Grace in evolutionary perspective: the furthering of nature
Novello, Henry Leonard
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The aim of this short reflection is to consider the fundamental issue of grace from the perspective of evolution: What light does an evolutionary view of the world shed on this problematic? If God creates through the evolutionary process, then clearly the rethinking of the doctrine of creation will also inform a theology of grace. Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner, Denis Edwards, and George Coyne are examples of Catholic thinkers committed to doing theology in an evolutionary perspective by building on the concept of God’s continuous creation (creatio continua) that belongs to the Catholic theological tradition. They draw upon scientific knowledge of our evolving world, but they approach the scientific data as theologians seeking greater understanding of the faith. This is to say that they do not substitute science for religious faith, but they do see a legitimate dialogue between the two disciplines, each of which has its own realm of applicability. And with regard to this dialogue we must keep in mind that just as scientific theories are always incomplete, our religious understanding of God is also always incomplete, as the apophatic tradition of theology, represented by Pseudo Dionysius, makes abundantly clear.