Yes, it’s John Haught again: we haven’t seen him for a while, but I’ve been forced to read a chapter of his in yet another book on science and theology (there have been more than 10,000 books published since 1975 whose topic is “science and religion”). In this chapter (reference below), Haught shows how biological evolution is a truly wonderful gift to theology because it advances our understanding of creation and redemption, eschatology, revelation, and grace.
I call this the “theological sausage grinder,” wherein the crafty neurons of theologians transform scientific necessities into theological virtues. Here’s how Dr. Haught shows why evolution helps us understand revelation so much better. Get a load of this Sophisticated Theology™ (my emphasis on the most hilarious part):
Evolution also helps theology understand more fully what is implied in the idea of revelation. Indeed, as Catholic theologian Karl Rahner has argued, reflection on the notion of revelation already anticipates an evolving cosmos. Revelation is not fundamentally the communication of propositional information. Rather, revelation is at root the communication of God’s own being or selfhood to the world. In simpler terms, the logical structure of revelation is that the infinite seeks to give itself away unreservedly to the finite world. But the fullness of a divine infinity cannot be received instantaneously by a finite cosmos. Such a reception could only take place incrementally or gradually. A finite world could “adapt” to an infinite source of love only by a process of ongoing self-opening and self-transcendence, the external manifestation of which would appear to science as cosmic and biological evolution. “Evolution” is the name we give to the empirically available aspects of the world’s self-transcendence as it exposes itself to the divine infinity. The inner substance of what we refer to as the “epic of evolution,” therefore, is the story of God’s self-communication to the world and the world’s response.
Remember, the guy gets paid to crank out stuff like this. How can any thinking human being engage in such shallow and devious rationalization? Is there any other theologian who would defend this? More important, why is this considered important stuff (Haught is, after all, an internationally recognized authority on the topic of science and religion)?
Or maybe Haught doesn’t really believe what he writes. It’s hard to think that an intelligent person could.
Quote is from pp. 86-87 in Haught, J. 2004. Neo-Darwinism in theological perspective. Pp. 77-90 in Miller, J. B. (ed). The Epic of Evolution: Science and Religion in Dialogue. Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. (Remember that this is the proceedings of a Templeton-funded conference under the aegis of the American Association for the Advancement of Science).