Author(s): James K.A. Smith William T. Cavanaugh Michael Gulker
This project gathers a multidisciplinary team of leading scholars to pursue communal, research on evolution, the Fall, and original sin, asking a pressing question: If humanity emerged from non-human primates—as genetic, biological, and archaeological evidence seems to suggest—then what are the implications for Christian theology’s traditional account of origins, including both the origin of humanityand the origin of sin?The integrity of the church’s witness requires that we constructively address thisdifficult question. We believe that cultivating an orthodox theological imagination can enable us to engage these tensions without giving up on confessional orthodoxy. So our methodology is as central to our project as the topic. Following the suggestion of Mark Noll in Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, we embrace the church’s ancient wisdom in the Council of Chalcedon as a model and template for how to faithfully grapple with contemporary challenges.We also believe the resources for such theological imagination are carried in the liturgical heritage of the church—in the worship practices and spiritual disciplines that enact the biblical story in ways that seep into our imagination, helping us see creativeways forward through this challenge. Research will be shared in a culminating conference and resulting scholarly book. In addition, leveraging our relationship with The Colossian Forum, the fruit of our research will also be “translated” and distributed for pastors, Christian educators and students throughforums, web publishing, and curricula.