This is a response to the blog post by Lewis called Augustine and the tree of life (an ongoing back and forth between the two of us!)
I don’t think that the points made this last blog refute the points I made in my last one ‘Evolution vs Orthodox theology – the superficial conflict’. Instead of going over old ground I will let you read it and decide for yourself. I will now try a different line of thought.
Lewis states that the theory of evolution is not compatible with the ideas and theology of Augustine and therefore orthodox theology (Augustine’s theology) cannot be squared with Darwin’s theory of Evolution. Let us for a moment say that Lewis is right in his assertions about Augustine, he is after all a man of his own time and a product of scientific thought of the that time. The thing that we should focus in on is his views on scientific thought and its implications on theology. I believe the following quote by Augustine from ‘the literal interpretation of Genesis’ will show that he does not see a conflict between science and theology:
It is a laborious and difficult task for the powers of our human understanding to see clearly the meaning of the sacred writer in the matter of these six days
in matters that are obscure and far beyond our vision … we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to our own
Augustine is saying that when new information comes to light we should be willing to change our minds about our interpretation of Genesis (and our theology in general). He is in fact saying that you should square what science tells you with what scripture says! He is quite clear if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines a position then stop holding that position!