Dimensions of the Human Being and of Divine Action - Creation and Evolution

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Dimensions of the Human Being and of Divine Action

English > Fields of Research > Evolution and Creation

P. Rüst (2005), Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 57/3, 191-201;
Original web publication by the American Scientific Affiliation (but with defunct e-mail address):
An extended German version of this paper: P. Rüst (2006),
"Dimensionen der menschlichen Natur und des göttlichen Wirkens"
, 16 S.


Humans are three-dimensional, body-soul-spirit entities, but nevertheless unitary, indivisible persons. Animal behavior includes deterministic and random constituents. It may be modeled in terms of information systems, containing regulatory loops. Goal settings for these may be fixed, as in "lower" animals, or governed by internal adaptive supervisory systems freely selecting from alternative routines, as in conscious "higher" or "soulish" animals. A meta-supervisor in humans provides self-consciousness, free will, conscience and spiritual behavior. As with space, each further dimension includes the previous one, but cannot emerge from it or be reduced to it.

In the natural origin of each human individual, God providentially works through deterministic events, random ones such as mutations and neural modifications, as well as the option of selecting the outcome of some of these. This hidden feeding-in of formative information would represent the fundamental novelty implied by God "creating" the individual.

A real human being (about 3 years old) and an overly simplistic model of one, lacking several dimensions, standing next to him.

Both scientific and theological models of human nature usually lack several dimensions and sometimes also the existential unity of the human being. They are therefore unsatisfactory.

- God creates 4-dimensional space-time (including chemistry).

- He adds semantic information to create 5-dimensional biological life (origin of life, the body).

- He adds "soul" to create 6-dimensional "higher animals" (origin of psychological sentiency).

- He adds God's image to create 7-dimensional humans in the biblical sense (origin of capacity for spirituality).

- He adds spiritual life to create an 8-dimensional child of God (on voluntary conversion / new birth).

- God's reality is certainly at least 9-dimensional if not much more.


- In Genesis 1, the verb "to create" is used three times: for the universe, higher animals, and humanity. This may be correlated to the physical, the sentient (or psychological), and the spiritual dimensions. In each case, something fundamentally new originated, that didn't exist before.

- Between these special events, and persisting through the second and third of these, there was a continuous history of development. Of course, this natural development or evolution is just as much God's doing as the special creative acts explicitely declared as such.

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