Theology of Creation in the light of evolution: three scenarios
first option is as follows: God takes the dust of the ground, (general
providence) and supplements natural selection by bringing into being particular
probabilities in order to create human beings. This additional influence may be
detectable (i.e. it is a case of special providence). As we saw earlier,
Rolston describes this special divine action in terms of a temporal opening up
of possibilities. Haught, drawing from Whiteheads process philosophy,
considers it the effect of the divine lure. Note: this option is dependent
upon an unspecified account of special divine action.
At the mercy of evolution
second option proposes that God takes the dust of the ground, and allows
natural selection to run its course (general providence). There is no
providential involvement or intervention. This means God is at the mercy of the
significant contingency inherent in the process. Peacockes proposal could be
viewed this way.
Evolution as the outcome of contingent general providence
first two options mark out the two ends of a spectrum of possibilities. At the
centre of this spectrum is a third: Much as the existence of liquid water can
be said to be the contingent result of general providence, it is possible that
the requirements for life are sufficiently tied to the laws of nature that it
too can be considered the reasonable outcome of contingent general providence.
Such an account has no need of additional divine influence because the outcome
is sufficiently tightly constrained to achieve Gods purposes. If a divine
influence were present, it would be undetectable.
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