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Title: Christ and evolution : a reinterpretation of Teilhard de Chardin's Christology after neo-Darwinism
Author: Brown, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 8659
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2015
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Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection has provided perhaps the most significant challenge that Christian theology has faced in the last 150 years. Although many philosophers of religion have attempted syntheses of religion and Darwinism, comparably less attention have been paid to how Darwin's theory of evolution invites reinterpretations of the particular grammar and specific content of Christian doctrine. This thesis, an exercise in systematic theology, critically examines Christian belief in the Person of Christ in light of Darwinism, approaching key questions as topics for theological, rather than philosophical, reflection. After Darwin, traditional anthropocentric models of Christian doctrine, focussed on God's relationship with the human person in Jesus Christ, are found to be inadequate. Since the human being is continuous with the wider animal, vegetable, and geological realm, inextricably linked with the wider ecosphere, Christian theology should now focus on God's relationship to the whole cosmos in Christ, viewing the whole universe as made in the image of God. Likewise, traditional notions of Christian teleology need to be revised in light of Darwinism. This thesis represent a constructive theological revisioning of Christian doctrine - and specifically Christology - seeking to understand Christian faith in Jesus Christ in light of scientific knowledge. Since Teilhard de Chardin provided the most sustained and coherent attempt to revision Christian doctrine in light of evolution, the thesis provides a critical reading of his work, identifying areas of critical weakness in Teilhard's responses to theology's new challenges. Crucially, Teilhard's Lamarckian and Bergsonian assumptions are seen to render his theology of evolution questionable: the rise of neo-Darwinism has meant that his work has become outdated and in need of revision. Although Teilhard asked many of the right questions, his solutions are now inadequate. Following a close reading of neo-Darwinist sources, the thesis provides a constructive corrective to Teilhard's cosmic Christology, which is both faithful to orthodox sensibilities and relevant to contemporary developments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BT0198 Christology