Do animals possess morality?

Back in March ’09 I published a post entitled “Where does morality come from?” I offered some evidence to show that morality comes from God and represents a conscious spiritual principle.

The argument against such a transcendental claim usually comes from those who embrace Darwin’s theory of evolution and a materialistic philosophy about reality. They will point out that animals display a moral genetic disposition, such as social cooperation, protecting their young with their own lives and rendering various services for the betterment of the species. These acts of “goodness” are simply explained as the strategies of genes to ensure that they will have a future.

First of all, such a genetic disposition in animals seems like an appropriate outcome from a universe created by a God of Love. However we should not confuse “service” or instinctive acts of “goodness” with ethics or morality. Morality goes much deeper. Humans can provide helpful services from opposing principles. We can be helpful to others from a spiritual principle of mutual love or from another principle, which is egocentric and values self-gain.

Humans are not moral because of outward acts. Humans have an inner and outer reality (spirit and body). This double dynamic allows for hypocrisy, deceit and hidden agendas. Animals are what they are. But humans can hide their motives from the world. For a human to act morally, he or she has to be good inside and out.

Religion addresses the special inner world of the human heart and mind. Humans are free to choose what they value most. Religion is God’s wise strategy for guiding the human race as to the best values to choose—and for a scientific reason.

It is often said that science deals with facts and religion deals with values. But human evolution is tied to value systems. What we inherit from our parents mostly determines our physical characteristics. But what we personally choose from our free will determines the characteristics of who we really are.

What do our chosen values have to do with evolution—a science that addresses the dynamical adaptation of bio-complexity? Well, what we seek most in our lives represents HOW our inner or spiritual reality is organized. Values create belief-systems, which represent our thoughts, feelings and convictions arranged into real coherent structure. This higher-level structure represents a new embodiment for the soul (spiritual body).

So the real purpose of religion is to allow humans the opportunity to evolve inwardly for a life specially adapted to a non-physical realm (called heaven). In God’s grand scheme, nature’s incessant compulsion for self-organization and bio-complexity continues into the spiritual realm through humankind’s special relationship with God.

About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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