Evolution and The Problem of Evil (Introduction)

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Evolution and The Problem of Evil

Introduction

In essence the thesis/book is a philosophical defence for the goodness of the God of the Judeo/Christian Scriptures It is, in essence, an evolutionary theodicy, i.e. it argues that there has been no fundamental changes to the laws of physics—contrary to the argument put forward by Adrian Hough in a book entitled ‘The Flaw in the Universe’ (2010) in which Hough argues that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is ‘the flaw’ that produces natural evil—I argue that, in order for the ‘creation’ of carbon-based life to pertain and for the ultimate arrival of sentient life in the form of the Imago Dei to ‘arrive’—then Entropy was/is an essential part of the pathway for the purposes of God—ultimately the incarnation, DEATH, and resurrection of Christ.

In my thesis, I consider the works of a number of believing scientists, philosophers and theologians—including my main supervisor, Christopher Southgate (The Groaning of Creation, 2008). Whilst  not finding fault in Southgate et el’s eschatology—that there will be sufficient reason to uphold the goodness of God in the light of God’s ‘making everything right’ at the eschaton [new heavens, new earth—even a place where pelicans can thrive—according to Southgate not me].Southgate, et el and myself argue that this world is the best of possible worlds—a world in which life can and does evolve  and a world in which the problem of evil [moral and not natural] can be dealt with/defeated.

The actual problem of evil is that of the alienation of both angels and mankind—an  alienation brought about by the consequences of free-will choices of angels and mankind. Unlike other theistic evolutionists, including  Rob White (Who is To Blame?, 2014), whilst giving good reasons [White is a leading geophysicist] for the inevitability of earthquakes, does not, as far as I am concerned offer any argument as to the ‘whys and wherefores’ of such a state of affairs—apart from the ‘problem of mankind’—since the Fall. Of course, White does not maintain (neither do I) that there were no effects of ‘natural evil’ before the Fall or that there was no death before the Fall. Neither does he suggest (neither do I) that there were no changes to the environment as a result of the Fall. Indeed, it would be difficult for anyone taking the Bible seriously to conclude that there have been no major negative effects since mankind’s initial attempt at becoming ‘god-like’. White does though offer consolation vis a vis the eschatological hope—found in Christ.

A major part of my argument is that, i ) God is ‘personal’—has a personality—and is not to be confused with any other notion of ‘god’—from a pantheistic perspective or even a panentheistic  perspective. ii) God is both Sovereign and Good.  iii) The fall of angels ‘occurred’ [so to speak] before the creation of space/time—angels being incorporeal .iv) That this world is the only possible world in which God could bring about a state of affairs in which creatures such as ourselves could have evolved—to the point [one could call it an ‘omega’ point] of the consciousness that mankind alone [most likely] experiences. v) That God’s ultimate purposes include the bringing about of a state of affairs (new heavens/earth) in which God shall dwell with the redeemed of Christ—a place in which only ‘tears of joy’ pertain.

This defence/theodicy is a ‘Free-Will’ defence/theodicy—the free will of conscious corporeal creatures being an essential part of the argument—indeed any notion that has it that the God of the Bible would have brought about a state of affairs in which advanced carbon-based lifeforms had anything other than the potential for free-will choices would be, indeed, ‘non sequitur’.

This is, of course, a brief summary.  DW

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