Evolution can be a threatening concept even to the non-fundamentalist, principally as a matter of ontology. It is our very being that is at stake, not just how we interpret the scriptures. The world seen through the lens of Genesis, whether literally interpreted or no, places special emphasis on mankind. Part of creation, we are yet specially designated by God, to bear the burden of moral/ethical choices, to be caretakers of the rest of the earth, and to commune with our Creator. Darwinism, as it is often perceived, challenges that sense of being. The individual seems less significant than the species, and the species of mankind has reached existence and dominance not through divine designation but through evolutionary struggle. Where is our connection to God in such an origin? How far removed is God from our daily existence? Does this make us less 'special' as individuals? Do we matter only as a species?
I wonder if Darwin's concept of 'nature at war' does not perfectly describe 'fallen creation'. Thedifference, I think, is that from a strictly evolutionary standpoint, this chaos and brutality is how the world is supposed to be, the only way the world could ever be, whereas from a Judeo-Christian perspective, God in his goodness and his power is able to use even the chaos of a fallen world to bring forth life--but God himself is not chaotic or brutal. That's one way of seeing it in J-C tradition; I realise there are probably many others.
I was struck by two notions in the program about Darwin: one was Bacon's instructions to study both the Word of God and the works of God, and that the latter should inform the former; the other was the biographer's observation that Darwin didn't so much lower the species of mankind as elevate the rest of the natural world. They're both ideas to ponder and reflect on. Thanks, SOF, for the food for thought.
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