In the sixteenth proposition of John H. Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One he denies the natural-supernatural divide, allowing readers to affirm God’s involvement in creation no matter how it occurred.
Walton proposes that Genesis 1 is about function origins. He writes of Genesis 1:
“…it was intended as an account of functional origins in relation to people in the image of God coming to view the cosmos as a temple. Thought the Bible upholds the idea that God is responsible for all origins (functional, material, or otherwise), if the Bible does not offer an account of material origins we are free to consider contemporary explanations of origins on their own merits, as long as God is seen as ultimately responsible.” (p. 131)
As I said of the last proposition, Walton denies that we can separate natural from supernatural, or naturalistic processes from the work of God. So if evolutionary biology is accurate we are free to find God in it because Genesis 1 doesn’t prevent an evolutionary account of material origins.
Walton is aware of the various theological objections to evolution, but he cites the story of Job to suggest that we must be careful not to tell God that he should have done something the way we would have done it. If God chose evolution he is God. “We can only ask what Scripture requires us to defend (pp. 132-133).”
Walton alludes to Psalm 139.13 which states, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” He says we can accept this message and embryology–that natural explanation of how an embryo develops. The same is true of God’s involvement in weather and meteorology or God’s involvement in history and historiography. In other words God works through these naturalistic processes (pp. 133-135).
Walton’s only concern seems to be Genesis 2 with the idea of human evolution. Of course, this is a present concern for many evangelicals and Walton sides with those who think we must retain a historical Adam and Eve as a special work of God. But Genesis 1 remains unaffected by evolutionary theory.
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