Humans differ from other species because we have reason (some more than others) and the ability to choose good or evil (no one chooses what they think is bad for them). The problem comes when humans think something is good for them but don’t realize the unintended consequences of their choice. Scripture tells us “the wages of sin in death”. We don’t always choose what is good for us. Case in point, Genesis 2-3 where the archetype humans, Adam and Eve, choose what they think is good for them, even though God tells them “don’t do it'”.
The fact that we have reason for a reason means we can ask questions. Have you ever asked your dog or cat a question, such as “What is your gender?” Why is it that we can answer that question and animals can’t?
I even bring up this topic because it was the result of my most recent Lectio Divina (Philippians). I was thinking, not of the usual WHY question, such as “Why are humans the only ones who know that they know?” I actually thought of Philippians 2:5, the very center of my reality, and asked, “Why did St. Paul write this passage? Where did it come from? Was there a template for him to use, like the Hero myth format of ancient Greece and Rome, that tells the life story or a person and how he had to overcome obstacles but rose up to conquer them? What went before St. Paul that would give him the linkage with ideas from the past, one on which he could build?” As I thought of all this, I realized that much of the new testament, although linked with the old testament prophets, was new material. Where did the writers get it? Some of those who espouse the historical Jesus approach think his disciples made up all of this stuff. Maybe so, but how could they come up with all these new ideas that fit some well together? Were these early disciples a Ph.D. in religion, or a religious fanatic that believes in just one aspect of the divine economy of salvation (e.g. end times)?
Not even the lofty thoughts of the Romans or Greeks of Christ’s time thought of such a well-developed system of how to love others as Christ loved us. The fact that this fledgling movement began with twelve terrified men who did not fully comprehend how Christ loved us is, in itself, amazing. St. Paul develops a rationale for the Messiah, the one who is to come. Remember, most of these letters were read and reread in the Jewish memorial of their deliverance from slavery, the Last Supper. These teachings of the Master spread quickly. Why is that? Belief is key in this early Church, but that belief was in someone who was rumored to have died and was seen afterward by many different groups of disciples. There is just too much collaborative writing and belief from various groups to think that all of this happened by chance. St. John, in his Gospel 20:30-31 tells us WHY many different scribes and disciples wrote down what Jesus did. “John 20: 30-31 NRSVCE – The Purpose of This Book (NRSVCE)The Purpose of This Book30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah,[b] the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”