Evolution has provided a new understanding of reality, with
revolutionary consequences for Christianity. In an evolutionary
perspective the incarnation involved God entering the evolving
human species to help it imitate the trinitarian altruism in whose
image it was created and counter its tendency to self-absorption.
Primarily, however, the evolutionary achievement of Jesus was to
confront and overcome death in an act of cosmic significance,
ushering humanity into the culminating stage of its evolutionary
destiny, the full sharing of God's inner life.
Previously such doctrines as original sin, the fall, sacrifice, and
atonement stemmed from viewing death as the penalty for sin and are
shown not only to have serious difficulties in themselves, but also
to emerge from a Jewish culture preoccupied with sin and sacrifice
that could not otherwise account for death. The death of Jesus on
the cross is now seen as saving humanity, not from sin, but from
individual extinction and meaninglessness. Death is now seen as a
normal process that affect all living things and the religious
doctrines connected with explaining it in humans are no longer
required or justified. Similar evolutionary implications are
explored affecting other subjects of Christian belief, including
the Church, the Eucharist, priesthood, and moral behavior.
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