About the Science and the Theology of Evolution course
The Theological Challenges of Evolution: The difficulty of design and the problem of animal suffering.
This lecture will look at two of the major difficulties that evolution raises for theological interpretations of creation: design’s seeming absence and the abundance of animals suffering and death before the Fall.
In the first part of the lecture, we will look at William Paley’s Natural Theology and how he epitomised the English design argument. In short: creatures are the way they are, because they were designed by God. This also provided a convenient explanation for the suffering of animals, as nothing ever suffered unnecessarily or outside the realm of providence.
With the advent of Darwin’s theory, both design and comprehensible suffering were replaced with ‘the war of nature’ which haphazardly created the orders of nature. We will look at the theological approaches theologians have used to meet these challenges.
About the tutor
Bethany Sollereder is a Lecturer in Science and Religion at the University of Edinburgh. She specialises in theology concerning evolution and the problem of suffering. She is currently working on the theological aspects of climate change. She is the author of God, Evolution, and Animal Suffering: Theodicy without a Fall and Why is there Suffering? Pick your own theological expedition.
Bethany has a PhD in Theology from the University of Exeter and an MCS in interdisciplinary studies from Regent College, Vancouver.
This course is part of the Science for Seminaries programme to enhance teaching on ethics by exploring the interface of science and theology.
The Sarum College Science and Faith Lecture Series is funded by a grant to promote science-engaged theology from the ‘Science for Seminaries’ programme run by research project Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS).
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