Re: [asa] Evolution, theodicy & trinity

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue Mar 18 2008 - 22:11:59 EDT

So tonight my boys (7 and 9 years old) and I watched the movie "The Game
Plan." It's a lighthearted kid movie, but at the end a little girl almost
dies because of a peanut allergy. All turns out well and it isn't ever
really scary. But at bedtime, my 9 year old asks me, "why are people
allergic to nuts." I try to explain allergies as an over-reaction of the
body's natural defenses against things that can hurt us. My son asks, "why
did God make us so that our systems would over-react? Why couldn't he make
them work right if he can do anything he wants?"

Wow. I try to explain -- I'm not sure; I wonder, if people hadn't sinned
from the very beginning, if things might somehow be different; but we also
have to remember that our lives are much more than this life; life can be
hard but Jesus came into the world and died for us so that we can always be
with him; someday, the things that seem hard to us right now will seem
small, like if you were sick with the flu a few weeks ago and today you can
hardly remember what that felt like; but some things like this we can't
really totally explain. He ponders. It gets filed away in his bright
little mind. I hope what I said helps him some day.

And then he changes topics... "what happens to babies when they die?"

On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 4:30 PM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> 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.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- 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
> > follow.)
> >
> > ***
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Ted
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> >
> --
> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

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 22:13:24 2008

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