Re: the fall and the story of evil in a progressive/evolutionary creation

From: Graham E. Morbey (
Date: Tue Jun 17 2003 - 09:58:14 EDT

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    Because the Creation story implies very strongly that God transcends
    Creation in the most basic fashion conceivable to human reflection, it
    is not surprising that thinking about evil and good always leave a
    residue of mystery. The weight we give to the story of the fall in
    Genesis 3 seems to be out of proportion to the actual account. The few
    verses given to the momentous event immediately open on to the much more
    important and weighty story of Godly redemption. The persistence of evil
    in myself, my family, my culture, my world is a great problem. But the
    greater problem, I suggest, is the problem of the Good. Why is there so
    much good? How can it be accounted for? Everywhere I look, I see it. The
    story of the Good and its resolution is surprisingly beautiful and awe
    It takes some human derring-do in the face of evil to accept, but it
    conquerors evil each time!

    Ted Davis wrote:

    >I understand Lucien's difficulties with understanding the fall. IMO, the
    >problem of evil cannot be fully resolved within theism. Let me add,
    >however, that nontheists don't get off the hook: if there is no God, no
    >ultimate good, then there really is no category of evil. Thus, we can't
    >really claim honestly or even coherently that the holocaust (for example)
    >was evil--and that does seem to be a very large problem indeed. Nor can
    >nontheists fully resolve what we might call the problem of design--how it is
    >that the universe itself, and its contents appear so strongly to have been
    >purposefully made. Why, to cite a famous paper by Eugene Wigner,
    >mathematics is so unreasonably fruitful in explaining nature. We do seem to
    >have something like a "draw" between design and theodicy.
    >As for the fall, I like what John Polkinghorne writes in Belief in God in
    >an Age of Science, p. 89. "There was death in the world long before there
    >were our human precursors. After all, it was the extinction of the
    >dinosaurs that gave us mammals our evolutionary chance. But the Fall, as I
    >have described it, turned death into mortality. Self-consciousness made us
    >aware of our transience--we could foresee our deaths--and alienation from
    >the God who is the eternal ground of hope, turned that recognition into
    >sadness and bitterness. In a similar way, the problems of living,
    >symbolised by thorns and thistles, became causes of frustration and the
    >expense of spirit."

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