Natural theology and evolution

There is a biblical precedent for using nature to gain theological lessons, such as in Luke 12:27, where the lesson is that if God has made his creation beautiful, how much greater are you?

Likewise, my favourite Psalm, as a birdwatcher, is Psalm 104, where the Psalmist praises God for his many wonders in creation. But the Psalmist is clearly speaking about the universe as he knows it, not our post-darwinian universe. We know that the prey items of the lion evolved over time, and are not directly created by God, as the Psalm says.

I still hold the message of the psalm is valuable, about praising the wonders of creation, but the language is no longer entirely relevant. Under a Darwinism worldview, we can no longer praise God for creating individual creatures, but rather for setting in place the natural processes which created this beauty and splendour.


To me it’s one in the same. Regardless if it’s individual species or if it’s the evolutionary ecological systems that he created that results in species. If anything for me it’s even more wonderfully made as a creation that keeps on creating.

If they’re natural - and they are - He didn’t set them in place, beyond grounding their being.

Which is good enough

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Sorry to have left this unanswered for more than a day!

The psalmist knows plenty already to more than put to rest the mistaken notion that God’s hand is only present if no other mediating process can be described. The psalmist knows that rain comes from clouds, and that food comes from fields and animals, etc. And none of that reduces the psalmists praise one bit for these being God’s manifested blessing to us. So yes - the even the ancient psalmist was way ahead of you in this, and others today who are still stuck on this notion that a description of a process is an exclusion of God. Please … at least take this much away from the forum here!

I disagree. That’s like saying that since we know about basic biology and how many sperm there are, we can no longer say “God knit me together in my mother’s womb.” I fully affirm that God created me and every other individual creature, while affirming the scientific descriptions of these too. Neither affirmation by itself tells the whole story.

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I still see that as part of the psalmist’s pre-scientific worldview.

That being said, perhaps what Edward Feser calls ‘scholastic realism’ can help us, if all universals (basically the traits which things share) are contained inside the mind of God. In which case, God is absolutely responsible for everything that is.

Doesn’t the Devo half of evo-devo already support the “knit us together in our mother’s womb”. It is spectacularly amazing but needn’t entail anything supernatural. Maybe creation entirely by natural means would be the most challenging approach of all. Easier for me to say, OC.

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