Denis Alexander on Evolution

I recently recommended Denis Alexander’s book “creation, evolution : do we have to choose?” was in turn pointed me to some great YouTube clips of him. Here they are with one or two notes:

  • The bible knows three sorts of death: Physical, Spiritual and Eternal.
  • Holmes Rolston III says: As brain complexity and awareness of our environment increases, pain seems to increase with it therefore, the evolutionary process “could be titled perversely ‘The evolution of suffering'”
  • “If we didn’t have pain we would be walking around on broken legs and munching on broken glass.” Denis Alexander.

  • “Our descendancy from apes is about a certain as anything can be in evolutionarily biology”
  • 200,000 years ago modern humans appeared in Africa. 70,000 years ago a small (perhaps a few thousand people?) emigrated from Africa, first to India China etc rather than cold Europe. They backed up into Europe as weather got better around 40,000 BC (Cro-magnon man).
  • Is there a conversation that can be had between the book of Genesis and science? There are three models:
    • A) The a-historical view
      Early chapters of genesis are not historical, but a retelling of the story of every person today via a mythical story. It says some things but is not addressing historical truth ie there was a snake, and one Adam and one Eve.  
    • B) The gradualist Proto-historical view
      A story of one man and women that encapsulated what actually happened gradually over many generations as humans grew in awareness of God yet turned away from him.
    • C) A more events based proto-historical view
      God chose a couple of Neolithic famers. Adam was the federal head but not necessarily the physical genetic father of all subsequent men. Evolution delivers anatomical humans from the dust, with language etc but this is necessary but not sufficient for (me – being in the image of God and having) a relationship with God.
    • Note :  in all three models the fall only brings in spiritual death not physical death.

  • Theodicy was a term coined in 1710 by Leibniz in his “Essays on the goodness of God,  the freedom of man and the origin of evil.” It attempts to justify Gods qualities such as his goodness and power with the existence of evil in the sword.
  • Suffering and evil? How sovereign is God?
  • In “New creation”  the Greek for new is new in quality καινός, not new νέοςas in not having existed before.
    • I’ll check that out, hang on…Can’t quite see that myself from the Greek.
    • “new creation” in 2 Cor 5:17 uses the word καινός.
    • Matthew 27:60 says Jesus was laid in a new (καινός) tomb that had just been carved out of a rock.
    • Jesus says “no one puts new (νέος) wine into old wineskins.” (Luke 5:37).
    • put on the new (νέος) self, which is being renewed (ἀνακαινόω) in knowledge after the image of its creator. (ESV) Col 3:10
    • ἀνακαινόω looks a bit like καινός in which case both words are being used together making their distinction rather less clear. Anyway I am meddling in matters I don’t really understand. Anyone else know if these words νέος and καινός are significantly different? Not that it matters that much I suppose.
    • Is a world full of pain and suffering the only way for God to bring into being a new heavens and new earth populated but those who freely choose him?

  • Perhaps we do not have all the data.
    “you came from the Lord Adam and Lady Eve, and that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.” Aslan in C S Lewis. Prince Caspian. The Return to Narnia.

  • Is evolution stochastic or will is always arrive at the same place if you run it again? Ie Will you always get us? Stephen J Gould said “no”. Simon Conway Morris “Life’s solutions: Inevitable humans in a lonely universe” says “yes”.
  • Evidence of convergence is seen in that marsupials and placental animals which evolved independently ended up looking pretty similar.
  • Denis : There are good biological reasons why human evolution has pretty much stopped
    • for example says we are one global interbreeding village. Plus from this article:
    • 1) most people’s genes make it to the next generation. Few do not pass on their genes.
    • 2) human populations are being continual mixed which blocks evolutionary change
    • It is suggested that advances in genetic engineering will drive future changes. ie Artificial evolution.
    • Interestingly enough:
      “We are punier and smaller-brained compared with our ancestors only a few millennia ago.” Stringer
    • This article says evolution has not stopped. Just give it time to adapt to the massive technical and social changes humans have undergone in the last few decades, and add in a few natural disasters.
    • Another helpful discussion:

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