Jews who want to embrace Darwinism must at the very least tie themselves up into one very tight kosher pretzel if they don’t also want to jettison their allegiance to Judaism, or to intellectual and spiritual coherence, in the process.
A while back I posted on the physical way that God’s image or tzelem
is reflected in the human face. As always, some readers who didn’t want to go there found this offensive. Let them now take up the matter with Rashi.
The earlier context was the incoherent mishmash called “theistic evolution,” an idea that seeks hopelessly to reconcile Darwinism with traditional theism. Theistic evolutionists don’t mind thinking that God didn’t quite care what kind of intelligent being arose from the evolutionary process — could have been a brainy dinosaur, a smart squid, or something monstrous
we can only dare to imagine. According to guys like Kenneth Miller or Francis Collins, God simply set a cosmic evolutionary process in motion (or maybe not even that) and let nature take its course, wherever and whatever that might be. This is supposed to be satisfying to a theist, whether Christian or Jewish. I showed that Judaism can’t readily be reconciled with such divine indifference to the form of our bodies.
Basic ideas in Judaism often come out in funny places in the Talmud and other rabbinic literature. Thus in the Talmudic tractate Shabbat (50b) there’s a discussion of whether it’s permissible on the Sabbath or a weekday for a man to use certain cosmetic procedures on himself. The larger context is a bit too odd to get into. It would be distracting. But the discussion includes a statement that certainly a person is obligated “to wash his face, hands, and feet daily because of the honor of his Maker.” On this, the indispensable medieval commentator Rashi explains that “As it is said, ‘For in the image of God He made man’ (Genesis 9:6).”
Not only the face but the hands and feet reflect God’s image! This is Judaism speaking, as fundamental a source as Rashi on the Talmud.
In previous posts I suggested that our human countenance, the face, somehow reflects a supernal model. Contra Miller and Collins, an octopus would not fit the bill. Does that mean God has a face? No, obviously not in a literal sense. Yet somehow, something about Him can be reflected in our body, and He willed that it should be so.