Emergence has become a popular term in religion and science discussions. A publication that has attracted wide interest recently has been Deacons (2012) Incomplete Nature. The rhetoric of emergence is often that of antireductionism, even though with the reductionists the advocates of emergence object to additional ingredients and to an additional organizing actor. Higher entities or phenomena come about by the organized interplay of lower entities. Thus, even though the analysis of the behavior of higher entities may need a vocabulary of its own, their existence is understood to be material in kind. An often used example: paying someone money is always a physical process; material objects (coins, paper) change places or the physical state of the computer at the bank is modified. However, the economics of paying is not intelligible when described in such physicalist terms. A simpler example: wetness is a property of drops of water, but it is not a property of individual molecules of H₂O.
Intelligent Design (ID) is a contemporary intellectual movement arguing that there is scientific evidence for the existence of some sort of creator. Its proponents see ID as a scientific research program and as a way to build a bridge between science and theology, while many critics see it merely as a repackaged form of religiously motivated creationism: both bad science and bad theology. In this article, I offer a close reading of the ID movements critique of theistic evolutionism and argue that this critique is ultimately in tension with the movements broader thought.
creation • Darwinism • Richard Dawkins • design • divine action • evolution • intelligent design • natural theology • scientism • theism
Erkki Vesa Rope Kojonen is a graduate student of systematic theology in the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 33 (Aleksanterinkatu 7), 00013 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; e-mail: rope.kojonen @ helsinki.fi.
Of Miracles and Metaphysics: A Pentecostal-Charismatic and Process-Relational Dialogue by Joshua D. Reichard
This article is comprised of a dialogue between Pentecostal-Charismatic and Process-Relational theologies on the perennial issue of miracles. The language of supernaturalism, widely employed by Pentecostal-Charismatic theologians, is contrasted with the metaphysical naturalism of Process-Relational theology; it is proposed that a philosophically and scientifically sensitive theology of miracles is possible through a synthesis of both traditions. Themes such as nonmaterialism over materialism, spiritual experience, and prayer for healing miracles are explored. A theology of miracles, mutually informed by both Pentecostal-Charismatic and Process-Relational theologies, may focus less on whether or not miracles are possible, but instead focus more on what kind of miracles human beings might value most. By mutually engaging a theology of nonsupernatural, metaphysically grounded miracles, Pentecostal-Charismatic and Process-Relational theologians may collaborate to establish the groundwork for creative scientific enterprises, especially in the non-Western world where Pentecostalism continues to experience its most rapid growth, Such perspectives may eventually lead to cutting-edge discoveries about the fundamental nature of, and Gods interaction with, reality itself. Implications for future research are proposed.
metaphysics • miracles • open theism • Pentecostalism • philosophical theology • process theology • relational theology • theology and science
Joshua D. Reichard is a member of the faculty at Oxford Graduate School, American Centre for Religion and Society Studies, 500 Oxford Drive, Dayton, TN 37321-6736, USA; e-mail: jreichard @ ogs.edu.
Ernan McMullin on Human Nature and the Meaning of Reduction
An Augustinian Philosopher Between Dualism and Materialism: Ernan McMullin on Human Emergence by Paul L. Allen
In claiming the independence of theology from science, Ernan McMullin nevertheless saw the danger of separating these disciplines on questions of mutual significance, as his accompanying article Biology and the Theology of the Human in this edition of Zygon shows. This paper analyzes McMullins adoption of emergence as a qualified endorsement of a view that avoids the excesses of both dualism and materialism. I argue that McMullins distinctive contribution is the conceptual clarification of emergence in the light of a precise understanding of matter, in light of Aristotelian metaphysics and Darwinian theory. As applied to human nature, McMullin retains an Augustinian outlook that sees spirit as emergent in the human body and which posits a credible biblical hermeneutic. I indicate briefly how McMullins perspective could be fortified by a fuller natural theology.
Augustine • Catholicism • consciousness • dualism • emergence • independence • Bernard Lonergan • matter • Ernan McMullin • Arthur Peacocke • reductionism • soul
Paul L. Allen is associate professor in the Department of Theological Studies, Concordia University, 1455 boul. de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 1M8; e-mail: paul.allen @ concordia.ca.
Biology and the Theology of the Human by Ernan McMullin
We will consider two Christian responses to the enormous advances in recent years in the connected sciences of genetics, evolutionary biology, and biochemistry, a dualist one by Pope John Paul II and an emergentist one by Arthur Peacocke. These two could hardly be more different. It would be impossible within the scope of a brief comment to do justice to these differences. What I hope to do instead is more modest: to draw attention to troublesome ambiguities in some of the key concepts on which discussions of human uniqueness depend, to recall very briefly some of the difficulties philosophers have encountered in their attempts to define the relation of the human powers of mind to the material capacities of body, and finally to ask what the theological significance of all this is.
dualism • emergence • evolution • human nature • John Paul II • matter • Arthur Peacocke • reduction • soul
Ernan McMullin (1924-2011) was professor of philosophy and history of science at Notre Dame University and Director of its Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values.
Ernan McMullin, Cosmic Purpose, and Divine Timelessness
Ernan McMullin on Contingency, Cosmic Purpose, and the Atemporality of the Creator by William R. Stoeger, SJ
This article reviews, and offers supportive reflections on, the main points of Ernan McMullins provocative 1998 article, Cosmic Purpose and the Contingency of Human Evolution, reprinted in this issue of Zygon. In it he addresses the important science-theology issue of how the Creators purpose and intention to assure the emergence of human beings is consonant with the radical contingency of the evolutionary process. After discussing cosmic and biological evolution and critically summarizing recent solutions to this question by Keith Ward, John Polkinghorne, Arthur Peacocke, Alvin Plantinga, and others, who presuppose in different ways that God is subject to time, McMullin compellingly argues for the traditional position, that God is unconditioned by time, and this enables God to work purposefully through contingency, randomness, and chance just as easily as through law-like regularity.
atemporality • contingency • creator • evolution • God • human beings • Ernan McMullin • purpose • time
William R. Stoeger, SJ is Staff Cosmologist, Vatican Observatory Research Group, Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA; e-mail: wstoeger @ email.arizona.edu.
Cosmic Purpose and the Contingency of Human Evolution by Ernan McMullin
Some understand the evolutionary process as more or less predictable; others stress its contingency. I argue that both Christian evolutionists who have assumed that the purposes of the Creator can be realized only through more or less predictable processes as well as those who infer from the contingency of the evolutionary process to the lack of purpose in the universe generally, are mistaken if the Creator escapes from the limits imposed on the creature by temporality, as the traditional Augustinian account supposes. The notion of purpose must itself be reinterpreted in such a case. It makes no difference whether the appearance of Homo sapiens is the inevitable result of a steady process of complexification stretching over billions of years, or whether it comes about through a series of coincidences that would have made it entirely unpredictable from the (causal) human standpoint. Either way, the outcome is of Gods making, and from the biblical standpoint may appear as part of Gods plan.
atemporality • Augustine • contingency • convergent evolution • eternity • evolution • meaning • orthogenesis • purpose • teleology • time • timelessness
Ernan McMullin (1924-2011) was a historian and philosopher of science. He was from Ireland and worked for the larger part of his academic career at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN 46617, USA.
Causality, Emergence, and Panentheism
On the Importance of Karl Christian Friedrich Krauses Panentheism by Benedikt P. Göcke
Panentheism is an often-discussed alternative to Classical theism, and almost any discussion of panentheism starts by way of acknowledging Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781-1832) as the person who coined the term. However, apart from this tribute, Krauses own panentheism is almost completely unknown. In what follows, I first present a brief overview of Krauses life and correct some misconceptions of his work before I turn to the core ideas of Krauses own panentheistic system of philosophy. In brief, Krause elaborates a scientific holism that is anchored in intellectual intuition of the Absolute as the one principle of being and recognition. The task of philosophical speculation consequently is twofold: the analytic-ascending part of philosophy proceeds by way of transcendental reflection and according to Krause enables us to obtain intellectual intuition. The synthetic-descending part of philosophy starts by way of showing that science as a whole is an explication of the original union of the Absolute as apprehended in intellectual intuition. Once this is achieved, Krause argues that the emerging philosophy of science is most adequately referred to as panentheism since everything is what it is in and through the Absolute, while the Absolute itself is not reducible to anything in particular. I end by showing how to relate Krauses panentheism to recent philosophical discussion.
holism • idealism • intellectual intuition • Karl Christian Friedrich Krause • panentheism
Benedikt P. Göcke is assistant professor in the faculty of theology at Ruhr-University Bochum and Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University. He may be contacted at Vogtshof 13, 48493 Wettringen, Germany; e-mail: benedikt.goecke @ gmail.com.
The Metaphysics of Downward Causation: Rediscovering the Formal Cause by Mariusz Tabaczek
The methodological nonreductionism of contemporary biology opens an interesting discussion on the level of ontology and the philosophy of nature. The theory of emergence (EM), and downward causation (DC) in particular, bring a new set of arguments challenging not only methodological, but also ontological and causal reductionism. This argumentation provides a crucial philosophical foundation for the science/theology dialogue. However, a closer examination shows that proponents of EM do not present a unified and consistent definition of DC. Moreover, they find it difficult to prove that higher-order properties can be causally significant without violating the causal laws that operate at lower physical levels. They also face the problem of circularity and incoherence in their explanation. In our article we show that these problems can be overcome only if DC is understood in terms of formal rather than physical (efficient) causality. This breakdown of causal monism in science opens a way to the retrieval of the fourfold Aristotelian notion of causality.
Aristotle • downward causation • efficient cause • emergence • formal cause • higher-level properties • nonreductive physicalism • supervenience
Mariusz Tabaczek, OP, is a Dominican friar and priest and a PhD student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He may be contacted at St. Alberts Priory, 5890 Birch Court, Oakland, CA 94618, USA; e-mail: mtabaczek @ gmail.com.
Emergence and Non-Personal Theology by Zachary Simpson
In response to recent theories of emergence which attempt to examine system dynamics and the evolution of complexity from physics to biology and consciousness, a number of theologians have attempted to distill religious insights from a philosophical concept of emergence. Recent work by Terrence Deacon, however, which emphasizes constraint and a process understanding of complexity, undercuts significant features in emergent theologies, namely the privileging of certain loci within emergent complexity, an emphasis on efficient causation, and, theologically, an agential and personal God. The final section of this article, using the example of Navaho religious thought, argues that other religious insights which centralize normativity, global features of complexity, and are depersonalized, have greater traction with current scientific theories of emergence.
complexity • Terrence Deacon • divinity • emergence • personhood • Philip Clayton • religious naturalism
Zachary Simpson is assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies and Bradford Ableson Chair of Religious Reconciliation at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. He may be contacted at 1727 W. Alabama, Chickasha, OK 73018, USA; e-mail: zsimpson @ usao.edu.
Human Nature in Theistic and Evolutionary Perspectives
Social Neuroscience and Theistic Evolution: Intersubjectivity, Love, and the Social Sphere by Michael L. Spezio
After providing a brief overview of social neuroscience in the context of strong embodiment and the cognitive sciences, this paper addresses how perspectives from the field may inform how theological anthropology approaches the origins of human persons-in-community. An overview of the Social Brain Hypothesis and of simulation theory reveals a simultaneous potential for receptive/projective processes to facilitate social engagement and the need for intentional spontaneity in the form of a spiritual formation that moves beyond simulation to empathy and love. Finally, elements of a virtue science that draws on Dietrich Bonhoeffers relational imago Dei are shown to be helpful in framing and motivating theological approaches to human origins.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer • imago Dei • simulation theory • social brain • theological anthropology • virtue
Michael L. Spezio is Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology, Scripps College, Claremont, CA 91711, USA and Visiting Faculty in Affective and Social Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA; e-mail: mspezio @ scrippscollege.edu.
Humans Created According to the Imago Dei: An Alternative Proposal by David Fergusson
Classical approaches to the idea of the imago Dei in the theology of creation have tended to postulate a distinctive element of the human being not found in other creatures, with the possible exception of angels. This is often combined with attempts to use the imago concept as an organizing principle within Christian theology. Such approaches are now problematic not merely on account of their exegetical findings, but for methodological reasons. In light of recent exegesis, the imago Dei in Genesis 1:26-27 should be seen as a signifier of human life under God, rather than a single determining characteristic or essential attribute. Following the wisdom literature, the imago Dei can be understood, in a more diffused manner, as represented by human persons over long periods of evolutionary history in their characteristic quotidian forms of life, thus signifying the providential ordering of human life everywhere. The recent work of David Kelsey on theological anthropology is engaged in this context.
anthropology • creation • image of God • David Kelsey • soul
David Fergusson is a professor of divinity and Principal of New College, University of Edinburgh, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, UK; e-mail: david.fergusson @ ed.ac.uk.
Divine Purpose and Evolutionary Processes by Thomas F. Tracy
When Darwins theory of natural selection threatened to put Paleys Designer out of a job, one response was to reemploy God as the author of the evolutionary process itself. This idea requires an account of how God might be understood to act in biological history. I approach this question in two stages: first, by considering Gods action as creator of the world as a whole, and second, by exploring the idea of particular divine action in the course of evolution. As creator ex nihilo God acts directly in every event as its sustaining ground. Because God structures the world as a lawful order of natural causes, God also acts indirectly by means of creatures. More controversially, God might act directly within the world to affect the course of events; this action need not take the form of a miraculous intervention, if the natural order includes the right sort of indeterministic chance. In each of these ways Gods purposes can shape evolutionary processes.
creation • divine action • evolution • primary and secondary causation • providence • quantum physics
Thomas F. Tracy is Phillips Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Bates College, 7 Andrews Road, Lewiston, ME 04240, USA; e-mail: ttracy @ bates.edu.
The Divine Spirit as Causal and Personal by Thomas Jay Oord
Theists in general and Christians in particular have good grounds for affirming divine action in relation to twenty-first-century science. Although humans cannot perceive with their five senses the causation—both divine and creaturely—at work in our world, they have reasons to believe God acts as an efficient, but never sufficient, cause in creation. The essential kenosis option I offer overcomes liabilities in other kenosis proposals, while accounting for a God who acts personally, consistently, persuasively, and yet in diversely efficacious ways. We can reasonably infer that the love, beauty, and truth expressed in creation derive from divine and creaturely causation.
causation • Christ • coercion • creation • divine action • intervention • kenosis • love • nature • open theism • process • relational • Alfred North Whitehead
Thomas Jay Oord is professor of theology in the Department of Religion, Northwest Nazarene University, 623 Holly Street, Nampa, ID 83686, USA; e-mail: tjoord @ nnu.edu.
Created for Everlasting Life: Can Theistic Evolution Provide an Adequate Christian Account of Human Nature? by John W. Cooper
Christians who affirm standard science and the biblical doctrine of creation often endorse theistic evolution as the best approach to human origins. But theistic evolution is ambiguous. Some versions are naturalistic (NTE) —God created humans entirely by evolution—and some are supernaturalistic (STE) —God supernaturally augmented evolution. This article claims that NTE is inadequate as an account of human origins because its theological naturalism and emergent physicalist ontology of the soul or person conflict with the Christian doctrine that God created humans for everlasting life. Both the traditional Christian account of the afterlife and its modern Christian alternatives involve Gods supernatural action and a separation (dualism) of person and body at death. STE can combine with several philosophical accounts of the body-soul relation to provide an adequate Christian account of original human nature.
dualism • emergentism • materialism • monism • person • physicalism • soul • supernaturalism • theistic evolution • theistic naturalism
John W. Cooper is a professor of philosophical theology, Calvin Theological Seminary, 3233 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, USA; email: cooj @ calvinseminary.edu.
Kneeling at the Altar of Science: The Mistaken Path of Contemporary Religious Scientism by Robert Bolger, reviewed by Annemarie Van Stee