By Amelia Krauss
Two Union professors from their respective fields of philosophy and chemistry joined other individuals from across the nation to discuss the historicity of Adam and Eve at a conference sponsored by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities early this summer.
The “Genesis Colloquium,” hosted June 7-8 at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., provided the opportunity for approximately 100 attendees to hear their peers present various scientific and theological views on human origins.
Of the four university teams that presented, Dr. Greg Thornbury, dean of the School of Theology and Missions, and Jimmy Davis, Hammons chair of pre-medical studies, represented Union and presented their perspectives on the relationship between science and faith in regard to human origins.
Dr. David S. Dockery, university president, and Dr. Gene Fant, executive vice-president for academic administration, also attended the conference.
“My central contention was that, while there were multiple possible interpretations of both the biblical and scientific origin accounts, the Christian intellectual tradition is unified on the necessity of affirming a historical Adam and Eve,” Thornbury said.
Davis’s presentation suggested that Christians cannot accept only naturalistic explanations for Biblical accounts because events such as the resurrection “are beyond the natural.”
Davis said the idea for the conference emerged after Francis Collins, a leader of the Human Genome Project and director of the National Institutes of Health, spoke at a CCCU meeting several years ago and challenged the existence of the historical Adam and Eve based on his interpretation of the human genome.
The conference provided a platform for discourse and “brought together leading institutions in the CCCU to discuss origins science,” Thornbury said.
Despite the wide variety of beliefs represented at the conference, Davis said “the audience had a great spirit of encouragement and support for each other.”
“It was a rewarding challenge for me [to present at the conference],” he said. “It allowed me to do scholarship in an area I don’t normally do scholarship in and at the same time support the statement of faith of my institution and my own personal beliefs.”
The conference allowed scholars from institutions across the nation to gather and discuss the relationship between science and faith, which Thornbury describes “in Augustinian terms: all truth is God’s truth.”