By Nicholas Miller (Department of Church History, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University)
Sometime back, I examined the claims of Professor John H. Walton of Wheaton College to have uncovered the “lost” world of Genesis 1. There, I examined his argument that Genesis 1 was consistent with other Ancient Near Eastern literature in only concerning itself with functional origins, not material origins.Thus, he believed that the Genesis account was silent as to when the physical stuff of the earth, plants, animals, and even humankind was actually made.
This concern with functionality, Walton claims, allows for the teachings of evolutionary biology to remain largely unaffected by the Biblical account, as there is really no conflict between the two accounts, once they are properly understood. I argued that Walton’s arguments were problematic for Adventists, who see both a functional and material story in Genesis, and who also would have significant theological problems with their Great Controversy framework if God used suffering and death to bring about His good creation.
But given the topic, it would be remiss not to say something about science. Religious scholars believe that scientists do not take the Bible and theology seriously enough, and the opposite is also true. Scientists are often frustrated by the apparent lack of willingness to listen by their theologian colleagues. No doubt we all have much to learn and improve in the skill and art of listening.