Academic journal article Theological Studies

Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil

Article excerpt

Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil. By Nicola Hoggard Creegan. New York: Oxford University, 2013. Pp. xi + 206. $55.

New findings in biology and evolutionary theory have proven to be both good and bad news for theologians wrestling with theodicy. On the good side, it has now become clear that symbiosis, cooperation, and compassion may be as deeply rooted as are competition and predation in "nature red in tooth and claw" (4). On the bad side, new understandings of how animals share with us not just the experience of pain but also the capacity for suffering vastly multiply the scope of the classic question of how a good God can permit such horror. In this splendidly interdisciplinary work, C. brings together synopses of many of the biologists and theologians currently reframing and reengaging related questions. Topics range from consideration of the theological implications of human evolution, to explorations of animal sentience, to a tour through philosophical and theological approaches to animal suffering, to epigenetics and emergence, to what a notion of "fall" might be in light of contemporary knowledge of the natural world.

C. posits a "wheat and tares" understanding of the biosphere: "nature is indeed shot through with beauty. …

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