Science and the Sacred

Science and the Sacred


The Drama of Life

theatre.jpg

Often in discussions of science and religion, creation is viewed in terms of design. Some view the complex design on the natural world as proof of an intelligent creator. Others, however, claim that flaws in nature show that a divine creator does not exist, or else made a number of mistakes.

In his article “Darwin, God, and the drama of life”, theologian John Haught argues that religious thought can more significantly interact with evolution and the natural world if it views them in terms of a narrative rather than in terms of a design. The most important issue in discussions of science and religion, according to Haught, is not whether design points to deity but whether the drama of life is the carrier of theological meaning.
From a design point of view, evolution can appear to be a random process, staggering about without meaning. But in dramatic terms, it is clear that the story of life is in not yet over.

As Haught writes:

A theological reading of evolution, I am suggesting, looks for an alternative to the rigor mortis of perfect design, and this is why Darwin’s ragged portrait of life is not so distressing after all. Theologically understood, biological evolution is part of an immense cosmic journey into the incomprehensible mystery of God. Any possible meaning it has will reside at a level of narrative depth unfathomable by the mathematical nets of physical science, by armchair observation, or by minds fixated on design.

Haught’s full article can be found in the “On Faith” section of The Washington Post.

Share
|





Advertisement
Comments read comments(6)
post a comment
Daniel Mann

posted December 3, 2009 at 10:39 am


I approached John Haught’s article with breathless interest to see how his “drama of life” might impart some meaning to our matrix of existence – perhaps giving something which we could use to illuminate the humdrum of stubbing our toes, loosing our hair and dealing with frustrations.
Haught mentioned how we “have overlooked the grandeur that Darwin saw in the larger story of life” by placing too much emphasis on the question of design. Perhaps he saw something that had been eluding those of us who are overly design-oriented. And perhaps, through the gentle coaxing of a “drama,” we could winsomely point to something greater than we without going head-to-head with the Dawkins-types.
But alas, my hopes were crushed when Haught finally admitted, “So whatever meaning the drama of life may be carrying cannot become transparent to our present intellectual efforts or scientific observations. Again, we have to wait.” Drats!!! I guess it’s back to design!



report abuse
 

Larry

posted December 3, 2009 at 10:44 am


I think that Haught makes a good point, our views of God, and Scripture, have been constrained by our very culturally bound visualization of God as some kind of Cosmic Engineer. I suspect that we would be better served by seeing Him as a Divine Dramatist as Haught suggests, or more of an artist than an engineer or scientist. Artists and engineers create differently, treat their raw material differently and relate differently to their creations. Moltmann’s idea of God calling creation into the future, as opposed to His being an engineer constantly tinkering with creation and driving it into the future is also a good way of looking at it.



report abuse
 

Mere_Christian

posted December 4, 2009 at 6:55 am


It can sometimes be a mistake to read the Bible and think certain parts are directed straight to you (or us). But here are two statements that more than likely have corporate authority:
“As you sow, sow shall you reap.”
And . . .
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
///



report abuse
 

Mere_Christian

posted December 4, 2009 at 7:26 am


As Haught writes:
A theological reading of evolution, I am suggesting, looks for an alternative to the rigor mortis of perfect design, and this is why Darwin’s ragged portrait of life is not so distressing after all. Theologically understood, biological evolution is part of an immense cosmic journey into the incomprehensible mystery of God. Any possible meaning it has will reside at a level of narrative depth unfathomable by the mathematical nets of physical science, by armchair observation, or by minds fixated on design.
///
Haught designed his words to have meaning.
Hint, hint.
What happened to the random mutation I posted about this?



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted December 4, 2009 at 7:39 am


Darwinism.
This happens in the animal kingdom quite often:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091204/ap_on_re_us/us_indiana_boy_strangled



report abuse
 

Beaglelady

posted December 8, 2009 at 9:28 pm


Is this picture the Metropolitan Opera? It sure looks like it.



report abuse
 



Previous Posts

We're Moving
Science & the Sacred is moving to our new home on The BioLogos Foundation's Web site. Be sure to visit and bookmark our new location to stay up to date with the latest blogs from Karl Giberson, Darrel Falk, Pete Enns, and our various guests in the science-religion dialogue. We're inaugurating ou

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 11, 2009 | read full post »

Shiny Scales, Silvery Skins, and Evolution
  Source: Physorg.comIridescence -- a key component of certain makeup, paints, coatings of mirrors and lenses -- is also an important feature in the natural world. Both fish and spiders make use of periodic photonic systems, which scatter or reflect the light that passes against their scales or

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 09, 2009 | read full post »

A Stellar Advent Calendar
Looking for a unique way to mark the days of the Advent season? The Web site Boston.com offers an Advent calendar composed of images from the Hubble Telescope, both old and new. Each day, from now until the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, the calendar will offer a beautiful image from the hea

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 09, 2009 | read full post »

Belief, Guidance, and Evolution
Recently BioLogos' Karl Giberson was interviewed by Marcio Campos for the Brazilian newspaper Gazeta do Povo's Tubo De Ensaio (i.e. "Test tube") section. What follows is a translated transcript of that interview, which we will be posting in three installments. Here is the first. Campos: Starting o

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 08, 2009 | read full post »

Let's Come at this From a Different Angle
Every Friday, "Science and the Sacred" features an essay from a guest voice in the science and religion dialogue. This week's guest entry was written by Peter Enns. Enns is an evangelical Christian scholar and author of several books and commentaries, including the popular Inspiration and Incarnatio

posted 8:00:00am Dec. 04, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.