Re: Evolution and Salvation

Date: Tue Sep 16 2003 - 17:50:16 EDT

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    Regarding your question to Howard below, let me try to explain in general
    terms how I (and I think also other Christian evolutionists) understand and
    appreciate Howard's RFEP. The Robust Formational Economy Principle (RFEP)
    considers that part of what makes God's creation "very good" is that he
    didn't have to specifically make certain things happen in a particular way
    after his first act of creating the universe (or the basic laws
    matter/energy). God gifted his creation with the properties that make it
    "fruitful" in its chemical and biological evolution. God certainly
    delighted in watch the "unfolding" and "coming into being" of all levels of
    structure and complexity that arose in his creation work. That this
    fruitful creation eventually gave rise to life, and then to humans, was
    also a delight to him. Perhaps it was inevitable that it would do so,
    considering the giftedness of his creation. But this does not mean that
    God necessarily constrained the outcome to produce exactly what we see
    today (e.g., human that stand erect with two arms and legs, etc.).
    Certainly, if something more similar in resemblance to dolphins or
    something we've never seen the likes of were the life form that evolved a
    consciousness capable of contemplating meaning and its relationship to the
    Creator, that wouldn't necessarily be a problem, would it? Nevertheless,
    in our particular world, we humans are the God-aware creatures.

    Once we evolved to the point of God-awareness, it seems that God has
    approached us over time to make his character known more and more fully.
    There is a sort of Sacred Romance by which God progressively reveals
    himself and interacts with us. Scripture in its simplest and most reverent
    sense is the story of how God has graciously (i.e., not too much all at
    once, but clearly nevertheless) revealed himself to us. Certainly we
    occupy a special place in God's affections because of we are recipients of
    this sacred revelation. I hold a fairly conservative view about scripture
    being a case of God's special revelation (God actually intervening on
    occasion to work form-confering miracles and deliver his Word to us through
    his prophets and ultimately in Christ); in the last couple of years, Howard
    has been exploring a less orthodox view about how the God-World
    relationship has progressed.

    Regardless of differences along this orthodox-process theology spectrum,
    many of us Christian evolutionists very much appreciate the RFEP as a good,
    sound, and theologically defensible approach to understanding how
    scientific understanding about the formative history of the universe
    (including the evolution of life, including humans) is compatible with
    theism in general and Christianity in specific.


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                        asa-owner@lists. Subject: Re: Evolution and Salvation
                        09/16/03 01:27

    > Re: "Evolution is nothing like this. There is no specific "end result."
    > That's an interesting assertion (and a pretty commonly held notion). But
    > just for argument's sake, how do you know that?

    > Another perspective suggests that creation is toodling along just finem
    > guided generally or specifically (your choice of flavor) by a plan and
    > processes put in place from the outset.
    > From inside that plan, we would likely have no way of "divining" the
    > outcome or even a reasonably full picture of the objective(s). JimA

    I can't say that I "know" it, but neither can I imagine an alternative. The
    theory of evolution is based on non-directed processes like random mutation
    and natural selection (rm+ns). If your suggestion is correct, then it seems
    like it would take fine tuning to an entirely new level where the intial
    conditions would need to be specified to such an extent that the whole
    mechanistic/deterministic cascade of causes and effects that led to the
    apparently *random* result of the appearance of man in the evolutionary
    chain would in fact be inevitable.

    This seems like a bit of a stretch to me. And that's why I asked Howard to
    fill in the gaps in his RFEP which seems very vague when it attempts to
    accomodate the Christian understanding of God and Creation. The Bible
    declares that God formed man. The RFEP seems to be saying that God formed
    the universe in such a way that things *like* man would be an inevitable
    consequence. But if I am reading him correctly, it seems like he denies
    God *specifically* formed us since the RFEP seems only to assert that some
    sort of creatures would evolve, while not specifying exactly which

    Is this correct Howard? Or do you believe that God specified exactly which
    creatures would evolve when he created the world?

    Richard Amiel McGough
    Discover the sevenfold symmetric perfection of the Holy Bible at

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