male, usually white one at that. All very nicely packaged, and easy to swallow. This brainwashing is part of the problem with Homo sapiens, with the idea of “immortality.” (after all, Gods are supposed to be immortal, and if we are going to be immortal, what we do on Earth doesn’t matter—an often common thread in Christianity and other man-made religions. Religion is the ultimate Humanism.

    http://www.foranimals.org

    • But the godless wonders (I call them) are wreaking as much havoc in high places as the religious wonders. It’s a human thing, we’ve twisted the tenets of religion to suit us, and we twist everything to suit us, whether our god is money or a deity.

  6. “Homo Horribilus Rex, the two-legged mutant, meat-eating monster.” I love this. I would like permission to use it in my posts in animals related activities on FB

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