The Evolution of Evil
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With the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, problems once limited to the domain of human activity, were extended to all of nature. Human society, whatever else one might think about it, was seen as fundamentally characterized by the play of violent forces – scarcity, competition, domination. With Darwinian evolution this play of forces appeared to be at work throughout nature. Violence and suffering, it seems, are not merely the vicissitudes of life; they are the very condition of its possibility. If the problem of evil had been asked of human nature, it can now be asked of the structure of biological life itself.
Is violence and suffering so essential to evolutionary history that biological life cannot be conceived without it? And do these evolutionary forces, whether conceived as the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” or the Neo-Darwinian “selfish gene,” indicate that human beings are biologically biased to commit acts of violence, especially violence offering genetic advantage, such as genocide? If the answer to such questions is affirmative, then theological questions abound. Do violence and suffering, as basic conditions of life, render the idea of a creator God untenable? Do these elements of nature exhibit divine will? Does nature, marked by survival of the fittest, fit within God’s purpose for creation? Can we expect redemption or transformation?
The collection of essays in this book provides answers to these questions. In doing so they attempt to clarify the problem of evil as shaped by evolutionary biology, examining its scientific, historical, philosophical, and theological elements, and offering the beginnings of a Christian theodicy adequate to it.
- Gaymon Bennett (Hg.)
- Gaymon Bennett ist Doktorand am Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.
- Martinez J. Hewlett (Hg.)
- Dr. rer. nat. Martinez J. Hewlett ist Professor der Biologie am Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology der Universität Arizona, Tucson.
- Dr. theol. Ted Peters ist Professor für Systematische Theologie am Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary und am Graduate Theological Union und Direktor des Programms »Naturwissenschaft und Religion« am Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) in Berkeley, Californien.
- Robert John Russell (Hg.)
- Dr. theol. Robert John Russell ist Professor für Theologie und Naturwissenschaft am Graduate Theological Union, Gründer und Direktor des CTNS in Berkeley, Kalifornien.