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Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Creation, Evolution and Meaning. Description This book presents the case for belief in both creation and evolution at the same time as rejecting creationism. Issues of meaning supply the context of inquiry; the book defends the meaningfulness of language about God, and also relates belief in both creation and evolution to the meaning of life. Meaning, it claims, can be found in consciously adopting the role of stewards of the planetary biosphere, and thus of the fruits of creation.
Distinctive features include a sustained case for a realist understanding of language about God; a contemporary defence of some of the arguments for belief in God and in creation; a sifting of different versions of Darwinism and their implications for religious belief; a Darwinian account of the relation of predation and other apparent evils to creation; a new presentation of the argument from the world's value to the purposiveness of evolution; and discussions of whether or not meaning itself evolves, and of religious and secular bases for belief in stewardship.
Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Other books in this series. Resurrection and Moral Imagination Sarah Bachelard. Add to basket. On Paul Ricoeur Richard Kearney. Talking about God Roger M. Beyond Fideism Olli-Pekka Vainio. Creation, Evolution and Meaning Robin Attfield. Divine Agency and the Autonomy of Nature For some in the Middle Ages any appeal to the autonomy of nature, that is, any appeal to the discovery of real causes in the natural order, seemed to challenge divine omnipotence. Creation and Evolution in the Contemporary World If we look at the way in which the relationship between creation and evolution is presented today we often see creation identified with the view that the great diversity of living things is the result of specific divine interventions; that God, for example, produced in a direct way, without intermediaries, the different kinds of minerals, plants, and animals that exist.
We can see some of these misunderstandings in the following quotation from the Harvard geneticist, Richard Lewontin: When science speaks to members of the general public the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social intellectual apparatus, Science , as the only begetter of truth.
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.
Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. Even Francisco Ayala, a distinguished biologist familiar with theological arguments, writes the following: [I]t was Darwin's greatest achievement to show that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a creator or other external agent. Darwin's theory encountered opposition in religious circles, not so much because he proposed the evolutionary origin of living things which had been proposed many times before, even by Christian theologians , but because his mechanism, natural selection, excluded God as accounting for the obvious design of organisms.
This is the conceptual revolution that Darwin completed — that everything in nature, including the origin of living organisms, can be explained by material processes governed by natural laws. This is nothing if not a fundamental vision that has forever changed how mankind perceives itself and its place in the universe.
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Human Nature and the Creation of the Soul: A Preliminary Approach Can "everything in nature," as Ayala says, "be explained in terms of material processes? Conclusion We should remember, however, that evolutionary biology's commitment to common descent by natural selection is essentially an explanation of origin and development; it is a historical account. Baltimore thinks that the discoveries of the human genome project "should be, but won't be, the end of creationism.
These similarities are just the kind that one would expect from the hypothesis of common ancestry. Without common descent, this intricate network of resemblances would make no sense. Jon Seger, an evolutionary biologist and geneticist, observed that the human genome project is "evolution laid out for all to see. There's nothing peculiar or distinctive about us.
For a good recent book on the challenges of evolutionary biology to traditional theology, see John F. Another good source on this subject is: Mariano Artigas, Las fronteras del evolucionismo Madrid: Ediciones Palabra, Norton, , p. A distinguished evolutionary biologist, Ernst Mayr, in summarizing recently the importance of Darwin's influence on modern thought, sees a fundamental incompatibility between Darwinian biology and traditional theology and philosophy: "Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causation.
The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically. Darwinism refutes typology [essentialism].
Darwin's theory of natural selection made any invocation of teleology unnecessary. Of all of Darwin's proposals, the one his contemporaries found most difficult to accept was the theory of common descent applied to Man.
For theologians and philosophers alike, Man was a creature above and apart from other living beings. Baldner and William E. An account of Aquinas' first magisterial discussion of creation can be found in Baldner and Carroll, Aquinas on Creation.
The complete dependence of the creature on the Creator means that there is a kind of priority of non-being to being in any creature, but this priority is not fundamentally temporal. It is, as Aquinas said, a priority according to nature, not according to time. Both Albert the Great and Bonaventure argued, contrary to the view of Aquinas, that to be created necessarily means to have being after non-being.
Thus, unlike Aquinas, they inextricably linked creation with temporal origination. See Baldner and Carroll, Aquinas on Creation. The best known representative of this position in Islam was al-Ghazali ; see The Incoherence of the Philosophers , trans. Maimonides , an ardent critique, describes the position of the kalam theologians in this way: "They [the theologians] assert that when a man moves a pen, it is not the man who moves it; for the motion occurring in the pen is an accident created by God in the pen.
Creation, Evolution, and Thomas Aquinas
Similarly the motion of the hand, which we think of as moving the pen, is an accident created by God in the moving hand. Only God has instituted the habit that the motion of the hand is concomitant with the motion of the pen, without the hand exercising in any respect an influence on, or being causative in regard to, the motion of the pen. Pines Chicago: University of Chicago Press, , p.
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Averroes thought that if one were to maintain that what exists could come from what does not exist i. Simon Van den Bergh Cambridge: E. Gibb Memorial Trust, , Aquinas' view of divine causality raises the specter of the so-called "problem of evil. Aquinas' understanding of divine action and its relation to biological change would allow us to avoid various attempts to accommodate the contingency affirmed in some evolutionary theories by re-thinking divine omnipotence, omniscience, and God's a-temporality.
Ward thinks that the traditional attempt to make God the "efficient cause of all things, without compromising the simplicity and unchangeability which are characteristics of the Aristotelian picture of God" was "an heroic failure," since it "could not account for the contingency of the universe. A contingent universe can only be accounted for if one makes free creativity a characteristic of the First Mover, which entails placing change and contingency within the First Mover itself.
According to Ward, God's omniscience "is the capacity to know everything that becomes actual, whenever it does so.
Creation, Evolution And Meaning (Transcending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology)
The classical hypothesis [of a God who does not change] does not. Ward's arguments are far more sophisticated than can be adequately set forth in a footnote, but for the claim that the Thomistic view of divine agency and the world of change is a great success, rather than "an heroic failure," see William E.
There is a temptation in some circles to examine genetic mutations in the light of the insights of quantum mechanics and to discuss divine action in the context of the ontological indeterminism associated with the quantum world. It was William Pollard, who in , wrote: "The phenomenon of gene mutation is the only one so far known in these sciences which produces gross macroscopic effects but seems to depend directly on changes in individual molecules which are in turn governed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Recent reflections on genetic mutation and divine action are part of the wider notion that quantum mechanics shows us that there is a kind of metaphysical space which allows for divine action which does not "interfere" with nature.
Thus special divine action can be seen as the "providential determination of otherwise undetermined events. God's action will take the form of realizing one of several potentials in the quantum system, not of manipulating sub-atomic particles as a quasi-physical force. Russell adopts "the theological view that God's special action can be considered as objective and non-interventionist if the quantum events underlying genetic mutations are given an indeterminist interpretation philosophically.