CRIS Hosts Lecture about Evolution, Origins and Creation

Community members and APU students and staff gathered in Foothill Community Church for the event “Gracious Dialogue in the Church about Creation and Evolution,” hosted by the Center for Research in Science (CRIS) on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The event consisted of an open conversation between Deborah Haarsma, president of BioLogos and Hugh Ross, president and founder of Reasons to Believe, about the origins of humanity and the universe through the lens of faith.

Haarsma and Ross discussed such topics as the Big Bang theory, the evolution of the species, the authority of scripture in science and the Garden of Eden during the course of the evening. One of the major concepts discussed in detail was the idea that there are two books in life representing science and faith, the book of nature and the book of scripture that describe reality. A question and answer session with audience members immediately followed the lecture. 

Both speakers affirmed that they disagree with each other on some of the major issues involving science and faith, but that they respect each other’s position.

Director of CRIS, Dr. Leslie Wickman said, “this event was different in that two scientists from prominent ‘para-church’ organizations representing differing views on biological origins shared the stage. Yet, rather than being a debate, it was a chance for useful dialogue.”

“Typically when Christians with opposing views on science and faith issues get together it’s all heat and no light…I’ve been called everything under the sun in all kinds of situations,” Ross said.

However, he said he respects Haarsma and BioLogo’s willingness to engage in gracious debate in both private and public settings. “We respect one another’s beliefs, we respect one another’s Christian walks, and that’s really how divisive issues should be dealt with,” Ross said, “let’s seek resolution and reconciliation we where can. Let’s not simply attack one another.”

In the lobby outside the main sanctuary BioLogos and Reasons to Believe each had a table where attendees could purchase books and CDs as well as get more information about each organization.

Haarsma recently became the president of BioLogos in 2013 after serving on the board and writing for the group for several years.

“Our mission is to celebrate the harmony of science and Christian faith. Our particular issue is the issue of evolutionary creation and how God used evolution to create,” Haarsma said.

She said studying science enriches the life of the average Christian by helping them understand the greatness of God.

“It helps you praise God better because you can praise God as the Creator of more things, things you didn’t even no about, so it’s exciting just to learn about what God has created so that you worship God more,” Haarsma said.

Ross, who is also a pastor at Sierra Madre Congregational Church, founded Reasons to Believe in order to reach skeptics of the faith, a group of people he felt had been marginalized by the larger church in America.

“We are essentially an evangelistic organization, so there’s a lot of apologetics we don’t touch,” Ross said, “our focus is to target apologetics that have the greatest impact on bringing adults to faith in Christ who have never been exposed to the Bible and have never been to church.”

The next CRIS event will take place on Tuesday, April 8 in the LAPC on the APU campus.

Note: This information is current for the 2017-18 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.