Editorial Note: This post is part of our #FaithAndScience series exploring the relationship between science and religion, and is excerpted from the author's textbook Faith, Science, & Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge, 2nd edition (Midwest Theological Forum, 2019).
Editorial Note: This post is part of our #FaithAndScience series exploring the relationship between science and religion.
The fact that nature is “red in tooth and claw,” to borrow a famous line from Tennyson, can create an apparent conflict between evolution and Divine Providence. The seemingly arbitrary death and destruction that is inherent in the evolutionary process can be hard to reconcile with a providential loving God. Even a cursory glance at the evolutionary timeline indicates that our current state has been shaped by numerous violent environmental upheavals: floods, meteor impacts, volcanic eruptions, plagues, famines, etc. In particular, the natural evils that humanity has dealt with during the past 300,000 years of our collective existence raise many difficult existential questions.
Boomer film buffs might see Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman as a kind of summative look back at the mafia culture depicted by Hollywood over the last few decades. But this film’s conclusion, in which an aged hitman attempts to make a genuine confession and find forgiveness with the aid of a priest, makes it a cautionary tale for our times.