Followers of the media furor about evolution and God may be forgiven for imagining that they have to choose between Darwinian theory and belief in divine providence. After all, the most vociferous current contestants in this long-running debate are either atheistic supporters of evolutionary theory or Christian supporters of the riposte position known as intelligent design.
I suggest that there is a way to avoid this false disjunction altogether. I would argue that new discoveries about the phenomenon known to evolutionary theorists as cooperation give us fresh reasons to regard evolutionary theory and classic Christian theism as entirely compatible—indeed, richly and convincingly so. To make this case, however, we first have to clear some important theological ground. Without clarity on a fundamental point, nothing can go well.
Sarah Coakley is professor of divinity at the University of Cambridge and an Anglican priest in the diocese of Ely. The first volume of her systematic theology, God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay "On the Trinity," is forthcoming.