From: Steve Petermann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Sep 09 2003 - 14:14:10 EDT
> I'm struggling to see why positing the potential for evil in creation
> resolves the problem, while positing the actuality of evil never has
> it. What advantage is gained by speaking of the potential for evil, as
> opposed to the actuality of evil?
My original intent was to discuss the issue of evil in a science and
religion context. What prompted this was the discussions of process
theology. While process theology may has a differing theology from standard
Christian thought, it seems to have a similar view of evil. One that desires
to shield God from it. To me this is just creates a point of significant
contention with science, world rejection. In my opinion and others, all
current major world religions are at their core world rejecting. But it
seems to me that his world rejection creates an untenable position for a
science and religion dialogue. If a world rejecting stance is taken, then
some sort of supernatural apocalypse or transformation must occur to set
things right. Science on other hand would reject such a scheme as
unreasonable. For science, the cosmos will end not with a supernatural
intervention but in collapse, cold death, or by some other natural means.
For science and religion to be partners in the search for truth, I believe
that religion must formulate a world and life affirming view. To do this it
must deal with the question of evil. If the presence of evil or the
potential for evil are framed as spoilers then the only alternatives are
re-creation or escape. This would represent the standard Christian or
Eastern view. However, if including the potential for evil in creation is
God's choice then there must be a reason for it and perhaps the presence of
evil itself is not a spoiler. Surely this inclusion of the potential for
evil is not just a superfluous addition.
Let me use the Christian example to illustrate this point. In the creation
story in genesis God apparently purposefully includes the potential for evil
in creation. God who creates Adam includes the potential for evil in him.
And yet even with that inclusion God declares creation good. This would
suggest the potential for evil is part of a good cosmos. It is only the act
of evil that is taken as a spoiler. But is it a spoiler? Christianity
claims that, that one act, spoiled creation such that it needed to be
rejected and saved. Other approaches, including some non-standard Christian
approaches claim the "fall" is not a world rejecting spoiler but is
something to be overcome in telos. That telos can be found in the sustained
creation(evolution) of the cosmos.
But if God chose to include the potential for evil then God need not be
shielded from it. Instead apparently part of the process of God's creation
is meeting the challenge of this potential and dealing with evil where it
To me the incarnation and resurrection metaphors of Christianity are a
perfect example of God, accepting the limitations of life and with it the
potential for evil, symbolizing both the process of embracing good over evil
and the victory of telos.
Unless religion can move to a world affirming view, I don't see the
potential for much progress in a science and religion dialogue.
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