Special? Oh, Please! And Yet …
Advances in primatology show that there is little uniquely human about humanity. Language and culture were long considered the likeliest bearers of the imago Dei, but it has convincingly been proven that neither theory of mind, language nor the ability to use tools is reserved to humans only. Even the sacred is no longer a distinctly human domain. There is a discourse evolving around signs of transcendence in human behavior (e.g. phenomena such as play, the ever-present yearning for ‘something more’, love, etc.). All of these are also present in other species. Dogs play, birds form long-standing bonds, and so on. So if there is something uniquely human about our sense of the beyond, it must not reside in simply having that sense per se. It must be with what we do with that sense. Departing from the concepts of actual and potential and using theological metaphors as an example, I will argue that our uniqueness – if it is, indeed, there – may lie in how we relate to our sense of the beyond.
KeywordsActuality and potentiality Human uniqueness Imago Dei Language Love Metaphors Play Primatology Reconciliation Transcendence
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