Monday, June 9, 2014

Review (Part 5 of 8)

A continuing review of Walton's theistic evolution book...

D.  Material Existence without Functionality

According to Walton's view, God materially created the world slowly through what humans have called the evolutionary process, but it was not "functional" as being part of His "cosmic temple" until a date in time. I did not become articulately conscious of the problem of this view until my recent reading of some of Wendell Berry's work. It made me wonder if Walton had ever actually gone for a walk in the woods. 

The Psalmist says, "...the sky above proclaims His handiwork." The Apostle Paul writes, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made..." And Isaiah wrote that the seraphim said to one another, "...the whole earth is full of his glory!" It is not possible that these mighty works of our Creator God could ever materially exist without functionally glorifying Him!

This is for the most part an experiential argument from me. Having grown up in the foothills of the Appalachians - camping, hunting, fishing, and logging hundreds of miles in my boots in the woods and fields of my ancestors - I am astonished that one could imagine any form or part of this glorious creation ever being dysfunctional. But it was in reading the following short paragraph from Berry that my heart said, "YES!" and I found great support for my claim:

"The most exemplary nature is that of the topsoil. It is very Christ-like in its passivity and benevolence, and in the penetrating energy that issues out of its peaceableness. It increases by experience, by the passage of seasons over it, growth rising out of it and returning to it, not by ambition or aggressiveness. It is enriched by all things that die and enter into it. It keeps the past, not as history or as memory, but as richness, new possibility. Its fertility is always building up out of death into promise. Death is the bridge or the tunnel by which its past enters its future."
- Wendell Berry, THE ART OF THE COMMONPLACE, Part 1

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