RE: Darwinism/Compassion

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 12:03:43 EST

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    Hello Lucy,

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Lucy Masters []
    Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 12:53 PM
    To: Adrian Teo
    Subject: Re: Darwinism/Compassion


    Yes - I agree that we must always weigh and balance means and ends. But I
    also believe, especially in the area of biology, that we must consider the
    "nature" of creation (I almost hate to use the word "nature"). In other
    words, it appears that God did, in fact, design the human body to die in
    certain circumstances. In your analysis, death is automatically considered
    an evil. But is it?

    [AT] My point was not that means and ends need to be balanced - that would
    be proportionalism, which I do not agree with. I believe in moral absolutes,
    that there are some acts that are intrinsically evil under all conditions.
    The starting point for any moral deliberation should be the object of the
    act. Having said that, I do consider HUMAN death evil. I think that is much
    of what the NT authors were trying to communicate, that death is the final
    enemy, and will be conquered, not through our own strength, but through
    Christ. I don't see how one can argue that human death is not evil and
    reconcile that argument with Scripture.
    Prior to modern transportation and communications, for example, an
    indigenous tribe in an undeveloped land might experience, indeed did
    experience, a certain level of death by starvation in relation to the number
    of people born and the amount of arable land and potable water. Now, those
    deaths were surely sad events. On the other hand, by experiencing that
    relatively low death rate (and it was relatively low according to any
    number of texts on population dynamics), these tribes were able to survive
    with remaining healthy individuals who were relatively free of disease - in
    large numbers.

    Then along comes transportation and communication and folks around the world
    decide that the death rate currently being experienced (say, around 1955) is
    "evil" and must be stopped. And so we begin feeding programs. Fifty years
    later, the death rate has soared exponentially as have numerous diseases and
    epidemics directly related to over-crowding and insanitary conditions. In
    this scenario, we did "good" in order to get rid of an "evil" and end up
    with an even greater evil.
    [AT] Isn't it the case that as population expands, death rates would also go

    In the scenario I presented, we do "evil" (if that's what you want to call
    non-intervention) and end up with a fairly healthy and balanced population
    without the epidemics associated with over population. AND...the scenario I
    present is that granted to us through the systems of creation. I would go
    so far as to say that God intended it to be this way.

    [AT] We can never predict such outcomes. Nobody within reason could have
    known the outcomes of those interventions at that point. Our responsibility
    is to do what is right given our limited knowledge, and trust in God's
    graces. In hindsight, it is always easier to see how we could have done
    I do see your point, most definitely, but I also wonder about our use of the
    words "evil" and "good." Is non-intervention really evil? If it is, is God
    evil? He certainly doesn't intervene.

    [AT] Non-intervention isn't always evil, but non-intervention in the face of
    reason that tells us we should act is. How can we sit by and do nothing when
    our fellow human beings are suffering and dying of starvation? We are not
    called to save the world (that job has already been taken), but we are
    called to bring some measure of comfort and God's love to the people put in
    our paths.

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