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“Did God Need Darwin” conference draws interest

Biola’s science departments tackles controversial topic.  |  Thecla Li / THE CHIMES

 

A number of Biola’s science departments hosted a conference called “Did God Need Darwin?” hoping to shed some light on the controversial topic of theistic evolution on March 6.

THE CONFERENCE

Theistic evolution theorizes that God guided the evolutionary process, rather than creating humanity immediately. This is a widely controversial topic among the church, as it assumes that the first three chapters of Genesis are poetic and allegorical, rather than literal. The goal of the speakers was to encourage students to make their own beliefs about the topic.

The conference, held in Sutherland Auditorium, featured four different speakers over the course of three hours. The conference attempted to cover all aspects of theistic evolution, both scientific and biblical, and point out possible problems the theory presents. The conference started with scientist and prominent advocate for intelligent design Stephen Meyer speaking to the biological and scientific facts regarding evolution and its presumed flaws. Other speakers included theologian Wayne Grudem, senior research scientist at the Biologic Institute Ann Gauger and distinguished professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology J.P. Moreland. The conference concluded with a Q&A session in which attendees could freely ask questions to the speakers.

“Our goal was to encourage students to trust that the claims of the Bible are true and can be known to be true,” Moreland said. “They don’t have to give up biblical claims just because scientists or sociologists say ‘You can’t really believe that.’”

Despite the obvious position of the speakers against theistic evolution, they wanted students to form their own beliefs on the matter.

“The impact we desired was for students to walk away recognizing that they’re under no intellectual obligation to have to believe the general theory of evolution,” Moreland said.

THE AUDIENCE RESPONDS

The event welcomed more attendees than just Biola students, as the speakers wanted to have as broad a scope as possible for the event’s audience. Many attendees were not students and had come just to hear the speakers’ views on the subject at hand. Despite this, many Biola students attended the conference, hoping to learn more about this particular topic. Several members of the audience were students of the science programs and attended to learn more about how God is present in their respective fields.

“Because it had to deal with the integration of faith and science, my professor actually cancelled lab tonight,” said David Reyes, junior physics major. “My major takeaway was God designed science so that we can further understand what he is doing in creation.”

Due to the nature of the topic, the event attracted students with non-science oriented majors as well. These students really appreciated the way that the speakers paired science and faith together to point toward God.

“I thought it was very interesting and eye-opening,” said Kaelyn Timmins, senior cinema and media arts major. “I thought it was really cool to see that there is an integration between [science and religion] and that one is not opposed to the other.”

 

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