Science and fallenness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


This entry offers an overview of some ways to consider the Christian doctrine of the fall in light of the conclusions of contemporary science. Commencing with a concise account of the biblical basis for this doctrine, it looks to the second creation story in Genesis and some relevant passages from the New Testament. The entry then considers some concerns that shape the theological readings of scripture which inform some Augustinian views of the fall. The following section discusses how an Augustinian view of the fall can negotiate the challenges posed by contemporary science. Next, there is a look at how scientific challenges can be negotiated by adopting an allegorical reading of the story of the fall, like the readings found in the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth. Finally, there is a brief mention of Peter Harrison’s account of the impact of the doctrine of the fall on the history of science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSt Andrews encyclopedia of theology
EditorsBrendan Wolfe
Place of PublicationOnline
PublisherUniversity of St Andrews
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2024


  • The fall
  • Science
  • Book of Genesis
  • Adam and Eve
  • Doctrine of humanity
  • Evolution
  • Original sin
  • Bible
  • Sin
  • Moral responsibility
  • Theological anthropology


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