“Ask the Beasts”

You deserve better. We all do! If you are a regular here you are quite aware of my consternation and frustration about what’s happening with our environment. If my tone has been off-putting please read on. I’m excited and this should influence what you read here in the weeks ahead. We all want and deserve reasons for hope.

Although I have alluded to it before, only today have I ordered (you probably know about cash-flow, too) the latest book by one of my favorite theologians, Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ. She is the one who first turned me on to the insight that the Hebrew words for mercy and womb share the same root. She also gives the doctrinal watchdog in the Vatican headaches. Does she need any further endorsement?

The book is Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love. Although the cost for the Kindle version is half that of a hard copy, I splurged because this is a book I will want to mark up and return to often. Experience has taught me this is the best way to savor Elizabeth Johnson’s meticulous work.

Given the title, we might assume the book is about the contentious issue of Darwinism versus Creationism, science versus God. It’s not! According to a thorough and inspiring review by Julia Balamut on the Amazon.com site, Johnson only uses these issues as background for her intelligently argued and beautifully written testament to the wonder of God’s creation.

As the rigourous scholar that she is, Johnson has the utmost respect for the advances in scientific breakthroughs through the human genome project and new discoveries about cell biology.  The Fordham University professor is quite comfortable acknowledging that Darwin was right all along in his life-long study of the origins of life.

Balamut praises Johnson’s careful and respectful separation of the Genesis accounts of creation from modern science. Johnson readily admits that science convincingly demonstrates that it is scientifically unlikely that an intelligent designer spontaneously created life as we know it today.

Yet, she just as convincingly argues using the Christian Nicene creed that God in the Son and Spirit is the “Creator,” of not just humanity but of all the wonders of the natural world. As the committed woman of faith she is, Johnson uses Scripture and humankind’s persistent quest for meaning and insight to show God’s ever present hand in science and nature.

If you are looking for another heated debate about Science vs. Religion and how a scientist can’t possibly have a strong spiritual life or how a religious person can’t possibly believe something if it didn’t factually happen as written in the Bible, this isn’t the book for you. There is plenty of that in the media already.

Befitting her status as a masterful teacher, Professor Johnson implores and inspires us to strive with all our intelligence, faith, hope, and love to honor and protect God’s marvelous creation.

I cannot wait for my copy to arrive! Our earth deserves better from us. Elizabeth Johnson has shown us the Way to which our faith calls us.

I am deeply indebted to Julia Balamut for her comprehensive review and recommend it to you in its entirety [here].

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