April 2017
volume 29 (1)

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Objecting to theodicy and the legitimacy of protesting against evil

Tim Middleton
Pages: 3-19


The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and the concomitant debates among eighteenth-century intellectuals set the stage for the modern project of theodicy – the task of reconciling the existence and goodness of God with the reality of evil. Yet the validity of the enterprise was questioned by writers such as Voltaire and Kant right from the beginning. With this in mind, this article seeks to explore four interlinked concerns of the anti-theodicist. Firstly, why do people write theodicies at all? Some are crafting works of Christian apologetics; others have a deep-rooted desire for understanding; but why do we assume that evil must be intelligible in the first place. Secondly, many theodicists defend their writing by inserting the caveat that they do not intend to offer a pastoral response. However, there are good reasons to think that this distinction between intellectual and pastoral questions is a false one. Thirdly, many grand, cosmic, theodical schemes marginalise the plight of the victims. Evil must be engaged with from a first person, not a third person, perspective. Lastly, many Christian theologians neglect the incarnation and crucifixion in their theodicies. Yet it is the narrative of Christ’s life that should form the basis of a Christian outlook. Instead of theodicy, it is argued, a better response to evil is to follow the path of moral outrage. Crucially, though, this need not lead to protest atheism – indeed jettisoning God might even undermine the grounds for protest. A combination of silence and lament, shared by Christ on the cross, is a viable and properly Christian reply.


Models of the Fall Including a Historical Adam as Ancestor of All Humans: Scientific and Theological Constraints

Lydia Jaeger
Pages: 20-36


Original sin introduces a distinctive feature of humanity. Only humans, yet all humans, are sinners, thus implying a clear animal-human difference. This traditional doctrine has increasingly been considered incompatible with scientific knowledge. This article examines the extent to which it is possible to maintain a strong notion of original sin, while accepting the genetic and palaeontological data. The strong notion considered here includes a historical Adam as ancestor of all humans and human corruption and death as consequences of original sin. Particular attention will be paid to the understanding of original sin as the loss of original righteousness. Drawing on both the Thomist and the Reformed traditions, the version of original sin explored here combines three key themes in order to account for what happened subsequent to the fall: loss of original righteousness, total corruption of human nature and loss of communion with God. As humans are created in God’s image, communion with God is essential for human nature, and the loss of this communion implies malfunction and corruption of the nature. It is argued that this view can be held without any contradiction of known scientific data. Major authors whose work on this subject is considered include Aquinas, Calvin, Turretin and Henri Blocher.


God, Nature and the Origins of Life

William E. Carroll Rafael Vicuña
Pages: 37-41


When faith and science meet

David Wilkinson
Pages: 42-44


Obituary - Peter G H Clarke 29 December 1946 – 16 September 2015

Stuart Judge
Pages: 57-58



Back to the Future of Human Origins

Nicola Berretta
Pages: 45-49


A Response to Berretta

Denis R. Alexander
Pages: 50-52


Human origins

Peter G. Nelson
Pages: 53-54


A response to Nelson

Ernest Lucas
Pages: 55-56


Book reviews

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Natural Theology in the Scientific Revolution: God’s Scientists

Katherine Calloway (James Hannam)
Pages: 59-60

The Emergence of Personhood: A Quantum Leap?

Malcolm Jeeves (ed.), (Peter Hampson)
Pages: 60-61

The Rise of Modern Science Explained: A Comparative History

H. Floris Cohen, (Allan Chapman)
Pages: 62-63

Evolution, Chance and God: Understanding the Relationship between Evolution and Religion

Brendan Sweetman, (Denis Alexander)
Pages: 64-65

The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence

Thomas Jay Oord, (Rodney Holder)
Pages: 65-67

The Sense of the Universe: Philosophical Explication of the Theological Commitment in Modern Cosmology

Alexei V. Nesteruk, (Andrei I. Holodny)
Pages: 67-69

Our Bodies Are Selves

Philip Hefner Ann Milliken Pederson Susan Barreto (Mark Graves)
Pages: 69-71

Science and Christian Faith in Post-Cold War Europe: A comparative analysis 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall

Giandomenico Boffi Marijan Sunjic (Eds.) (Michael Fuller)
Pages: 71-73

The Destruction of Sodom: A Scientific Commentary

Graham Harris (Colin Humphreys)
Pages: 73-74

The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century & the Birth of the Modern Mind

A.C. Grayling (John Hedley Brooke)
Pages: 74-76

The Penultimate Curiosity: how science swims in the slipstream of ultimate questions

Roger Wagner Andrew Briggs (Tim Middleton)
Pages: 76-77

Creation Care and the Gospel: Reconsidering the Mission of the Church

Colin Bell Robert S White (Eds.) (Chris Naylor)
Pages: 77-79

God Is No Thing: Coherent Christianity

Rupert Shortt (Patrick Richmond)
Pages: 79-80

Science and the Christian Faith

Andrew Loke (Paul Wraight)
Pages: 80-80

How I changed my mind about Evolution: Evangelicals reflect on faith and science

Kathryn Applegate J.B. Stump (Eds.) (Simon Kolstoe)
Pages: 81-82

God? Very Probably: Five Rational Ways to Think about the Question of God

Robert H. Nelson (Tony Costa)
Pages: 82-84

But Is It True?

Michael Ots (Joshua Fountain)
Pages: 84-86

The Search for God and the Path to Persuasion

Peter May (Joshua Fountain)
Pages: 84-86

Abraham’s Dice – Chance and Providence in the Monotheistic Traditions

Karl W. Giberson (ed.) (Denis Alexander)
Pages: 86-88