Evolution and Theology
These sections deal with the enormous impact Darwinian schemes have had both on scientific understanding and on theology. Charles Darwin (1809-82) was not however the first naturalist to think that organic evolution might have occurred (see important evolutionists before Darwin and influences on Darwin).
Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. The importance of the Origin is that Darwin a) presented a vast amount of evidence for evolution and b) proposed a mechanism by which it could give rise, given time, to the vast variety of life-forms he had observed. See
scheme, and the rhetoric of Darwinism.
Darwin's challenge to theological positions was a profound one, more subtle than is implied in the caricature - Darwin v. Christianity. We explore the way the scheme has developed in from Darwinism to neo-Darwinism, self-organisation and the development of complexity, and some recent debates about evolution.
In these pages we also address the scientific question: how are
humans thought to have evolved (the evolution of hominids). We note the very
similar but different evolutionary career of the Neanderthals, and the paradox
of the development of modern humans.
Scientific descriptions of humans as evolved beings call
forth religious responses to the science of human evolution. These particularly
relate to humans as made in the image of God and the doctrine of the Fall.
These religious responses have to be seen in the context of
some scientists rejection of the possibility of religious truth. See the science of sociobiology critiques the
truth-claims of religion.
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate and Dr. Michael Robert Negus
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)