Evolution, Evil, and the Theology of the Cross

  • Ted Peters


The theodicy question within the dialogue between the Darwinian model of evolution and Christian theology is the focus of this essay: where do we find divine action in an evolutionary world? The central principle of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology — the selfish gene drives evolution through DNA replication — challenges theistic evolutionists: did God create the selfish gene? Is God responsible for the struggle in the animal world that leads to evil in the human world: violence, war, and genocide? Three alternative answers to the question of evolving evil are examined: (1) atheism and altruism; (2) the free will defense of God combined with divine kenosis; and (3) the Theology of the Cross combined with the promise of eschatological new creation. Rather than blessing the victors in the survival of the fittest, a Theology of the Cross places God present to the suffering of the unfit, the victims of predation and of species having gone extinct. Rather than bless nature blood «red in tooth and claw» (Tennyson), a theology of new creation hopes for a divine transformation of not only the human reality but of nature as well.