I just saw this post by Brandon Withrow on the Huffington Post. It’s a nice recap of what’s been in the news regarding science and Evangelicalism in the last couple of months, but it’s the last paragraphs that I want to note.
When it comes to science, however, evangelicals still have a lot of potential theological re-imagining ahead of them.
When I consider the challenges raised by neuroscientists in reference to the nature of the human mind, I see a thousand more difficulties on the horizon. The more tests are done, the more it appears that for the human being, that seat of the mind, or the real you, is to be found in the brain. What does this say about the existence of a soul or spirit — that immaterial side, which is often understood as eternal, according to evangelicals?
Should evangelicals begin considering Christian materialism as an alternative to the soul? Some have suggested as much, though this position has yet to pick up steam (see, for example, Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul by Kevin J. Corcoran).
From my place in the mainline, perhaps these questions do not stir the pot as much as they do in the broader evangelical world. It does appear, however, that while the majority voice is very loud, there are some who are asking others to stop long enough to consider the ramifications of new ideas and discoveries rather than just dismissing them through bad science for convenience sake.
There is also the real question of boundaries. When does someone or something stop looking evangelical? Albert Mohler wants to draw his lines thick and clear with little room for deviation. Harlow tends to take the Augustinian approach usually paraphrased as, “all truth is God’s truth.”
Who gets the final say on whether evangelical theology can evolve?
It’s coming everyone. I understand that many will disagree that “there are a thousand more difficulties on the horizon.” And I am not trying to downplay the importance of evolution to our understanding of Creation and, thus, the Creator. Christian theology is based upon Creation. But the brave new world of evolutionary and material explanations of the mind, consciousness, and what it means for me to be me and you to be you is here.
Do you choose to ignore the science? Do you attempt to disprove the science? Do you say the science is without merit? Do you say that science and theology have nothing to say to each other because they “ask separate questions?” (Good luck with that one, by the way.) Do you proceed by modifying theology? What do YOU do???