An Evolutionary Adaptation of the Fall

Martin Lembke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to John Polkinghorne, the Fall is the major Christian doctrine that is the most difficult to reconcile with contemporary science. Like him, however, I believe it is vitally important, even in this regard, to try to pinpoint the extent to which taking science seriously requires us to modify traditionally held beliefs. In this paper I focus on two problematic ideas associated with the Fall: (i) the idea of a primordial human couple (Adam and Eve), and (ii) the idea that this couple was subjected to bodily death as a result of their original misdeed. I argue that, contrary to appearances, it is possible to harmonize these beliefs with contemporary science – at least if one presupposes some kind of soul-body dualism. I also try to show that this dualism, although philosophically non-fashionable nowadays, is yet to be refuted or made redundant by current evolutionary theory or neurophysiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-307
JournalNew Blackfriars
Issue number1057
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Religious Studies


  • Evolution
  • Adam and Eve
  • John Polkinghorne
  • Assumptions into Heaven
  • Cartesian Dualism


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