God After Darwin

Modern biology has revealed that life arose and evolved through billions of years of struggle in which a remorseless and impersonal force of “natural selection” chose a few survivors and discarded the rest as unfit. It is a story marked by colossal waste and suffering, and seems to fly in the face of any concept of a loving and providential creator. The American philosopher and atheist Daniel Dennett has written that the message of Darwin's "dangerous idea" is that there is no divine influence in nature, that the universe "just is," without message or purpose.

People of faith have often responded to such assertions by denying evolution altogether, or by simply insisting that the complex molecular machinery of life is scientific proof of God's direct intervention ("intelligent design").

A third approach to the questions posed by evolution is to accept the science of what biologists tell us, and use it as fertile ground for mature reflections on the nature of the universe and God.

In this series from July 23, 2006 to September 3, 2006, we explored this third approach, using John Haught's books God after Darwin and Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution. Dr. Haught argues that evolution is a "gift to theology," forcing us to deepen our view of God and creation. Evolution encourages us to see the universe as a still unfinished creation, and our Creator as the cosmic source of possibility, value, novelty, information and beauty. Dr. Haught is the Landegger Distinguished Professor of Theology at Georgetown University and Director of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Science and Religion.

Presentations were by David Monyak.

Downloads: Presentations

1. Evolution's Challenge to Faith

2. Evolution and God's Self-Emptying, Suffering Love

3. Evolution and the Great Hierarchy of Being

4. Evolution and a Metaphysics of the Future

5. Evolution, Ecology, and the Promise of Nature

6. Evolution and Divine Action

References

 

Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution. John F. Haught, Paulist Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8091-3989-8

Deeper Than Darwin. The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution, John F. Haught, Westview Press, 2003, ISBN 0-8133-4199-X

God After Darwin. A Theology of Evolution, John F. Haught, Westview Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8133-3878-6