Re: Evolution and sin

Pattle Pun (
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 14:17:39 -0600 (CST)

On Mon, 30 Mar 1998, Ted Davis wrote:

> In my view there are at least two very serious problems to be dealt with in
> any proposed reconciliation of Christianity and evolution. One is the
> "fall," that is, the source of sin (moral evil) as well as of suffering
> (including "natural evil"). I for one never found traditional theodicy very
> helpful on linking these two -- why spiders should lay eggs in paralyzed
> wasps as a result of Adam and Eve eating fruit never made sense to me -- but
> I don't find most proposed evolutionary alternatives very satisfying either.
> George Murphy may well be correct in suggesting that we all need better to
> understand the theology of the cross, and that we start THERE rather than
> with creation in understanding such matters.
I see the major weakness of the theology of the cross which is originated
from Luther is to propagate a theology of paradox. According to Luther,
Christians live an earthly kingdom as well as in a heavenly kingdom, and
are accontable to both man and God. Thus we are to live in perpetual
tension, especially when the demands of these kingdoms clash. The emphasis
on the existential nature of human evil without provision for an adequate
historical foundation of theistic evolutionism seems to perpetuate this
paradoxical mindset; that is, we have to deal with human evil although we
are not sure how it came into being histoically. Most importantly, Paul's
equation of Christ with the second Adam(I Cor. 15:47, Rm. 5:12-21)
suggests the orgin of sin and human death from a single human couple
NECESSITATES the Incarnation and the redemptive work of Christ. Theistic
evolutionism weakens the historicity of the first parents, either by
denying their existence or giving the direct action of God on two evolving
hominds only spiritual meaning. Man is a unity of body, soul and
spirit, all of which are specially created in God's Image.

A discussion of theodicy is beyond the current topic. But as I mentioned
in my earlier paper (JASA, 3/87, p. 9-19): the presuppositions that one
cannot impose human volition in the non-human world, man's dominion in the
created world implies his control of the reproductive pattern of the
non-human life forms, and the the food chain necessitates physical death
in the things eaten, suggest that physical death was present before the

------------------------------------- Dr. Pattle Pun Professor of Biology
Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630)752-5303
FAX: (630)752-5996