Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
53 (3), September 2018

Table of Contents

Essays in Honor of Christopher Southgate

Editorial & Introduction

Arthur C. Petersen Zygon’s New Editor and Christopher Southgate Focus of This Issue by Willem B. Drees

The scientist Christopher Southgate became a theologian and a poet. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science has had the pleasure of publishing four of his articles (Southgate 2002, 2011, 2014, 2016) and a set of six articles on research done by him in collaboration with Andrew Robinson, inspired by Charles Sanders Peirce, on a semiotic approach to the origin of life (Robinson and Southgate 2010a, 2010b, 2010c, 2010d; Robinson, Southgate, and Deacon 2010; Southgate and Robinson 2010). Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science has also published four of Southgate’s poems (2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2007d). In this issue, colleagues engage his work on teaching “religion and science” and on evolution and theodicy, in particular with respect to the suffering of humans and other animals. Bethany Sollereder and Andrew Robinson, a theologian and a medical doctor, respectively, are our guest editors for this festschrift issue. As befits academic conversation, Southgate offers some reflections in response. May his contributions and those of his conversation partners inspire further reflection!
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12437

Essays in Honor of Christopher Southgate: Introduction by Bethany Sollereder and Andrew Robinson

Abstract:
This article is an introduction to the special issue of Zygon in honor of Christopher Southgate. Over the years he has made many significant contributions to the field of science and religion, and contributors have gathered to celebrate him on his sixty-fifth birthday. This introduction includes some biographical background and an outline of the issue’s contents.
Keywords:
evolutionary theodicy • myth • pedagogy • poetry • science and religion • Christopher Southgate
Bethany Sollereder is Postdoctoral Fellow in Science and Religion, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; e-mail: Bethany.Sollereder @ theology.ox.ac.uk. Andrew Robinson is Honorary Research Fellow in Theology and Religion, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK; e-mail: A.J.Robinson @ exeter.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12439

Evolutionary Theodicy

Christopher Southgate’s Compound Theodicy: Parallel Searchings by Denis Edwards

Abstract:
Christopher Southgate proposes that a theological response to the suffering that is built into an evolutionary world requires a compound evolutionary theodicy, made up of four interrelated theological positions. This article proposes a fourfold response to the suffering of nonhuman creation that parallels Southgate’s compound theodicy. In its similarities and differences, it is offered in the spirit of a tribute to Christopher Southgate.
Keywords:
compound theodicy • cross • evolution • incarnation • resurrection • Christopher Southgate • suffering
Denis Edwards is a Professorial Fellow in Theology at Australian Catholic University, Adelaide Campus, Adelaide, SA, Australia; e-mail: denis.edwards @ acu.edu.au.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12426

Extinction, Natural Evil, and the Cosmic Cross by Ted Peters

Abstract:
Did the God of the Bible create a Darwinian world in which violence and suffering (disvalue) are the means by which the good (value) is realized? This is Christopher Southgate’s insightful and dramatic formulation of the theodicy problem. In addressing this problem, the Exeter theologian rightly invokes the Theology of the Cross in its second manifestation, that is, we learn from the cross of Jesus Christ that God is present to nonhuman as well as human victims of predation and extinction. God co-suffers with creatures in their despair, abandonment, physical suffering, and death. What I will add with more force than Southgate is this: the Easter resurrection is a prolepsis of the eschatological new creation, and it is God’s new creation which retroactively determines past creation. Although this does not eliminate the theodicy question, it lessens its moral sting.
Keywords:
eschatology • natural evil • new creation • Christopher Southgate • theodicy • theology of the Cross
Ted Peters is co-editor of the journal Theology and Science at the Francisco J. Ayala Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA, USA; e-mail: tedfpeters @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12454

Southgate’s Compound Only-Way Evolutionary Theodicy: Deep Appreciation and Further Directions by Robert John Russell

Abstract:
Christopher Southgate offers a remarkable evolutionary theodicy that includes six affirmations and arguments; together they form a unique and very persuasive proposal which he terms a “compound evolutionary theodicy.” Here I summarize the arguments and offer critical reflections on them for further development, with an emphasis on the ambiguity in the goodness of creation; the role of thermodynamics in evolutionary biology; the challenge of horrendous evil in nature; and the theological response to theodicy in terms of eschatology, with its own severe challenge from cosmology.
Keywords:
ambiguous goodness of creation • “co-suffering” argument • compound evolutionary theodicy • cosmic theodicy • eschatology and cosmology • “only way” argument • thermodynamics and evolutionary biology
Robert John Russell is Ian G. Barbour Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union, and Founder and Director, the Francisco J. Ayala Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley, CA, USA; e-mail: rrussell @ gtu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12438

Exploring Old and New Paths in Theodicy by Bethany Sollereder

Abstract:
Christopher Southgate’s work raises questions about God, evolution, and suffering. In this article, I begin by contributing an alternative to Southgate’s “only way” argument and by offering a third option in speculations about the nature of nonhuman animals in heaven. The second half of the article starts with Southgate’s approach of evolutionary theodicy as “an adventure in theology” and proposes a new path branching off his work. “Compassionate theodicy” is a reworking of the method and audience of traditional theodicy in the hope that it might become something that could offer theological resources to those who suffer.
Keywords:
animals • compassionate theodicy • eschatology • only way • reappraisal • Christopher Southgate • theodicy
Bethany N. Sollereder is Postdoctoral Fellow in Science and Religion, University of Oxford, Faculty of Theology and Religion, Gibson Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG, UK; e-mail: Bethany.Sollereder @ theology.ox.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12425

Redeeming a Cruciform Nature by Holmes Rolston, III

Abstract:
Christopher Southgate recognizes that the natural world is both ambiguous, mixing goods and bads, and simultaneously dramatically creative, such creativity resulting from just this ambiguous challenge of environmental conductance and resistance. Life is lived in green pastures and in the valley of the shadow of death. Perhaps this is the only way God could have created the values found on Earth, by means of such disvalues, as a Darwinian natural selection account suggests. Generating Earth’s biodiversity requires struggle, success, and failure—and such an only way would constrain a powerful, loving God. But Southgate judges this too uncaring of suffering individuals, the products of evolution sacrificed to the systemic process. Perhaps God through Jesus redeems all the sacrificed individuals—pelicans in a pelican heaven—but redemption of all the bullfrogs and acorns becomes an incredible hope. Nature is a cruciform creation, where life persists in perpetual perishing. Life is forever conserved, regenerated, redeemed.
Keywords:
cruciform creation • evolution • Christopher Southgate • suffering
Holmes Rolston, III, is University Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA; e-mail: holmes.rolston @ colostate.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12428

On Social Evil and Natural Evil: In Conversation with Christopher Southgate by Ernst Conradie

Abstract:
In this contribution, the author engages in a conversation with Christopher Southgate on the relationship between social evil and what is called natural “evil.” Theologically, this centers around an understanding of creation and fall. It is argued that Southgate typically treats soteriology and eschatology as themes pertaining to an evolutionary theodicy, whereas an adequate ecotheology would discuss the problem of natural suffering under the rubric of the narrative of God’s economy. The question is then how that story is best told.
Keywords:
Ernst M. Conradie • evolution • natural evil • Christopher Southgate • theodicy
Ernst M. Conradie is Senior Professor in the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa; e-mail: econradie @ uwc.ac.za.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12427

Evolution, Contingency, and Christology by Philip Clayton and Steven Knapp

Abstract:
Christopher Southgate has made important contributions to theodicy and the theory of divine action in light of the contingency in evolution and the suffering of creation. What happens then when one thinks through the implications of contingency for Christology? One can admit that aesthetic and moral judgments are products of a contingent history and yet affirm that they really are valid. Similarly, we argue, one can acknowledge the contingency of Jesus’ existence, actions, and subsequent impact and still maintain that his will was uniquely united with the divine will. Following a critical engagement with the recent work of Keith Ward, we argue that a high Christology is compatible with the actual contingencies of evolutionary and social history, without the necessity of interventionist divine action.
Keywords:
Christology • contingency • creation • cultural evolution • divine action • evolution • natural evil • realism • Christopher Southgate • Keith Ward
Philip Clayton is Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology and affiliated faculty at the Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, USA; e-mail: pclayton @ cst.edu. Steven Knapp is President Emeritus and University Professor of English at George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA; e-mail: sknapp @ gwu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12457

Faith and Compassion in an Unfinished Universe by John F. Haught

Abstract:
The theme of compassion is prominent in the work of Christopher Southgate. This scientist and theologian is deeply affected by Charles Darwin’s nineteenth century disclosure of the long, previously unknown, history of life’s suffering. Southgate is also aware of the many unsuccessful attempts by Christian theologians to make sense of it all. Here I build on Southgate’s work. I note, first, that both the suffering of life and the protest against it by compassionate human beings are integral parts of a single cosmic drama; second, that the drama is still far from finished; and, third, that the suffering of innocent life remains unintelligible and unredeemed apart from faith’s anticipation of a fulfillment that awaits the entire cosmic drama.
Keywords:
cosmic story • cosmology • evolution • redemption • resurrection • rightness • suffering
John F. Haught is Distinguished Research Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA; e-mail haughtj @ georgetown.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12433

Perceiving Natural Evil through the Lens of Divine Glory? A Conversation with Christopher Southgate by Celia Deane-Drummond

Abstract:
Finding a way to come to terms with the disvalues in the evolutionary world is a particular challenge in the light of Neo-Darwinian theories. In this article I trace the shift in Christopher Southgate’s work from a focus on theodicy to a theologian of glory. I am critical of his rejection of the tradition of the Fall, his incorporation of disvalues into the work of divine Glory, and the specific theological weight given to scientific content. I offer a critique of Holmes Rolston III’s approach to the valuation of nature that I believe has influenced Southgate’s theology. Constructively, I offer an alternative that seeks to recover an understanding of the origin of evil and the Adamic event that draws on the work of Paul Ricoeur. I also draw on the work of anthropologist Tim Ingold for an alternative philosophical approach to evolution which opens up a space for a recovery of the concepts of creaturely Sophia and shadow Sophia in the work of Sergius Bulgakov.
Keywords:
creaturely Sophia • glory • natural evil • Paul Ricoeur • Holmes Rolston, III • shadow Sophia • Christopher Southgate • theodicy
Celia Deane-Drummond is Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Theology, Science, and Human Flourishing at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA; e-mail: celia.deane-drummond.1 @ nd.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12432

Theodicy: A Response to Christopher Southgate by Nicola Hoggard Creegan

Abstract:
This article is a critical and appreciative interaction with Christopher Southgate’s theodicy and theology of glory. I critique in particular his rejection of all dualist moves in theodicy. I question why Southgate can ascribe evil to some human actions, many of which are automatic and unconscious, but not to any other level or form of consciousness. I argue that he may rely too heavily on rational scientific categories, which are not sufficient in themselves to carry the weight of key theological concepts. His use of poetry is powerful and suggestive, but in the end, he may not give it enough epistemic weight.
Keywords:
Sonali Deraniyagala • glory • natural evil • poetry • Christopher Southgate • theodicy
Nicola Hoggard Creegan is a theologian and chaplain at Maclaurin Chapel, Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand; email: hoggard.n @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12456

Evolution and Theodicy: How (Not) to Do Science and Theology by Neil Messer

Abstract:
This article uses Christopher Southgate’s work and engagement with other scholars on the topic of evolutionary theodicy as a case study in the dialogue of science and Christian theology. A typology is outlined of ways in which the voices of science and the Christian tradition may be related in a science-theology dialogue, and examples of each position on the typology are given from the literature on evolution and natural evil. The main focus is on Southgate’s evolutionary theodicy and the alternative proposal by Neil Messer. By bringing these two accounts into dialogue, some key methodological issues are brought into focus, enabling some conclusions to be drawn about the range and limits of fruitful methodological possibilities for dialogues between science and Christian theology.
Keywords:
Christianity • creation • evolution • evolutionary biology • natural evil • Christopher Southgate • theology
Neil Messer is Professor of Theology at the University of Winchester, Winchester, UK; e-mail: Neil.Messer @ winchester.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12435

Myth, Mutual Interaction, and Poetry

Darwin and Christianity: Truth and Myth by John Hedley Brooke

Abstract:
In recent years many historical myths about the relations between science and religion have been corrected but not always with sensitivity to different types and functions of “myth.” Correcting caricatures of Darwin’s religious views and of the religious reaction to his theory have featured prominently in this myth-busting. With the appearance in 2017 of A. N. Wilson’s depiction of Darwin himself as a “mythmaker,” it is appropriate to reconsider where the myths lie in discourse concerning Darwin and Christianity. Problems with Wilson’s account are identified and his provocative demeaning of Darwin is contrasted with an image gleaned from Darwin’s friend and colleague George Romanes. The article concludes with a brief reference to the problem of suffering and to the work of Christopher Southgate.
Keywords:
agnosticism • argument from design • Charles Darwin • Darwinism • myth • naturalism
John Hedley Brooke was the first Idreos Professor of Science and Religion (from 1999 to 2006) at Oxford University. Harris Manchester College, Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TD UK; e-mail: john.brooke @ theology.ox.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12424

Creative Mutual Interaction in Action by Andrew Robinson

Abstract:
In this article, I describe a multidisciplinary project at the interface of philosophy, science, and theology. The project is the product of an ongoing collaboration between the author and Christopher Southgate, to whom this special issue of Zygon is dedicated. At the philosophical core of the project is a development of C. S. Peirce’s semiotics (theory of signs). The scientific branch of the project involves the application of semiotic theory to the problem of the origin of life, and to questions about human evolution and human distinctiveness. The theological branch of the project involves the articulation of a semiotic approach to the Christian concepts of Incarnation and Trinity, and to the ideas of vestiges of the Trinity in creation and of participation in God’s life. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the project in terms of Robert John Russell’s model of ‘creative mutual interaction’ between science and theology.
Keywords:
evolution • incarnation • origin of life • Charles Sanders Peirce • semiotics • Trinity
Andrew Robinson is Honorary Research Fellow in Theology and Religion, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK; e-mail: A.J.Robinson @ exeter.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12455

A Sonnet for Christopher by Richard Skinner

Richard Skinner is a poet (with ten published collections) and an independent scholar. He lives in Exeter, UK, and may be contacted at rnfs.dilettante @ btinternet.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12422

Tracing Origins of Twenty-First Century Ecotheology: The Poetry of Christopher Southgate by Margaret Boone Rappaport and Christopher Corbally

Abstract:
With the goal of better understanding how science, religion, and poetic art came together in the work of Christopher Southgate, the authors first explore his spiritual poetry. They come away with a better understanding of the author’s commitment to a broad naturalism that contributes, along with his own faith experience, to his prose works in the emerging field of ecotheology. The authors conclude that Southgate’s work is part of the worldwide emergence of a theological rationale that supports environmentalism, the protection of species, and the conservation of biodiversity. The authors find Southgate’s poetry warm, appealing, accessible, and re-readable to good effect, but with a thread of danger and warning throughout. Both features are quite appropriate for the environmental movement in the twenty-first century.
Keywords:
biodiversity • ecology • ecotheology • environmentalism • naturalism • science and religion • Christopher Southgate
Margaret Boone Rappaport is a cultural anthropologist who works on issues of science, religion, and art with the Human Sentience Project, in Tucson, Arizona and previously was Lecturer at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA; e-mail msbrappaport @ aol.com. Christopher J. Corbally, SJ, is a Jesuit priest with the Vatican Observatory Research Group, for which he has served as Vice Director. He is an Adjunct Associate Astronomer with Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, in Tucson, AZ, USA; e-mail corbally @ as.arizona.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12436

Pedagogy in Religion and Science

Between Knowing and Being: Reflections on Being Taught Science and Religion by Prof. Christopher Southgate by Timothy Gibson

Abstract:
It is a joy to be asked to contribute to this commemorative edition of Zygon, in honor of my friend Christopher Southgate. But a narrowly academic article seems not to fit the brief of writing a reflection on Southgate’s teaching of science and religion, as one who has witnessed it, gladly, as both student and colleague. What follows, then, is deliberately reflective in tone, with little in the way of academic references apart from occasional links to Southgate’s own work—though, I hope, enough of a strand of argument to justify inclusion in these pages. My argument is simply put: Southgate teaches by not teaching, but by drawing out knowledge from students and thereby empowering their growth. He is an exemplar, a kind man committed to the unfolding of understanding, interested too in forming dispositions in his students that will lead to their flourishing as thinkers and as people.
Keywords:
Aristotle • episteme • formation and learning • pedagogy • phronesis • science and religion • Christopher Southgate • techne
Timothy Gibson is a writer, lecturer, and Anglican priest. He teaches at the University of the West of England, Bristol, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, UK, and for the Diocese of Bath and Wells, where he also exercises a parish ministry; e-mail: timothy2.gibson @ uwe.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12434

Modeling the Cosmos: Transformative Pedagogy in Science and Religion by Louise Hickman

Abstract:
This article reflects on the classroom pedagogy promoted by Christopher Southgate and its implications for the science-theology conversation. It highlights several important aspects of Southgate’s pedagogy. The use of models of God, humanity, and cosmos emphasize relationality while encouraging the synthesizing of ideas. The promotion of holism in theological reflection is vital for nurturing students to become theologians themselves through the active reevaluation of key doctrines and ideas. An emphasis on ethical considerations reinforces synthesis between theology, science, and ethics, and is vital for perspective transformation. These aspects of Southgate’s teaching should be recognized as vital for promoting intellectual independence, partnership, and theological transformation, all of which are essential to good science and theology pedagogy.
Keywords:
pedagogy • perspective transformation • science and religion • Christopher Southgate • teaching
Louise Hickman is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Ethics at Newman University, Genner’s Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, B323NT UK; e-mail: L.Hickman @ newman.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12423

God, Humanity, and the Cosmos: Challenging a Challenging Textbook by Willem B. Drees

Abstract:
Christopher Southgate has been the editor of the textbook God, Humanity and the Cosmos. I consider this textbook fair on science and wise in intertwining issues in theology and science with ecology, climate change, and technology. It might also be challenging for students, as it introduces them to a variety of perspectives and a rich palette of literature. I wonder whether such a book, with its strong theological, “cognitive,” orientation will remain relevant in European contexts, given shifts in society away from Christianity and changes in understanding what it is to be religious.
Keywords:
education • God, Humanity and the Cosmos • religion and science • secularization • Christopher Southgate • teaching • Linda Woodhead
Willem B. Drees is Dean of the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences, Professor of Philosophy of the Humanities at Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands, and the editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science; e-mail w.b.drees@tilburguniversity.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12431

Teaching Science and Religion in the Twenty-First Century: The Many Pedagogical Roles of Christopher Southgate by Christopher Corbally and Margaret Boone Rappaport

Abstract:
With the goal of understanding how Christopher Southgate communicates his in-depth knowledge of both science and theology, we investigated the many roles he assumes as a teacher. We settled upon wide-ranging topics that all intertwine: (1) his roles as author and coordinating editor of a premier textbook on science and theology, now in its third edition; (2) his oral presentations worldwide, including plenaries, workshops, and short courses; and (3) the team teaching approach itself, which is often needed by others because the knowledge of science and theology do not always reside in the same person. Southgate provides, whenever possible, teaching contexts that involve students in experiential learning, where they actively participate with other students. We conclude that Southgate’s ultimate goal is to teach students how to reconcile science and theology in their values and beliefs, so that they can take advantage of both forms of rational thinking in their own personal and professional lives. The co-authors consider several examples of models that have been successfully used by people in various fields to integrate science and religion.
Keywords:
experiential learning • models • science and education • science and religion • team teaching • the New Physics • theology
Christopher J. Corbally, SJ, is a Jesuit priest with the Vatican Observatory Research Group, for which he has served as Vice Director. He is an Adjunct Associate Astronomer with Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, in Tucson, AZ, USA; e-mail corbally @ as.arizona.edu. Margaret Boone Rappaport is a cultural anthropologist who works on issues of science, religion, and art, with the Human Sentience Project, in Tucson, Arizona and previously was Lecturer at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA; e-mail msbrappaport @ aol.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12453

Response

Response with a Select Bibliography by Christopher Southgate

Abstract:
In this response to the articles in this issue, Southgate considers lessons to be learned in respect of science-religion teaching, and about his edited textbook God, Humanity and the Cosmos. He emphasizes the importance of collaborative work in theology. He then considers issues in evolutionary theodicy raised by other contributors, especially eschatology, divine passibility, and the status of the “only way” explanation of evolutionary suffering. Lastly, he engages with critiques of his work based on a preference for characterizing the disvalues of creation in terms of “mysterious fallenness.” The article is followed by a select bibliography of his published work since 1979.
Keywords:
eschatology • evolutionary biology • fallenness • “only way” argument • original sin • passibility • pedagogy • poetry • theodicy • theology and science
Christopher Southgate is Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Theology, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK; email: c.c.b.southgate @ exeter.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12460

Reviews

Genes, Determinism, and God by Denis Alexander reviewed by Christopher Grundmann

Christoffer H. Grundmann, John R. Eckrich Emeritus University Professor, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN, United States; email: Christoffer.Grundmann@valpo.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12430

The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View by Tim Carne reviewed by Yiftach J. H. Fehige

Yiftach Fehige, Associate Professor of Christianity and Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; email: yiftach.fehige@utoronto.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12452

The New Cosmic Story: Inside Our Awakening Universe by John F. Haught reviewed by Carol Rausch Albright

Carol Rausch Albright, Visiting Professor of Religion and Science, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Chicago, IL; email: Albright1@aol.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12429



Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts