Science & Christian Spirituality: The Relationship Between Christian Spirituality and Biological Evolution
Many different aspects of science intersect with Christian spirituality. Some of these points of intersection are apparent in astronomy, cosmology, quantum physics, genetics, neuroscience, organic evolution, chemical evolution, technological advances, and environmental science. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between organic evolution and Christian spirituality. It is important to note that Christian spirituality has varying significance throughout Christendom. For the purpose of this paper, I will treat Christian spirituality as the study of the experience of Christian faith and discipleship. This definition will be helpful because it is specific enough to make direct correlations with how one can understand science from a Christian spiritual (faith) perspective.
Dembski’s Theodicy in Dialogue with Domning and Hellwig’s Original Selfishness: A Potentially Fruitful Approach to Understanding the Intersection of Evolution, Sin, Evil, and the Fall
In this article, I bring into dialogue two recent positions that take the problem of evolution, sin, evil, and the Fall seriously. The first is William A. Dembski’s theodicy as defended in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World, and the second is Daryl P. Domning and Monika Hellwig’s “Original selfishness” as argued in their work, Original Selfishness: Original Sin and Evil in the Light of Evolution. In each respective account, the authors explain how sin, evil, and the Fall correspond with respect to a scientific understanding of evolution. First, I will provide a synopsis of each position. Second, I will bring into dialogue the following fundamental points: creation and evolution, creation ex nihilo, biological evolution, monogenism versus polygenism, the problem of evil and original sin, moral evil and original sin, natural evil, interpreting Genesis 1-3 and related themes, beyond biblical literalism, a common desire for affirming a concrete historical past, the purpose of the doctrine of original sin, the retroactive effects of the Fall and a Kariological reading of Genesis 1-3.
The aim of this article is to take the Center for Inquiry’s (CFI), a highly influential organization in the west, mission statement to task with respect to their critique of supposed extraordinary claims through the application of Carl Sagan’s quote: ” extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Specifically those that are defensible through rational argumentation (God’s existence), i.e., in order to question whether or not they are actually promoting rigorous critical thought through the utilization of science and reason. A look will also be taken at whether they are actually fostering freedom of inquiry or if they are becoming masterful at insulating themselves from any criticisms against their own respective positions. This will be carried forth through the examination of the following: i) emotions and non-belief; ii) the epistemology of Carl Sagan’s quote; iii) philosophy, science, and the question of God; iv) the presumption of atheism and its relation to Sagan’s quote; v) proper basicality and Sagan’s quote; and vi) Jesus’ resurrection as a test case.
This paper explores the apologetic nature of Augustine’s Confessions. It first takes a brief look at Augustine’s intricate view of the relationship of faith and reason in order to provide a background to his employment of apologetic elements throughout the Confessions. Both positive and negative apologetic elements are examined throughout the paper. Some positive apologetic elements include Augustine’s presentation of the implied ontological argument, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the argument from the experience of beauty, and the demonstration of the coherence of the Christian conception of God (including his explorations with time and creation). His negative apologetic elements include dealing with detractors from the Christian faith such as the Manichees and their objections. Although studies in recent years have focused on the autobiographical and religious experiential dimensions of Confessions, this paper seeks to demonstrate that the apologetic dimension is also foundational to Augustine’s text. It is important to realize that the apologetic nature of Confessions does not detract from its other natures (autobiographical and religious-experiential), since objects, ideas, and persons can have more than one nature, as is true with Christ and a number line. It is my hope to revive a forgotten aspect of the Confessions that is quite pertinent to the Church today.
An Analysis of St. Anselm’s De Casu Diaboli in Light of the Evolution of Thought on the Conceptualization of Satan & Demons Throughout History
This paper will explore the evolution of the conceptions of Satan (the devil) and demons throughout the past 3,000 years in light of an in-depth study of St. Anselm of Canterbury’s medieval text, The Fall of Satan (De Casu Diaboli). Anselm’s brilliant work, De Casu Diaboli, has inspired much reflection into not just the nature of angels and demons but also into our own. It is worth noting that it is impossible to exhaustively cover a 3,000-year period on such a major topic, but a brief overview of the significant periods will be provided before focusing on De Casu Diaboli.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-depth analysis of the women in the book of Proverbs, with particular attention to the dynamics between Woman Wisdom and Woman Folly. The following themes will be explored concerning Woman Wisdom and Woman Folly: the variety of views on the origin of wisdom’s personification, Woman Wisdom as portrayed throughout wisdom literature outside of Proverbs, the “strange” woman and Woman Folly, the choice between Woman Wisdom and Woman Folly in Proverbs 9, a look at the good wife/woman of strength in Proverbs 30:10–31, some theological considerations, and finally some concluding remarks in an attempt to draw some threads between the multiplicity of subtopics concerning the women in Proverbs. It should be noted that although there will not be an in-depth examination of feminist interpretations, there will be mention of such methodologies throughout the paper. The bulk of this paper will focus on Proverbs 1–9 and 31:10–31.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Unrelenting Nemesis: Wolfgang Smith and His Trenchant Critique of Teilhard’s “Scientific Theology”
This critical review focuses on Smith’s recent revision of his 1988 book, Teilhard and the New Religion: A Thorough Analysis of the Teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Curiously, both the revised and original works have been largely ignored. Unfortunately, sometimes the best way to silence critics is to ignore them. This work will look into some of the primary concepts of Teilhard’s “scientific theology” and assess Smith’s evaluation, including evolution, the law of complexity and consciousness, the Creative Union, and the Omega Point.