Monday, February 11, 2008

Thank God for Evolution, Part 4

I am halfway through Michael Dowd's Thank God for Evolution! The expected parting between his view and Christianity has begun. Dowd preserves the core language of Christianity, including salvation. He says, though, that for the doctrine of salvation to make sense, "our theology of salvation must be freed from otherworldly and unnatural interpretations." Dowd contends that "we" and "people today" just can't believe in an otherworldly God -- though, in fact, that is exactly what most people do believe.

Dowd's reinterpretation of Christian salvation means having "Christ-like evolutionary integrity." I read this as mostly the traditional liberal Christian strategy of re-interpreting "faith in Christ" as "being a good guy like Jesus." I think C.S. Lewis answered this in Mere Christianity, when he pointed out that Jesus definitely believed God was otherworldly, and that he himself was (and is) the son of God in an otherworldly way. Either Jesus is God, or he is a mad-man.

One thing that is new in Dowd's language: believing that Christ really died, was resurrected, and ascended -- that is, believing what the Bible says -- is "unnatural." And I am not sure what evolutionary integrity is.


virginia said...

As a liberal Christian, I think it is possible to accept the Biblical account of Creation as a metaphorical narrative and see God's hand in the truly amazing process of evolution. A few degrees warmer or cooler, a few cells that split in different directions, a percentage less of one kind of gas and a percentage more of another and this would be a completely different world.

The scientific understanding of evolution does not make it less of miracle.

Gruntled said...

The Creation is not the hard part. I agree with you entirely there. The hard part for Dowd's kind of liberal Christianity is explaining Christ.

Anonymous said...

I think virgin birth/asexual reproduction to be harder point to explain via natural laws of liberal christianity than a ressurection...although a physical ascension into the sky is one to ponder on.