John Walton’s Twisted Views on Disease and Suffering | The Institute for Creation Research
John Walton’s Twisted Views on Disease and Suffering
John Walton is an influential Old Testament theologian at Wheaton College with an unorthodox and non-literal view of Genesis.1 He is also an ardent promotor of molecules-to-man evolution and even serves on the advisory council of the theistic evolutionary organization BioLogos.2 Walton recently participated in a BioLogos video interview related to the coronavirus pandemic in which he expounded upon his view of Genesis found in his writings.3 Being true to his theological framework, Walton informed his listeners that evil and suffering, such as that manifested in the COVID-19 crisis, was all part of God’s original “good” creation.

Walton actually starts off the interview with an encouraging message about trusting God in the midst of crisis and uncertainty. However, things then degenerate quickly as Walton goes off the rails of biblical orthodoxy with his views on creation and the presence of evil in the world. Walton states, “Why is there hunger in the world, why do children suffer, why is there illness, why is there this pandemic. God created the world as it is, these are things that God and his wisdom has made the world this way.”3

The entire basis of Walton’s theology is that to properly understand Genesis, we need to interpret it through the eyes of the ancient pagan belief systems and their idolatrous practices in the near East at the time the Old Testament scriptures were written. And thanks to lots of archeology over the years, along with Walton’s interpretation of the discovered writings of ancient sources, we can now finally know what the Bible is really saying. Based on this premise, Walton tells us that the original creation events in Genesis would have been interpreted by the people at the time it was written as a functional creation, not a material one (a view that experts on near eastern archaeology disagree with Walton). Based on that understanding, the creation week in Genesis was nothing more than a mystical initiation ritual where God instantiates functional significance upon His cosmic temple—the evolved earth and its biosphere. In other words, God’s process prior to this ritual involved millions of years of evolution along with death, violence, and suffering. According to Walton, at the end of this cosmic temple ritual, God proclaimed the evolved corrupt and violent world…“good.”

But the plot thickens. Adam and Eve according to Walton were not the original ancestral human couple, but merely selected individual archetypes representing humans who evolved from apes over millions of years. Apparently, when humans had evolved enough to where God thought they were useful, then the Lord partnered with them to bring about order from the disorder of creation. In fact, the whole idea of the interplay between chaos (disorder) and order, a recurrent theme in pagan religions and philosophies, is central to Walton’s system of thinking as well. Along this line of reasoning, there is no room for the original sin of Adam and Eve as the Bible defines it, but merely the entry into the world of disorder (or more disorder if you follow Walton’s logic). And according to Walton, Satan—who deceived Eve in the garden—is defined as a “chaos creature” who has no will of his own, no morality, and is neither good or evil.

While Walton’s theological rabbit hole gets even deeper and more convoluted than this when you actually read his books, suffice it to say, his views are neither satisfying to atheists or conservative Bible-believing Christians. The fact of the matter is that the grand theory of evolution is not proven science and doesn’t need the sort of mystical nonsense put forth by people like Walton to prop it up in the church.

We do not see macro-evolution happening today nor do we find any evidence of it in the fossil record. Stephen J. Gould, one of most notable paleontologists of the modern era stated,

The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology, the evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.4

“Extreme rarity” is evolutionary lingo for “absence.” So, the absence of transitional forms remains a difficult problem within evolutionary thinking.

Nor does genetics offer any proof of evolution as Walton claims in his books. In fact, the centerpiece of theoretical human evolution, the alleged 98 to 99% human-chimp DNA similarity, has now been thoroughly debunked in the past few years as well as the so-called “chromosome 2 fusion.”5-6 And empirical molecular genetic clocks show that human mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA variations fit perfectly with a single ancestral couple (Adam and Eve) and a 6,000 year biblical timeline.7

Concerning why we have dangerous coronaviruses and pandemics, it’s not because God created all this evil and corruption as part of a “good” creation over millions of years of evolution.8 The Bible is actually quite clear on the subject, and we don’t need some ambiguous and esoteric theology to explain it. The scriptures tell us, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”9 The curse on creation and the entry of corruption and evil into the world is also clearly stated in Genesis, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.”10 And again in the New Testament, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope.”11 But there is good news as the Bible also tells us, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”12 By turning from our destructive life and placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, we can be restored in our relationship with God the Father and have eternal life.

References
1. Ham, S. 2015. The Lost World of Adam and Eve: A Response. Answers Research Journal. 8 (2015): 361-374.
2. BioLogos Advisory Council. Posted on biologos.com, accessed May 5, 2020.
3. Coronavirus & the Book of Job: A Podcast Recording with John Walton. Posted on biologos.com April 29, 2020, accessed May 5, 2020.
4. Gould, S. J. 1977. Evolution’s Erratic Pace. Natural History. 86(5): 12-16.
5. Tomkins, J.P. 2018. Separate Studies Converge on Human-Chimp DNA Dissimilarity. Acts & Facts. 47 (11).
6. Tomkins, J. 2020. Human Chromosome 2 Fusion Never Happened. Acts & Facts. 49 (5).
7. Tomkins, J. P. 2015. Genetic Clocks Verify Recent Creation. Acts & Facts. 44 (12): 9-11.
8. Johnson, J. J. S. 2011. Human Suffering: Why This Isn't the 'Best of All Possible Worlds'. Acts & Facts. 40(11): 8-10.
9. Romans 5:12.
10. Genesis 3:17-18.
11. Romans 8:20.
12. 1 Corinthians 15:22.

*Dr. Tomkins is Life Sciences Director at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in genetics from Clemson University.
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