Re: evolution method

George Murphy (
Sun, 20 Dec 1998 13:29:42 -0500

Robin Mandell wrote:
> Good Evening list,
> I was wondering how different folks felt about separating the theory of
> descent from common ancestors from the different mechanisms named as the
> motors of evolution. From a
> christian perspective I am comfortable with the idea of an unbroken chain
> of life from simple to man but would still like to remain uncommitted on
> darwinism as some present it.
> Do the believers on this list who really grasp biology feel that the
> evidence for descent
> and the mechanisms themselves are logically separable or is this wishful
> thinking?

A bit tangential to your question but I think germane: Many Christians have
been able to accept "common descent" but have been uncomfortable with natural selection
as its primary mechanism: 19th century liberal theology is an example, as is to some
extent Teilhard de Chardin. Something like Lamarck's idea, roughly that organisms get
rewarded for trying to survive, is very attractive. It's a kind of "biological works
righteousness". I would argue that Darwinism is more in accord with the biblical
picture of the God who creates in situations in which we see creation to be impossible -
the resurrection of the dead and the justification of the ungodly. (Romans 4 is a good
thing to look at here.)

George L. Murphy