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Evolution and Theology

These sections deal with the enormous impact Darwinian schemes have had both on scientific understanding and on theology. Charles Darwin (1809-82) was not however the first naturalist to think that organic evolution might have occurred (see important evolutionists before Darwin and influences on Darwin). 

Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. The importance of the Origin is that Darwin a) presented a vast amount of evidence for evolution and b) proposed a mechanism by which it could give rise, given time, to the vast variety of life-forms he had observed. See Darwin’s evolutionary scheme, and the rhetoric of Darwinism

Darwin's challenge to theological positions was a profound one, more subtle than is implied in the caricature - Darwin v. Christianity. We explore the way the scheme has developed in from Darwinism to neo-Darwinism, self-organisation and the development of complexity, and some recent debates about evolution.

In these pages we also address the scientific question: how are humans thought to have evolved (the evolution of hominids). We note the very similar but different evolutionary career of the Neanderthals, and the paradox of the development of modern humans.

Scientific descriptions of humans as evolved beings call forth religious responses to the science of human evolution. These particularly relate to humans as made in the image of God and the doctrine of the Fall.

These religious responses have to be seen in the context of some scientists’ rejection of the possibility of religious truth. See the science of sociobiology critiques the truth-claims of religion.

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate and Dr. Michael Robert Negus
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos  (T&T Clark, 1999)

Evolutionary Biology and Theology

Index - God, Humanity and the Cosmos, 1999 T&T Clark

Evolution and Theology

Related Book Topics:

Important Evolutionists Before Darwin
Influences on Darwin
Darwin’s Evolutionary Scheme
Darwin and the Term ‘Evolution’
Darwin’s Challenge to Theological Positions
Some Recent Debates About Evolution
From Darwinism to Neo-Darwinism
Punctuated Equilibrium and Radical Contingency
Self-Organisation and the Development of Complexity
The Rhetoric of Darwinism
Evolution as a Science of the Unrepeatable Past
The Evolution of Hominids
The Neanderthals
The Paradox of the Development of Modern Humans
Religious Responses to the Science of Human Evolution
Humans as Made in the Image of God
The Doctrine of the Fall
The Science of Sociobiology Critiques the Truth-Claims of Religion


Dr. Michael Robert Negus and Dr. Christopher Southgate in God, Humanity and the Cosmos. Published by T&T Clark.

See also:

Charles Darwin
DNA Double-Helix
Purpose and Design
Does God Act?
Where did we Come From?
Books on Biology, Genetics and Theology