NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- A theistic evolutionist "simply cannot escape the fact that the necessary corollary to survival of the fittest is destruction of the weakest and therefore, he must view death as a primary creative force of God," a Southern Baptist professor writes in the latest exchange with The BioLogos Foundation.
|"Christians since the time of Darwin have recognized the incongruity of the biblical teaching on death and the positive role it plays in evolution." |
-- John Laing, Southwestern Seminary
"This, though, is contrary to the biblical view, which depicts death as an invader, disturber of peace, and a force of evil," John Laing, associate professor of systematic theology and philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on the topic of evolution and death.
Most Christians who accept evolution tend to avoid discussion of the role death plays in their creation model, preferring instead to cast evolution in positive terms, Laing said. Yet in evolutionary thought, death actually functions as a mechanism for life, playing a vital role in natural selection by rooting out weakness, he wrote Aug. 9 in a series at BioLogos.org titled "Southern Baptist Voices."
According to Scripture, Laing noted, death is most often associated with consequences for sinful activity or the judgment of God. Death is described in the Book of Romans as the wages of sin, a snare in the Psalms and a trouble in the Book of Job.
The negative view of death in the Bible also is evident in the cleanliness rituals required for ancient Israelites when they encountered a dead body, Laing wrote. "Death is unclean and an impediment to proper relationship with God," he added.
Rather than a means by which God creates, Laing said, death in the Bible is "antithetical to God's creative work as the Giver of Life." Death is the last enemy to be defeated, and death will not be a part of God's perfected Kingdom. The defeat of death in the resurrection of Christ "is a vindication of God's covenant promises" and is a central part of the Gospel, Laing wrote. Read More