You are what you eat. That trite truism has been kicking around for a few decades now, and although it has been an aphorism to encourage healthy eating it does convey a deeper truth. Scientists working in Africa have determined that the hominid diet of roughly two million years ago led to rapid brain expansion (rapid on an evolutionary scale, of course), according the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Remains found in Kenya, featuring a Rutgers University archaeologist, have indicated a widely varied diet of fish, turtles, and crocodiles among ancient hominids. Apparently these animals provide valuable nutrients for brain development, a somewhat disturbing piece of information for us vegetarians.
The more I have pondered this information, the more it has become evident that the concept of God has undergone considerable evolution. As I have noted several times in the past, religious behavior emerges at the very least in the Paleolithic Era of human development. What those non-literate ancestors thought or believed about “God” is long lost, but it seems to have persisted into modern conceptions of divinity. Belief in supernatural beings is attested world-wide, and therefore is a true human universal. (There are, of course, non-theistic religions and individuals, but all cultures show some measure of belief in the supernatural.)
In those moments when I am free to ponder what this might mean, I wonder about the earliest conceptions of the divine. It seems likely that this being was like a hominid, able to respond in kind to placating gestures on the part of early humans. An abstraction simply doesn’t fit easily into minds focused on the practical aspects of survival without the guidance of professional theologians. That early God was able to, but not obligated to assist our fearful ancestors with the struggles of daily life. That aspect of the divine being has not changed in many millennia. Even today many religious individuals still consume fish, a food approved even for meat-free days, by God himself.