30 September 2011


"I conclude that Christian theology in conversation with Darwinism has to part company with the notion of a perfectly good initial creation that was corrupted by some mysterious process.  It has to accept the profound ambiguity of that creation—as "very good" in the words of Genesis 1:31 but also "groaning in labor pains" in the words of Rom. 8:22.  It does well to abandon the perfect impassibility of God so beloved of classical tradition, in favor of a God who grieves and laments with suffering creatures, very possibly in the very same process in which God takes joy from the flourishing of other creatures.  And it should also abandon the conviction—also strong in the tradition—that animals, having no souls, know no redemption, in favor of a view of a heaven rich in creaturely diversity.  In accepting the way in which Darwinian thought forces Christians to re-read some of their most foundational texts, I end with the radical suggestion that re-reading a key biblical text might invite us to recognize a calling to be part of the eschatological healing of creation, and hence to seek to subvert the process of biological extinction, up to now one of the key mechanisms of evolutionary change."

— Christopher Southgate, "Rereading Genesis, John, and Job: A Christian Response to Darwinism" in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, June 2011.