Fraser Watts, Cambridghe, gives a talk for the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion Seminar series.
Integrations of evolutionary theory and Christian theology have often been built around the concept of progress. However, it will be argued that 'progress' is an unsatisfactory concept in both evolutionary and theological thought. Watts' proposal is that evolutionary theology does not require the concept of progress, and is better off without it. That theme is developed first in relation to human evolution and distinctiveness, where it is argued that there is no need to make the assumption that human beings are 'better than other species, just that they have distinctive capacities that were a necessary precursor to the incarnation. It is further argued that the 'Fall' is ambiguous in relation to progress, and represents a heightened capacity for both good and evil. Though Christ has often been seen as the culmination of evolution, it is suggested that an adequate evolutionary account of the work of Christ needs to be more concerned with the qualitative changes in human and cultural evolution introduced by Christ.