Project Title: The Compatible Nature of Evolution in an American Christian Systematic Theology
Student: A.J. Barnhardt ’17
Mentor: Dr. Susan Gunasti
Since the dawn of modern evolutionary thought, religion and science have been at odds with each other. Often, the conservative Christian community fights back against evolution as they think that it disproves their biblical beliefs. On the other hand, evolutionary secular materialists use evolution as disproof of a Christian God. In this paper, I argue that the popular mode of conflict between these two spheres is an incorrect avenue of discussion. This paper's argument is that based on American twentieth and twenty-first century Christian systematic theology, a better understanding of theological doctrine can be understood. In understanding how myth works within religion, what the characteristics of God are, and how God reveals itself in the world, more beneficial and comprehensive frameworks of discussion can be enacted. By revealing the issues with conflict, the incorrect assumptions of both creationism based in biblical literalism and inaccurate use of evolutionists by scientific materialists can be identified. The argument is then made that integrating science and religion as understanding different kinds of truth builds a larger intelligence base for all those who study it. The inclusion of evolution into systematic theology holds many practical implications to problems Christians run into including race, ecology, and freedom.