Stephen Jay Gould Nonmoral Nature

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Evil in Nature and a Benevolent God The idea of the existence of evil in nature many times creates arguments between creationists and scientists concerning not only the design of nature by a creator –God, but the actual benevolence of God. In Stephen Jay Gould’s essay “Nonmoral Nature” (1984), he explores this highly controversial issue by posing the question: “If God is good and if creation reveals his goodness, why are we surrounded with pain, suffering, and apparently senseless cruelty in the animal world?” He uses the life span of the parasitic ichneumon wasp to illustrate a scientific view that the concept of evil is limited to human beings and that the world of nature is unconcerned with it. To some degree Gould may be correct in his assumption that nature is unconcerned with evil, however, a Christian view and scriptural model does provide strong argument as to how the fall of man influenced evil in nature, and how nature points directly to the benevolence of God. The Christian believes that God created the universe and its basic life forms. According to scripture, when God originally made life, He considered it “good” and perfect (Genesis 1:25). However, the Bible also shows that the perfect state God established on earth did not last long. Scripture recognizes the existence of evil and suffering in nature, and points the finger at God Himself as being responsible. Genesis chapter 3 reveals several curses God placed on the serpent, on Eve, and on nature. When Adam and Eve disobeyed their creator’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they rejected God and demonstrated they were no longer capable of living in their perfect world. They needed a place for their fallen weakened characters, and in Genesis 3:17-18, God revealed the kind of earth they would live in from then on, “Cursed is the ground…in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life…thorns and thistles it shall bring forth; and you shall eat the plants of the field.” After their fall, Adam and Eve live... ... middle of paper ... ...; Works Cited Blackford, Russel. “Stephen Jay Gould on Science and Religion.” Quadrant Magazine 2000. http://www.users.bigpond.com/russellblackford/gould.htm Bohlin, Raymond G. and Kerby J. Anderson. “The Straw God of Stephen Gould” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 35.1 1983: 42-44. Gould, Stephen Jay. “Nonmoral Nature,” 1984. Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994. 32-44. Johns, Michael. “Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life.” Rev. of Rock of Ages, by Stephen Jay Gould. Emory Report 27 Sept. 1999: 52.6. Kirby,William. “On the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God.” The Bridgewater Treatisies. Treatise VII (1835) 2.2. The Ryrie Study Bible. New American Standard Translation. New York. New American Library, 1999. Wheeler, Gerald. “The Cruelty of Nature” Origins 2.1 1975: 32-41.

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