Evolution, Sociobiology, and the Atonement

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Abstract:

This essay views Christian doctrines of the atonement in the light of evolution and sociobiology. It argues that most of the doctrines are false because they use a false premise, the historicity of Adam and the Fall. However, two doctrines are not false on those grounds: Abelard's idea that Jesus' life is an example and Athanasius' concept that the atonement changes human nature. Employing evolution's and sociobiology's concepts of the egocentric and ethnocentric nature of humanity and the synergy between genes and environments to produce a “nature,” this essay shows that these two doctrines can be amalgamated to make sense of the atonement in the late twentieth century.

Keywords: Abelard; Athanasius; atonement; evolution; human nature; sociobiology

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0591-2385.00174

Publication date: December 1, 1998

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