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Series: “And God Saw That It Was Good”: Death and Pain in the Created Order (6 entries)

The tension generated by our understanding of God’s character, as revealed in the Bible, and by the reality of the natural world around us has been the focus of much debate within the Christian church since the first century. This series examines critically several of the proposed solutions to this problem, viewing them from the perspective of a geologist, paleontologist, and orthodox evangelical Christian.

 

Science and the Bible: Theistic Evolution, Part 3

As I stressed in my column about the YEC view, creationism is ultimately about theodicy—it’s not only about theodicy, to be sure, but the belief that animals must not have suffered and died before Adam and Eve committed the first sin is crucial to the “young” in Young Earth Creationism. To a significant degree, Theistic Evolution is also about theodicy.

 

Series: Southern Baptist Voices: Evolution and Death (4 entries)

This exchange brings together related essays on death in light of evolution and Scripture from Southern Baptist theologian Dr. John Laing. Laing argues that evolutionary theory requires death to play a central role in the creation of new life, but sees Scripture depicting death only "as an invader, disturber of peace, and a force of evil." A BioLogos response is given by Dr. Jeff Schloss.

 

Series: Asa Gray and Charles Darwin Discuss Evolution and Design (5 entries)

Many Christians believe that they face a painful choice-- either life was designed by God or it is an evolutionary product of natural selection. Charles Darwin himself believed in this dichotomy, and people ever since have felt the need to "choose sides". However, looking back at history, we find that one of Darwin's chief scientific colleagues, Asa Gray, did not share this perspective. In this three-part essay, part 1 charts the relationship of Asa Gray and Charles Darwin. Part 2 describes Darwin's struggle with the problem of natural evil and design in nature, and part 3 explores how Asa Gray was able to embrace evolution without rejecting the idea of design.

 

Series: He Who Has Ears (4 entries)

Scholar and musician Jeff Warren addresses the questions of how music is meaningful, and where that meaning resides, by looking at the popular ideas that musical meaning is entirely subjective to the listener and that the meaning of music can be universal. He also explores the recent trend of attempting to explain music via neuroscience. Finally, he looks into the reasons why music continues to play such a critical role in the worshiping life of the Church.

 

A Pastor's Perspective on Death and Evolution

If death did not exist before Adam and Eve, how could God have used evolution to create man? And what about predators and natural catastrophes such as the mass extinction of the dinosaurs?

 

Beware Evolutionary 'Just-so' Stories About Religious Belief

As an evolutionary biologist I am fascinated by the emergence of cognitive abilities that make us so distinctive from other living species. There are, however, risks in making up evolutionary "just-so" stories to explain the origins of complex human beliefs.

 

Philip Yancey on "What Good is God?"

In this video “Conversation,” Philip Yancey explains that on the way home from a trip to Mumbai, India, during which terrorists attacked the city, he began to form a list of the challenging situations he has experienced.

 

Series: How Could God Create Through Evolution? A Look at Theodicy (4 entries)

This series, written by Bethany Sollereder, seeks to address this question: “How could God create through a process that involves so much pain and death?” She first presents the two drastically opposite worldviews held by theologians and scientists. She also reflects theologically on how a world created through evolutionary means can be good, and concludes with some thoughts concerning the Fall, physical decay and spiritual death.

 

Death's Resurrection

Death has occurred since the first breath of biological life (and some would say since the first “breath” of cosmological life), long before Adam inhaled. Ironically, therefore, death must be a part of God’s good creation. Moreover, human death due to sin must be something different than the physical death we all die.

 

Word Games

"Why would the omnipotent Creator of the universe use such a wasteful (and cruel) process of survival of the fittest to bring about the higher forms of life? This view of 'theistic evolution' goes against God's very nature -- and logic itself."

 

Interview with Ronald Osborn

We must press beyond the various creation narratives in the Hebrew Bible, including the final chapters of Job, to the picture of God revealed in the New Testament—the Creator who does not rationally explain away the scandal of suffering but who instead enters into it.

 

Not All Doctrines Are Equal—Configuring Adam and Eve

Sometimes, out of fear or some sense of being required to defend our position, Church leaders and teachers have hastily set up a boundary marker around some doctrinal theory which they have confused as a core doctrinal issue.

 

Why the Church Needs Multiple Theories of Original Sin

“It’s tempting to think that the church needs to decide quickly which of these [original sin] scenarios is right, and which ones must be wrong. I believe the church is better served by taking its time, holding several different scenarios in tension for a while as we think through the implications of each.”

 

God's Extravagant Love in Creation

Critics of Christianity look to evolution to show how the emergence of human life on earth demanded enormous ruin and ravage, billions of years of apparent waste and futility, species extermination and organism road kill. Not only was the massive dying off rampant, it’s mandatory too.

 

Belief in God in an Age of Science: John Polkinghorne, Part Three

The gift of Love must be the gift of freedom, the gift of a degree of letting-be, and this can be expected to be true of all creatures to the extent that is appropriate to their proper character. It is in the nature of dense snow fields that they will sometimes slip with the destructive force of an avalanche. It is the nature of lions that they will seek their prey. It is the nature of cells that they will mutate, sometimes producing new forms of life, sometimes grievous disabilities, sometimes cancers.

 

Series: Excerpts from "Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design" (7 entries)

These excerpts from Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, written by BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma and her husband Loren Haarsma, offer a sampling of the book's many topics, from exploring our disagreements and agreements on origins as Christians to explaining scientific processes to looking at how we read Genesis.

 

Southern Baptist Series: Evolution and the Problem of Evil

Were one to propose creation by means of theistic evolution, some of the presuppositions for these responses to the problem of evil no longer function. Therefore, advocating some form of theistic evolution poses problems for standard explanations of the problem of evil.

 

The Questions Update: Did death occur before the Fall?

Today’s post features a preview of the updated Question, "Did death occur before the Fall?", revised by Senior Web Consultant and Writer Deborah Haarsma. This question provides an overview of the issue and points readers to more resources within and beyond the BioLogos website.

 

The Creation of Beauty

Physical death is a necessary and, perhaps, disconcerting element of the evolutionary process for many Christians. It is difficult to imagine a perfect and loving God designing such a universe where forces such as natural death and entropy operate.

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