It is high time to resume my blogging through John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One. I particularly valued chapter 16, which begins by emphasizing that questions about purpose and process are different sorts of questions, and that we simply do not have enough information to enable us to claim that some specific scientific model of the cosmos is or is not reconcilable with the nature of God (p.134). Walton also warns that “biblical belief does not associate God’s work only with those aspects that remain a mystery” (p.135). The specific example he then turns to is embryology, relating this scientific field to Psalm 139 (as I’ve also done on a previous occasion). Walton writes: “Psalm 139 does not require us to denounce the science of embryology…We don’t organize campaigns to force academic institutions that train meteorologists or embryologists to offer the theological alternative of God’s role. Why should our response to evolution be any different?” (pp.135-6).
This chapter also touches briefly on other passages that are sometimes felt to raise issues for Christians who might otherwise embrace the results of modern science – Genesis 2 and Romans 5 – and Walton says very little other than to suggest that these passages may “not pose as many problems as some have thought” (p.140). The chapter concludes with a repetition of its main point, namely that whether the issue is embryology or evolution, scientific explanation of the mechanism need not undermine a Christian’s affirmation of divine meaning in these processes.