Science-Engaged Approach to Origins and Theodicy: Old Questions, New Horizons

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Theologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 March 2023) | Viewed by 4521

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Theology, Nicolaus Copernicus University, 87-100 Toruń, Poland
Interests: theology of science; theodicy; science–religion debate; Thomism; pilgrimage; medieval liturgy; philosophy of religion; religious freedom
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Department of Social Sciences and Medical Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
Interests: philosophy of science; philosophy of religion; neurophilosophy; philosophical anthropology; cognitive science of religion; ontology; theodicy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Theology, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, 00184 Roma, Italy
Interests: creation and science; divine action; evolutionary theory; philosophy of biology; philosophy of causation; metaphysics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

What were the origins of life and of the human species? Did they require a direct divine intervention? Or maybe natural conditions and causes were sufficient for these major transitions in the history and evolution of the universe to occur? Was the created order always accompanied by the possibility or even inevitability of natural (physical) evil? And what about the experience of suffering, pain, and evil of human beings – in the face of the Christian conviction about the infinite goodness and power of God the Creator?

Answers to these questions have always sought to follow and welcome insights from various disciplines of human knowledge. However, with the increasing importance and growing challenges coming from empirical sciences, and evolutionary theories in particular, theological reflections on the origins and theodicy seem to have retreated to a more cautious and reserved position. One might argue they approach contemporary science from a secure, more metaphysical point of view. Sometimes they may even be at danger of holding too tightly to overly dogmatic philosophical-theological presuppositions and conclusions, regardless of both inspirations and difficulties raised by the contemporary scientific view of the reality.

This special issue titled “Science-Engaged Approach to Origins and Theodicy: Old Questions, New Horizons” seeks to encourage authors to make a more direct use of scientific knowledge in addressing some of the old and new questions concerning the origins and theodicy. This implies the use of scientific knowledge as an auxiliary tool that can contribute to a better understanding of certain theological topics. Can evolutionary anthropology help us to understand better the original state of first humans? Should population genetics have a decisive impact on mono- versus -polygenism debate? Can evolutionary medical understanding of pain be helpful in addressing the topic of pain in theodicy? Can psychological insights on suffering be of help when we think about suffering of humans? How can we use insights from cognitive science in the study of our behavior and moral development?

Following in the footsteps of the emerging science-engaged theology initiative, we are trying to move away from the popular methodology applied in science/theology dialogue, where philosophical-theological discourse is developed in parallel to science, with rather unique and rare cases of a true intersection. A par excellence example of what we have in mind is St. Thomas Aquinas, who integrated into his reflection the scientific knowledge of his time, thinking about theology a as supervisor who cares and reflects on the content and direction of all divisions of knowledge, for the good of humankind and its relationship with God.

All contributions that seek to reflect on various aspects of origins and theodicy in more direct reference to scientific knowledge are welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Piotr Roszak
Dr. Saša Horvat
Dr. Mariusz Tabaczek
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • theodicy
  • evolution
  • creation
  • original justice
  • original sin
  • theological anthropology
  • polygenism

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 314 KiB  
Article
Contemporary Version of the Monogenetic Model of Anthropogenesis—Some Critical Remarks from the Thomistic Perspective
by Mariusz Tabaczek
Religions 2023, 14(4), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14040528 - 13 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1838
Abstract
This article refers to the debate between proponents of mono- and polygenism. After clearly defining these two positions in reference to the distinction between mono- and polyphyletism, it presents the scientific consensus in favor of polygenism as the default model of speciation. Taking [...] Read more.
This article refers to the debate between proponents of mono- and polygenism. After clearly defining these two positions in reference to the distinction between mono- and polyphyletism, it presents the scientific consensus in favor of polygenism as the default model of speciation. Taking this into account, the remaining part of the article concentrates on the monogenetic model of human speciation. Approaching this topic from the Aristotelian–Thomistic perspective, it delineates the three main theological arguments and one more scientifically grounded contention in favor of monogenism and offers a critical evaluation of Kenneth Kemp’s contemporary model of theological monogenism grounded in biological polygenism. While viable, consistent, and remaining in line with the most recent paleoanthropology and human genetics, it needs to be cleared of its voluntaristic and dualistic undertones and reformulated in a way that avoids its implicit assumption of a metaphysically dubious substantial change taking place at the last step of the origin of Homo sapiens. Full article
22 pages, 650 KiB  
Article
Iranian Scholars’ Contemporary Debate between Evolutionary Human Genesis and Readings of the Qur’an: Perspectives and Classification
by Maryam Farahmand, Mostafa Taqavi and Ali Asghar Ahmadi
Religions 2023, 14(2), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020143 - 25 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1889
Abstract
While the science–religion debate on human creation has been widely explored in the Muslim world, Iranian Muslim opinions have been missed in the mainstream literature. To see whether they follow the lead of the majority of Muslim thinkers or not, here is an [...] Read more.
While the science–religion debate on human creation has been widely explored in the Muslim world, Iranian Muslim opinions have been missed in the mainstream literature. To see whether they follow the lead of the majority of Muslim thinkers or not, here is an overview of the Qur’anic Perspective of Iranian Muslim Scholars. After reviewing the previously categorized approaches of Muslims encountering evolution mentioned in the literature, this paper will survey the Qur’anic verses related to the biological creation of man with the “scientific-lexical” method of all possible states. Afterward, the views of the most-cited Iranian scholars, such as Saḥābī, Ṭabāṭabā’ī, Muṭahharī, and Jawādī, will be located within this classification by citing reasons and textual pieces of evidence from their accounts that determine the differences provided by the majority of Muslims. Full article
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