Re: [asa] red in tooth and claw

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Sat Nov 28 2009 - 22:33:52 EST

Glen Miller, at the Christian Think Tank, has a BRILLIANT series on predation in nature which is really a "must read" in my opinion.

The main page for the series is here;

Which has the sub-links to the most comprehensive treatment of suffering in nature I have ever come across.

It is beyond superlatives and puts the "nature red in tooth and claw" idea well and truly in perspective.


> What if nature isn't actually as brutal as we take it to be? And really,
> of all the religions that could or should cringe because of any
> 'brutality' we project upon nature - and a lot of it is projection -
> doesn't it seem odd for Christians to do it? The religion with the
> incarnate God who was betrayed, tormented, and executed? Isn't ours the
> one religion, regardless of particular sect, which makes it abundantly
> clear that one should not judge a reality by its incomplete history?
> The one lesson I take from Christ's death and resurrection is that it's
> a drastic mistake to regard torment and death as the final lesson in
> history, whether it be human history or the greater, natural history.
> And the idea that Hitler's eugenics was in any way a correct reflection
> of evolution as we know it - particularly given what we've learned since
> then - seems dramatically naive.
> Count me in the apparent minority of Christians who don't think the
> habits of the natural world pose a problem for our theology, and in fact
> bolsters it. The problem isn't the facts on the ground, but the perspective.
> On Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM, David Clounch <
> <>> wrote:
> >Sculptured indeed! Well-stated, Bernie. You are exactly right that
> this is something for Christians to struggle with, and I wish I had
> a complete answer.
> People say Christianity is brutal and bloody. And God is a mean
> inhumane jerk for acts like slaying an entire enemy army in one night.
> Well, why then do they think evolution is kinder and gentler? The
> bloodiness and brutality of Christianity is a matchstick in a
> firestorm compared to the competition in biology.
> What about te ideal of the lion laying down with the lamb? What if
> nature is brutal because it is corrupted by the rebellious? And God
> would have it be different?
> On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 7:49 PM, Merv Bitikofer <
> <>> wrote:
> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> However, and I had glimpses of this as a Christian even, I
> think the ‘red in tooth and claw’ is a tremendous
> acknowledgement of how evolution works. The ruthlessness of
> nature, even Hitler eugenic-style thinking, is how evolution
> created the wonderful life forms that we witness today.
> Nature/evolution isn’t just ‘red in tooth and claw’ as some
> unfortunate thing, but it is the way life is SCULPTURED.
> Life is SCULPTED by evolution by “tooth and claw.”
> I’m not saying Hitler and eugenics are right. I’m saying
> that the ruthless nature of evolution being ‘red in tooth
> and claw’ is a major component for getting life as beautiful
> as we know it today.
> For example, why are so few creatures born blind? Because
> they quickly get eaten, with not much chance of their genes
> being passed on. Same thing with many other defects.
> …Bernie
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Sculptured indeed! Well-stated, Bernie. You are exactly right
> that this is something for Christians to struggle with, and I
> wish I had a complete answer. But I do have part of an answer
> that is of course, unavailable to you at the moment. And that
> involves God's use of suffering to craft us. Christians have
> long lived with the paradox of accepting suffering, yet while
> praying to be delivered from it. None of us wants it, by
> definition, and yet we realize (usually only in retrospect) that
> we were made stronger for having gone through it. This is only
> the human element and makes no pretension of addressing all of
> nature. But if I was to begin to craft an answer, I would start
> with the incarnate Christ entering into humanity, indeed, into
> nature. George Murphy's book "Cosmos in the Light of the Cross"
> is helpful in this regard.
> By the way, you seem to want to remain morally above things like
> eugenics or the whole "tooth & claw" scenario. If these things
> are but the brutal tools that sculpted beauty (according to
> you), then why do you find them so objectionable? On what basis
> do you object? You'll note that I object to them too even while
> I acknowledge their existence. Christ calls me to live above any
> such natural law and to reject "survival of the fittest" as a
> means of living with my neighbor. But you have rejected Christ,
> and that basis is not available to you (unless you want to
> engage in the irrational practice of cherry picking things you
> like about Christ's teachings while yet thinking Him and his
> disciples as deluded fools or power-hungry frauds.) Since you no
> longer have the Christian basis available and yet regard
> Evolutionary wisdom as a kind of guiding light, on what rational
> basis do you wish to continue objecting to nature's enlightened
> evolutionary teeth & claws whether they come in the form of
> eugenics or otherwise? Do you not quite trust the capable hands
> of evolution to do what needs to be done?
> --Merv
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Received on Sat Nov 28 22:34:11 2009

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