Re: [asa] Evolution, theodicy & trinity

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Mar 18 2008 - 16:30:20 EDT

I don't think it's accurate to say that Ted's theology is driven by evolution. Its sources are theological - going back to (& through) Moltmann's "theology of hope" & Pannenberg's idea of "revelation as history" in the 60s. In fact Michael Welker begins his foreword to Ted's recent book Anticipating Omega by pointing out those connections. I added the parenthetic "& through" above because the basic concepts are biblical. Already in the 1st Genesis creation story you have the hint of a history that is directed toward a goal that is represented by the Sabbath, as Jews have often seen more clearly than Christians. The fact that biological evolution fits into this picture (N.B., especially for Gregory, not the other way around) is then of course very significant.

BTW, my review of Anticipating Omega will probably be in the next issue of PSCF.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: Ted Davis
  Cc: ; Merv
  Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 9:43 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Evolution, theodicy & trinity

  I'd ask the same question as Merv, but I'd ask it a little more broadly -- is the eschatological view taking "evolution" as a sort of metanarrative framework? Much as I admire Ted Peters' work, this is what bothers me about his proleptic eschatology -- it seems to take evolution as the driving force behind history and in that awfully close to panentheism. (Note that I'm not saying here that Peters ignores God's sovereignty.) So is Russell going down that same road? Or is it a more traditional Augustinian / Thomistic path -- that God's allowance of evil is necessary to bring about the greatest good?

  On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 9:24 AM, Ted Davis <> wrote:

    Merv has a great question about Russell's view of salvation:

    Does this include, then, something like universalism (all will be
    saved)? I've heard verses like those "Every knee will bow..." used to
    defend that, but it still seems like such a view requires too selective
    a view of Scriptures to be easily brought within the pale of orthodoxy.
    (as much as I'd like to believe it myself... there is always that
    little matter of truth...and whichever way it actually is, I wish to


    Ted responds:
    I don't know, Merv, I don't know. This is not specifically addressed as
    far as I can tell in this book. Russell has been influenced by John Hick's
    view that natural and moral evil can be answered only within an
    eschatological framework--and I think I agree with that view. For Hick,
    however, there is universal salvation, and I do not agree with that view.
    It is not clear whether Russell does.

    My own thinking about eschatology has also been influenced by NT Wright,
    who argues (The Resurrection of the Son of God) that our own
    resurrections--our own "raising" into glorified bodies--will not take place
    until the eschaton. This, he shows, is what second Temple Jews understood
    by "resurrection," and this is also what the New Testament teaches, more or
    less (I add this qualifier b/c there just isn't much said about it, and it
    isn't entirely consistent with any one view IMO). Russell also admires
    Wright's work--I directly asked him about this last week. They both
    vigorously defend the bodily resurrection, and they both (like me) construct
    their understanding of the faith around it.


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  David W. Opderbeck
  Associate Professor of Law
  Seton Hall University Law School
  Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

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Received on Tue Mar 18 16:33:19 2008

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