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Creator God, Evolving World

by Cynthia Crysdale and Neil Ormerod

Publication Year: 2013

Cynthia Crysdale and Neil Ormerod here present a robust theology of God in light of supposed tensions between Christian belief and evolutionary science. A truly intelligent and accessible defense of the compatibility of classical theism with the evolutionary worldview, this volume is an important and provocative contribution to the debate. Creator God, Evolving World clarifies a number of confused assumptions in an effort to redeem chance as an intelligible force interacting with stable patterns in nature.

By clarifying terms often used imprecisely in both scientific and theological discourse, the authors make the case that the role of chance in evolution neither mitigates God's radical otherness from creation nor challenges the efficacy of God's providence in the world. Finally, this view of God and the evolving world yields implications for our understanding of human action. Moral agency, even God's work of redemption, unfolds according to an ethic of risk rather than by the quick fix of determinative control.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-9

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-15

I don’t remember when exactly I met Neil Ormerod. It must have been at one of many conferences on theology or Lonergan or both. What I remember is that I quickly pegged him as someone I needed to talk with as much as possible. Once we began corresponding with each other I took every possible opportunity to pick his brain on whatever I was trying to figure out when I happened to encounter...

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Chapter 1

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pp. 1-18

A Family Circus cartoon shows a young girl, Dolly, asking her father, “If we send astronauts to Mars, do they hafta drive past Heaven?” While this may strike us as funny, it illustrates the double world in which many of us live. Few educated adults would ask such a seemingly simplistic question. Yet many people live in a bifurcated world in which they have accepted the results of science and presume...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 19-40

As a member of the Tennessee Trail Association, I (Cynthia) join a number of avid hikers once a month for a stroll around “The Domain” of the University of the South: thirteen thousand acres on top of the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Tennessee. On one particularly spectacular winter day, I struck up a conversation with...

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Chapter 3

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pp. 41-56

At a family gathering recently, I (Cynthia) encountered a long-lost cousin who admitted, with a certain chagrin, that she attended a parish church that recently had cut its ties with the Anglican Communion over theological differences. Given the controversy over sexual orientation abreast in the global church, I assumed that the issues were of a moral nature. Instead, she simply quoted the antagonists...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 57-82

We began chapter 2 with a story about a learned gentleman who believed that the mountains and forests “could not all be an accident.” He assumed a contradiction between a world in which chance is operative and a world in which there is design and purpose. We subsequently clarified that chance and necessity, random events and ordered laws, do not cancel one another out. In fact, the world...

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Chapter 5

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pp. 83-102

Robin Ryan, in the introduction to his book on God and suffering, recounts the story of a couple he calls Mary and John.1 Mary told him how, six months previously, John had been in a severe car accident. Driving in the dark on a wet and winding road, John had encountered a car coming at him at a high speed. The head-on collision left the other driver injured, though he did survive. John’s car was completely...

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Chapter 6

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pp. 103-124

NOVA is an American television show on matters scientific. In 2009 it produced a three-part series entitled “Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors,” which traces human lineage through its many and varied species over millions of years. One exciting moment stands out: Meave and Richard Leakey, in 1984, uncovering an almost complete skeleton of a young boy who died...

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Conclusion

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pp. 125-130

Throughout this work we have argued that the classical account of God as transcendent—for example, eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient—is not only compatible with an evolving world order and the findings of modern cosmology, but in fact presents a more coherent response to the challenges modern science poses than alternative accounts that seek to make God subject to change. There remains...

Notes

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pp. 131-148

Bibliography

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pp. 149-154

Index

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pp. 155-168

Back Cover

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p. 186-186


E-ISBN-13: 9781451426434
E-ISBN-10: 1451426437
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698775
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698770

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2013