Science, Scripture, and the Creation Narrative
In these two brief video Conversations, John Walton emphasizes the importance of adopting the mindset of the ancient world in order to read Genesis more faithfully.
In the first clip, Walton discusses the problem of trying to integrate ancient scripture with our modern worldview. He notes that while people come to scripture thinking that they need to integrate it with the way we view the world now, it is not appropriate to read science out of the Bible or into the Bible. This makes the text say things that it never meant to an ancient audience.
In the second clip, Walton continues on the topic and points out that while modern people are inclined to think of creation in terms of material origins—as that is the way we view the rest of the world—ancient people did not think this way. Instead of being concerned about the precise methodology God used for the creation of matter, ancients were more interested in God’s role as the figure in charge of all matter.
In order to arrive at a better understanding of the text, we need to more fully consider its audience (ancient peoples who lacked scientific knowledge) and its purpose (to explain the role and significance of humans in the universe, not to provide scientific information).
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
John Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College in Illinois and an editor and writer of Old Testament comparative studies and commentaries. Throughout his research, Walton has focused his attention on comparing the culture and literature of the Bible and the ancient Near East. He has published dozens of books, articles and translations, both as writer and editor, including his latest book The Lost World of Genesis One.