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How Has Life and Its Diversity Been Produced?

English > Fields of Research > Epistemology

P. Rüst (1992), Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 44/2, 80-94; http://www.aneste.ch/files/HowHasLife.pdf
Original web publication of the American Scientific Affiliation: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1992/PSCF6-92Rust.html
Neither of the two download texts gives the author's e-mail address, which is: paraske@aneste.ch

An extended German version of this paper, updated in the main points: P. Rüst (2001),
"Die Entstehung des Lebens und seiner Vielfalt - naturwissenschaftliche und theologische Aspekte", MS 18 S.

Abstract:

With complementarity, a fully harmonic interpretation of Bible and nature is, in principle, possible. Both atheistic evolutionism and young-earth antievolutionism are unrealistic. Macroevolution is still fully speculative: evolutionary mechanisms are inadequate, evolutionary evidences ambiguous. There are fundamental limits to empirical investigation in the transastronomical size of the combinatorial space of genomes and in the contingency of elementary events. But biblical evidence allows for evolution. The all-embracing providential activity of the Creator and the personal dignity of the human creature are tentatively presented as theological arguments in favor of evolution as God's method of creation.

Canary Islands (off western Africa), Spain: Garajonay summit (1487 m, highest elevation of the island of La Gomera), kittens begging for some morsels of the hikers' picnic.

2001 Update:

- In the meantime (since the late eighties), the scientific evidence for a common descent of all multicellular organisms has become overwhelming, mainly due to DNA sequence work. On the other hand, conclusive biblical evidence against evolution as God's method of creation is still completely lacking. The 2001 paper therefore has some modified emphases:

- Macroevolution is now qualified as designating the origin of fundamentally novel functions, evolutionary mechanisms are specified as those known up to now, and evidences would only be conclusive as "proofs" of evolution under atheistic presuppositions. God's all-embracing and continual providential activity and the personal dignity of the human creature are now definitely proposed as theological arguments in favor of evolution as God's method of creation.

- The Bible insists that God is the primary agent behind all natural and historical events, his creatures being allowed some liberty commensurate with their faculties, autonomy and responsibility he has given them. Kittens are predators having correspondingly sharp teeth and a passion for hunting. Every cat lover bemoans his darling's habit of bringing home some cute little mouse, only to play with it and torture it.

- Did God originally create lions to eat grass? A present-day lion is certainly unable to survive as a vegetarian. Did lions - as young earth creationists want us to believe - become predators after Adam's fall only? What tremendous biological transformation God would have performed on them within the shortest time! Biological evolution as proposed by science is harmless against this. Mountains of miracles are wantonly postulated by young earth creationists - without a shred of evidence from the Bible, their prooftexts being, in the big context, hopelessly ambiguous indicators for their interpretations.

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Last updated Okt 17 2011 | paraske@aneste.ch

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