What Hath Darwin to Do with Scripture?What Hath Darwin to Do with Scripture?

A new book by biblical scholar Dr. Dru Johnson, visiting associate professor of religion at Hope College, moves beyond the either-or debate in exploring what the Bible and evolutionary science say about creation.

Instead, “What Hath Darwin to Do with Scripture? Comparing the Conceptual Worlds of the Bible and Evolution,” published by InterVarsity Press Academic in December, considers that and how — even though their ideas are sometimes in conflict — both the Bible and modern science provide intellectual frameworks for understanding human origins.

Dr. Dru Johnson“[T]hese two views about creation are designed to explain what we see and how it came to be,” Johnson writes.  Both the Bible and evolutionary science, he says, “intend to say something true about the natural history of the universe (even if one thinks the biblical authors do so poetically or analogically).”

“My goal here is to consider the parallels among Darwin’s natural selection and later conceptual developments in evolutionary science, then compare them to the conceptual world of the Bible,” he writes.  “I argue that the intellectual world of the biblical authors makes our world existentially, ethically, and physically coherent in a way that could be harmonized with many of the findings of science — depending on how one construes both enterprises.”

“What Hath Darwin to Do with Scripture” presents the topic in four sections.  After opening with discussion of the differing conceptual worlds of the Bible and evolutionary science, Johnson traces both through the connection among scarcity, cooperation and violence; the fitness of creatures to their environment; and the genealogical aims of sexual reproduction.

“The Hebrew accounts (specifically Gen. 1-2, among others) sew together the same three concerns that Darwin eventually identified as the central topics of natural selection,” he writes.

“Even if it is a grand coincidence, the overlapping concern with genealogical selection in Scripture and in Darwin’s thinking deserves some attention,” Johnson writes. “After all, both views supply stories about the beginning, middle, and future of the cosmos.”

Johnson teaches biblical literature at Hope, where he joined the faculty this past fall after previously teaching at The King’s College in New York City.  He continues to direct the Center for Hebraic Thought at The King’s College, and is an editor for the Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Biblical Criticism series and a co-host for the OnScript Podcast. 

Some recent books include “Biblical Philosophy: A Hebraic Approach to the Old and New Testaments,” (Cambridge University Press, 2021), “The Universal Story: Genesis 1-11” (Lexham Press, 2018), “Biblical Knowing: A Scriptural Epistemology of Error” (Cascade Books, 2013) and “Scripture’s Knowing: A Companion to Biblical Knowing” (Cascade Books, 2015) as well as two edited books. His publications also include numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly journals and popular magazines.

An ordained minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Johnson has been a Research Fellow at the Logos Institute of Analytical and Exegetical Theology (University of St Andrews, Scotland), the Institute for Advanced Studies—Shalem Center (Jerusalem, Israel), and a Senior Research Fellow at The Henry Center’s “Creation Project.”  He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, an M.Div. from the Covenant Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews.

“What Hath Darwin to Do with Scripture?” totals 224 pages, and is available in paperback for $24 through the Hope College Bookstore, as well as through Amazon and the publisher.