[asa] Evolution, theodicy & trinity

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Mon Mar 17 2008 - 16:53:47 EDT

Several weeks ago, I expressed my inability adequately to state in
Trinitarian terms the theological view of creation & suffering that I find
the most convincing. I am now reading Robert J. Russell's new book,
Cosmology from Alpha to Omega, and on 311 I find the kind of statement I
have been looking for.

The context is eschatology, which Russell believes holds out the only
adequate response to the problem of suffering. He notes that a satisfactory
eschatological vision "must include the redemption of all life in the
universe," and goes on to say that it must be trinitarian "since it is the
trinitarian God who will act to bring this about as we know based on the
revelation of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Thus the involuntary
suffering of all of nature--each species and each individual creature--must
be taken up into the voluntary suffering of Christ on the cross
(theopassionism) and through it the voluntary suffering of the Father

I'm not convinced myself that all living things are necessarily part of
this, although they might be (that's an issue I will bracket here), but I am
convinced that a conception like this is what is needed to respond
adequately to theodicy. I've tried to articulate this in the past in
various ways, but I was unable to arrive at language this precise.

Please note that, from reading Russell's book and also from talking to him
extensively last week (when I was at CTNS), there can be no doubt that
Russell, like me, begins his theological understanding of the world with the
bodily resurrection of Jesus. No doubt at all. His reference to the
resurrection in the passage above needs to be seen as a reference to the
orthodox understanding, with an empty tomb and appearances of the glorified
body of Jesus--which links the resurrection directly to eschatology, with
Jesus as "the first fruits" of the eschatological transformation that will
include (in his view) "all things." His references to the Trinity are also
orthodox. In previous writings, Bob has not always been as frank about his
views on these theological issues, but in this book the veil is completely
lifted and we see precisely where he is coming from. This is also
consistent with the high view of providence that he has in his chapter on
theistic evolution in Keith Miller's book, "Perspectives on an Evolving


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Received on Mon Mar 17 16:55:40 2008

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