Evolutionary Techniques of Life

It is impossible accurately to determine, simultaneously, the exact location and the velocity of a moving object; any attempt at measurement of either inevitably involves change in the other. The same sort of a paradox confronts mortal man when he undertakes the chemical analysis of protoplasm. The chemist can elucidate the chemistry of dead protoplasm, but he cannot discern either the physical organization or the dynamic performance of living protoplasm. Ever will the scientist come nearer and nearer the secrets of life, but never will he find them and for no other reason than that he must kill protoplasm in order to analyze it. Dead protoplasm weighs the same as living protoplasm, but it is not the same.

There is original endowment of adaptation in living things and beings. In every living plant or animal cell, in every living organism — material or spiritual — there is an insatiable craving for the attainment of ever-increasing perfection of environmental adjustment, organismal adaptation, and augmented life realization. These interminable efforts of all living things evidence the existence within them of an innate striving for perfection.

The most important step in plant evolution was the development of chlorophyll-making ability, and the second greatest advance was the evolution of the spore into the complex seed. The spore is most efficient as a reproductive agent, but it lacks the potentials of variety and versatility inherent in the seed.

One of the most serviceable and complex episodes in the evolution of the higher types of animals consisted in the development of the ability of the iron in the circulating blood cells to perform in the double role of oxygen carrier and carbon dioxide remover. And this performance of the red blood cells illustrates how evolving organisms are able to adapt their functions to varying or changing environment. The higher animals, including man, oxygenate their tissues by the action of the iron of the red blood cells, which carries oxygen to the living cells and just as efficiently removes the carbon dioxide. But other metals can be made to serve the same purpose. The cuttlefish employs copper for this function, and the sea squirt utilizes vanadium.

The continuation of such biologic adjustments is illustrated by the evolution of teeth in the higher Urantia mammals; these attained to thirty-six in man’s remote ancestors, and then began an adaptative readjustment toward thirty-two in the dawn man and his near relatives. Now the human species is slowly gravitating toward twenty-eight. The process of evolution is still actively and adaptatively in progress on this planet.

But many seemingly mysterious adjustments of living organisms are purely chemical, wholly physical. At any moment of time, in the blood stream of any human being there exists the possibility of upward of 15,000,000 chemical reactions between the hormone output of a dozen ductless glands.

The lower forms of plant life are wholly responsive to physical, chemical, and electrical environment. But as the scale of life ascends, one by one the mind ministries of the seven adjutant spirits become operative, and the mind becomes increasingly adjustive, creative, co-ordinative, and dominative. The ability of animals to adapt themselves to air, water, and land is not a supernatural endowment, but it is a superphysical adjustment.

Physics and chemistry alone cannot explain how a human being evolved out of the primeval protoplasm of the early seas. The ability to learn, memory and differential response to environment, is the endowment of mind. The laws of physics are not responsive to training; they are immutable and unchanging. The reactions of chemistry are not modified by education; they are uniform and dependable. Aside from the presence of the Unqualified Absolute, electrical and chemical reactions are predictable. But mind can profit from experience, can learn from reactive habits of behavior in response to repetition of stimuli.

Preintelligent organisms react to environmental stimuli, but those organisms which are reactive to mind ministry can adjust and manipulate the environment itself.

The physical brain with its associated nervous system possesses innate capacity for response to mind ministry just as the developing mind of a personality possesses a certain innate capacity for spirit receptivity and therefore contains the potentials of spiritual progress and attainment. Intellectual, social, moral, and spiritual evolution are dependent on the mind ministry of the seven adjutant spirits and their superphysical associates.


Urantia Book. (1955). Evolutionary Techniques of Life. Chicago, IL: Urantia Foundation.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt 7:20).

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