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What Does It Mean to Have “Common Ancestry”? with Denis Alexander

What Does It Mean to Have "Common Ancestry"?
Conversation with: Denis Alexander

In this brief video “Conversation” Denis Alexander, director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, explains the definition of common ancestry.

To discuss this video, see our post "What Does It Mean to Have 'Common Ancestry'?" on Science & the Sacred.

Video Transcription

Yes, when we talk about common ancestry, we don't mean that we're descended from the apes. We mean that we last shared a common ancestor with the apes about six million years ago, plus or minus a little bit. And so, the apes have been evolving their own particular way since that time and we've been evolving our way.

I actually love sharing my genes with apes and other animals, because I think it reflects the fact that God in Genesis 1 looks at the whole created order and says it's good and it's good and it's good. And every day of the week in Genesis 1, God says this is good. So the material order that God brings into being is a good material order.

Now, he does say on the sixth day: and it was very good. So, obviously he has a special place for humankind as we've been thinking. Only humankind are made in the image of God. But the fact we're all linked up in this evolution in a historical way, I think is just a wonderful drama. It's a wonderful theater, you know? And, to me anyway, I find it a privilege that I should be connected up to all these wonderful creatures.

And it's wonderful that we all are part of this same history. So, all of the created order is good. That's what Genesis 1 is telling us. We're not demarcated off in some special little corner as if we were some special little beings unconnected to the rest of the created order. We're all good, according to God. A good creation.