Philosophy | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Several recent works in theology have argued that evolutionary theory is compatible with theism. This, of course, is true: theism and evolutionary theory are indeed logically and metaphysically compatible. However, little is being demonstrated on behalf of theism when this conclusion is established. For, the logical and metaphysical compatibility of conceptual frameworks or narratives is a very low bar for attempting to analyze the world and its fundamental nature, and such compatibility tells us little about how the world really is. In this paper I focus on why Darwinian evolutionary theory, though logically and metaphysically compatible with theism, continues to present a prima facie problem for theism. I focus on the problem of evil to make this case, and specifically, a particular species of the problem of evil, viz. divine hiddenness. I begin by showing why the logical problem of evil fails in its attempts to demonstrate God does not exist based on there being evil in the world. It is indeed possible for God and evil to co-exist. However, this conclusion fails to address the serious and problematic evidentiary challenge that evil in general presents for theism, and in particular the evidentiary challenge from evil that Darwinian natural selection entails, including (but not limited to): the apparent gratuitous suffering of individual animals; the cumulative amount of death and suffering of sentient (and in some instances conscious) beings in the world; and the extinction of almost all species since the emergence of life on this planet.
Houston, John, "Why Darwin remains a problem for theism" (2020). Forum Lectures. 419.