God, Evolution and the Problem of Evil:Towards a Solution
White, Derek John
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Abstract The purpose of this thesis is to offer a defence for the goodness of the God of the Judeo/Christian Scriptures—in the light of [the Triune] God’s use of an evolutionary process; a process that has predation, pain and death as an essential core of its potential, id est, to give rise to the ‘end purposes (telɒs) of God’. The methodological approach taken in this thesis is one in which the shape of the account is determined by Christian doctrine—the scientific contribution being critically appropriated to that doctrinally shaped account. Under the heading of ‘Changes to the traditional/Biblical view of the attributes of God’ we consider the implications/alternatives espoused by some philosophical theologians. This section of the thesis explores the alternative views of the ‘nature’ and ‘attributes’ of God, id est, the transposition of the God of Scripture with another in the light of the problem of natural evil—that of a creative ‘ground of being’ that is deemed more acceptable to both science and modern philosophical theology. Further to its research objectives the thesis investigates recent evolutionary defences/theodicies offered by several proponents of both scientific enquiry and theological research and reflection. The final part of the thesis offers an eight-step argument for the goodness and justice of God in the light of evolution—an argument that has developed out of the author’s work regarding God, evolution and the [evidential] problem of evil. A major part of the argument centres on the pre-cosmological existence of angels and the rebellion of those considered ‘fallen’. The argument offered in this thesis is that such creatures have been at the root of the universal problem of evil (natural and supernatural) since before the ‘birthing’ of the universe and that the problem of evil was dealt a fatal blow through the incarnational work of Christ. A crucial part of the argument in this thesis is the significance of the evolutionary process—as being the only possible means for the development of biological life-forms—a pathway for the incarnation and a means by which God, in Christ, would bring about redemption for the creation and ransom for mankind.
MbyRes in Theology