Timothy tutors at the University of Queensland, teaching in courses devoted to the historical and philosophical engagement with science and religion. He earned a Bachelor of Arts with honours, with research focusing on the theological implications of human evolution, and has recently submitted a Masters of Philosophy thesis examining Christian views of creation and evolution. Timothy’s areas of interest include studying the history of Christian interactions with evolution and the various theological implications of evolutionary theory. He believes that a positive engagement with evolutionary theory can develop and enrich a Christian understanding of creation and the nature of human beings. Timothy is currently studying to apply for a PhD focusing on how ideas about the image of God were interpreted in the aftermath of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species.
Description: Simon Conway Morris’ approach to evolution, emphasising the phenomena of convergence, has attracted widespread attention from Christian scholars of science and religion. It is, perhaps, one of the most scientifically nuanced accounts of evolution that is able to reconcile the chance-like processes inherent in the evolutionary process to the notion of a purposeful Creator. This presentation will examine the theological implications of Conway Morris’ approach to evolution, particularly in regard to human evolution. Whereas other Christian approaches to evolution, such as those advanced by the BioLogos foundation, understand human beings to have been granted a spiritual nature through a special act of creation by God, Conway Morris’ understanding of evolution concludes that human beings developed a spiritual nature mechanistically, through the process of evolution.
This view has many implications for how we understand human beings and the rest of creation. In particular, it would appear to suggest the possibility that other species of animals could, potentially, evolve a spiritual nature. This presentation will conclude by examining this conclusion from a theological perspective. Christian theology, it will be asserted, is not opposed to the idea that non-human beings are theologically important. In the Bible, humans and animals are often treated alongside one another, receiving both blessing and judgement together. Similarly, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is not only described as an act that relates to human beings, but an act of cosmic significance. Building on the work of David Clough, this presentation will conclude that Simon Conway Morris’ approach to evolution raises important questions about spirituality that invite us to broaden our vision of the redemptive work of Jesus.