• atemporality;
  • contingency;
  • creator;
  • evolution;
  • God;
  • human beings;
  • Ernan McMullin;
  • purpose;
  • time


This article reviews, and offers supportive reflections on, the main points of Ernan McMullin's provocative 1998 article, “Cosmic Purpose and the Contingency of Human Evolution,’’ reprinted in this issue of Zygon. In it he addresses the important science-theology issue of how the Creator's purpose and intention to assure the emergence of human beings is consonant with the radical contingency of the evolutionary process. After discussing cosmic and biological evolution and critically summarizing recent solutions to this question by Keith Ward, John Polkinghorne, Arthur Peacocke, Alvin Plantinga, and others, who presuppose in different ways that God is subject to time, McMullin compellingly argues for the traditional position, that God is unconditioned by time, and this enables God to work purposefully through contingency, randomness, and chance just as easily as through law-like regularity.