In the beginning, the world was created. Whether we believe it was created by an infinite cosmos or by God affects our belief about why man became, but it does not change much my story about what has become of man. Without examining its deeper impact on our relationship with God, let’s briefly examine our place in nature.
In the beginnings of primeval life on Earth, organisms learned to destroy other living creatures to survive. Yet, they also learned that survival required living in harmony with other species, including those they destroyed. Into this environment of destruction and harmony, man came to be on our planet. We were born with the same drive to survive as all other creatures.
Because of Earth’s unique orbit around our sun and the positioning of our tiny planet among the stars, whether perfectly hung here in space by God or not, Earth’s nature impacts man’s survival. One natural law affecting man’s survival is selfish demise.
Early forms of life on Earth that selfishly took more than their share of Earth’s resources died out. Those creatures that adapted to a balance between destruction and harmony lived on and mutated into today’s community of living things. Take man’s nemeses, infectious diseases, for instance. Those virulent, early organisms that quickly killed their human hosts died out along with their humans, not having a chance to mutate. Viruses and bacteria that let man chronically adapt to disease, however, have lived on in the world for millennia.
So our earthly community of organisms has been kept in balance by rules of the universe, Godly or not. Destruction has been tolerated to let species survive. The law of selfish demise has let one species in particular, mankind, benefit even as others are completely destroyed. Scientists estimate that between one and twenty species become extinct every day.
Yet, while we believe that we are benefiting, this law of selfish demise also applies to man. If man acts too selfishly, like all other forms of extinct life, Earth will become uninhabitable for our species. As it has been for the millions of extinct life forms that once inhabited Earth, the planet will live on, perhaps with higher temperatures or lower oxygen, perhaps with an overgrowth of pathogens that would otherwise be plagues to man, but live on it will.
Mankind believes that we are the greatest beneficiary of Earth’s position amongst the stars. We, above all other creatures, have been given the capacity to bend Earth’s resources to our desires. But if thousands of creatures become extinct each year, perhaps the lesson for man is that we must not exceed the law of selfish demise if we are to survive.
We have subdued most of the living things that would eat our flesh. Thus far, we still have most of the polar ice that keeps Earth temperate. We still keep many microorganisms in check that continue to mutate to challenge our superiority. Perhaps our greatest immediate threat to mankind remains ourselves. We are a unique species in that we remain intent on killing our own.
If the law of selfish demise also applies to man, then our survival requires that we maintain a balance between killing other humans and living in harmony with them. We continue to improve our material lot by destroying other men, even if this destruction ultimately harms mankind. In North America, our Native American reservations and inner cities are remnants of this selfish imbalance.
If we can destroy so many of our own species for our selfish advancement and look on as thousands of other species disappear from the Earth, is it conceivable that we might be closer to the tipping point than we think? It might be time for us to lean more toward harmony and less toward destruction of other men. Perhaps, we might even have to lean more toward harmony and care more for other species that do not so clearly meet our needs for survival.
At some point, the Earth might even require man to review our current beliefs about how to live in harmony on our planet. There are deeper meanings to the patterns of evolvement and extinction taking shape. We need to evolve our understanding more quickly than the species that are disappearing from their harmonious enjoyment of planet Earth.