Creation through Wisdom: Theology and the New Biology

Article excerpt

Creation through Wisdom: Theology and the New Biology. By Celia Deane-Drummond. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000. xix + 266 pp. $52.95 (cloth); $36.95 (paper).

Christian theology and the natural sciences have a centuries-long history of interaction. Frequently, church leaders have attempted to dictate public dissemination of the results of scientific exploration; fortunately, this is less common in the early twenty-first century. However, theologians today tend to explore the ethical implications of scientific and technological advances. Celia Deane-Drummond's Creation through Wisdom is an example of this legitimate concern.

The book explores the theological, and most especially biblical, concept of wisdom; the author is particularly focused on the Old Testament wisdom writings and their implications for a theology of creation. She supplements this with an exploration of the New Testament concept of the wisdom of the cross of Christ, developing a wisdom Christology and exploring the relationship between wisdom and the Holy Spirit. According to the author, such an appreciation of wisdom is necessary to "give theology a clearer voice in the debate" (p. xiv) between theology and the new biological sciences, especially biotechnology such as cloning, genetic modifications of crops, and gene therapies. Deane-Drummond is less concerned with the origins of the universe, focusing instead on the future of science and its relationship to human culture. Her particular desire is to make space for theological reflection that will aid in the effort to "generate a more socially responsible science" (p. 6). She calls for a reunification of various ways of knowing and a refusal to divorce the acquisition of information from a broader quest for beauty, truth, and goodness.

Deane-Drummond's work is impressive in its exploration of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, intertestamental literature, and the development of a wisdom theology through Eastern Orthodox thinkers such as Bulgakov and Solovyov. She is both critical and appreciative of Jurgen Moltmann's work on a theology of creation and his response to advances in the biological sciences.

The breadth of sources included in the book is one of its great strengths. …