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Reading Genesis after Darwin$
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Stephen C. Barton and David Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383355

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383355.001.0001

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Evolution and Evil

Evolution and Evil

The Difference Darwinism Makes in Theology and Spirituality

(p.163) 10 Evolution and Evil
Reading Genesis after Darwin

Jeff Astley

Oxford University Press

Despite the complacent reaction of many theologians, Darwinism remains a dangerous idea for any religion that embraces a doctrine of creation. In particular, the evolutionary perspective—especially Darwin's fundamental insight about the inevitable role of natural selection—presents a profound challenge to explanatory Christian theodicy. This chapter addresses the ways in which our understanding of natural and moral evil needs to be reassessed in light of an evolutionary view of nature and of human beings as a part of nature. But it goes beyond this cognitive task to discuss the appropriate spiritual attitudes that Christians might adopt to help them cope with their own and others' sufferings and sins in an evolutionary framework. The chapter also touches on God's action in the world, the doctrine of the Fall, the origins and status of human virtue, and the importance of theological humility.

Keywords:   evolution, Fall, God's action, humility, moral evil, natural evil, natural selection, spirituality, theodicy, virtue

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