Evolutionary Theology: How Evolution and Millions of Years Affects Traditional Theology

I recently came across a post calledWhat is “evolutionary theology”? The author asked a series of questions concerning the implications for theology if evolution were true. Below are his questions and my answers. The athor, whom I found to be fair and generous, is asking the right questions. I hope he comes to the right conclusions.

• What is the biological definition of “life”, and what implications does that have for an understanding of the “soul”?

My answer: The biological definition of life is hotly contested [though I feel compelled to mention Dr Werner Gitt’s observation: “The common factor present in all living organisms, from bacteria to man, is the information contained in all their cells.”]; however, the Bible makes distinctions between plant [“green things”] and animal life [“nephesh”], which makes sense if you think aboout it. Dead flowers bother us a whole lot less than a dead carcass on our living room table!

• If death is a necessary part of the evolutionary process, how do we imagine the role of death in God’s “creative process”?

My answer: You’re presuming both the truth of evolution and that God would actually use such a process [which i realize is the entire point of your post]. The first part of your postulate is partially incorrect. Death isn’t really a part of evolution; that is, it’s not part of the mechanism, though it’s present in the process. To wit, molecules-to-man evolution is a process of cycling death and mutation via natual selection, sexual selection, etc whereby all life is descended from the first life. So death is assumed in the process, as are mass extinctions. The theological problem we run into here is that the Bible states that by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin. It also states that the wages [deserved earnings] of sin is death. How is it earned if simply a natural part of the life cycle of all organisms? How is death the result of man’s sin if death predates both man and sin? Unfortunately, the reason these questions are nonsense is because the Bible specifically identifies Death as the last enemy. An enemy. Not a natural part of life. To make death, the last enemy, part of the creative process of a God who identifies Himself with Life is, I imagine, a special sort of blasphemy. In any case, it assumes that God did not create by fiat, by spoken command, as the Bible relates nor in 6 solar days as it also plainly states in both Genesis and Exodus 20:11 [i.e- the 4th Commandment]

• We attribute global consequences to human sin (”the fall”), but were not those dynamics (death, decay, carnivorism, thorns, earthquakes) present in creation before humans evolved? How does this impact our understanding of the Biblical account? Continue reading