Re: [asa] (ancient theodicy, 'ancient theology') Deism, Apologetics, and Neglected Arguments

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Aug 24 2009 - 15:23:48 EDT

> So I have to ask what the TE  position is with respect to the fall?  Is it denial of the fall? <

There is rarely a single TE position.

There are a number of claims out there that evolution and the fall are
incompatible, but rarely with any substantiation. I suspect that this
largely reflects the Huxley/Spencer/etc. concept of evolution as
progress, merged into the traditional liberal notions of the inherent
progress of humanity. If you are confident that humanity is every day
in every way getting better and better, then fallenness does not fit
in with that, regardless of one's views on evolution. Despite the
abundant evidence from the past century that humanity is not getting
inherently nicer, not to mention the fact that any acquaintance with a
human (especially oneself) quickly reveals flaws, such delusional
optimism about humanity is quite popular.

Where the genuine challenge lies is in working out exactly how the
current spiritual state of humanity fits in with the picture from
paleoanthropology. Evolution provides a number of impulses that can
easily lead to sin, though as a rule they can also be directed to good
ends (e.g., selfishness versus taking an appropriate interest in
taking care of oneself). Thus, in reality evolution provides more of
a problem for original perfection as in the popular misconcept of Adam
and Eve as idealized ultimate humans than for the much more important
and practical issue of original sin, the universality of our current
fallen state.

Within an evolutionary context, it is possible to envision Adam and
Eve as representatives of humanity, created by God by an evolutionary
process, placed into a physical garden and choosing selfishly, or to
take a somewhat more figurative approach. Some traditional ideas
about the transmission of original sin also may be affected. But the
basic point that humanity is fallen and can't get up remains.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Aug 24 15:24:51 2009

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