Megan Loumagne Ulishney

Visiting Iniquity Upon the Generations

Epigenetics, Systems Biology, and Theologies of Inherited Sin

Volume 7 () / Issue 2, pp. 205-226 (22)
Published 16.11.2020

Developments in evolutionary biology expressed in the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) present new opportunities for theological engagement with biology. Emphases of the EES have the potential to transform our understanding of key realities that define creaturely life such as agency and inheritance, and this holds implications for theologies of inherited sin. This essay examines two areas of research within evolutionary biology that fit within the EES – epigenetics and systems biology. Reflecting on new information from these areas of evolutionary theory demonstrates the reality that we are constituted through networks of relationships, all the way down to the molecular level. The essay demonstrates that the effects of sin and its propagation involve every aspect of being human, including the biological. The symbiosis of nature and culture that forms us as human beings allows for an under-standing of inherited sin that sees humans as both victims and perpetrators of sin, and it embeds an understanding of human sinfulness in the context of the rest of the natural world, acknowledging the interdependence of creation.

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