What if religions––and evangelical Christianity in particular––engaged science creatively through careful biblical interpretation and the doctrine of creation? What if evangelical theologians took an open-minded approach, seeking new insights about the nature of the created order?
Many evangelical Christians view science as an opponent or a handmaiden to faith rather than an ally and interlocutor. Unfortunately, this leads some Christians to think that orthodox Christian theology––and, more specifically, the belief that the Bible is definitive and authoritative divine revelation––is fundamentally at odds with the natural sciences.
Led by Tom McCall and Richard Averbeck at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, “The Creation Project” was a three-year endeavor to encourage creative and original work on the doctrine of creation by theologians who hold to a historic evangelical doctrine of Scripture and who also value and affirm the natural sciences, partially by providing clear and public guidance on disputed and divisive topics within evangelical Christianity, and partially by stimulating a new field of study on issues related to the doctrine of creation.
It is safe to say that the doctrine of creation has suffered some neglect in evangelical circles, and the issues of conflict––whether real or perceived––remain under-addressed by the evangelical theological community.
The first goal of this project was to stimulate careful and creative scholarly work among academic and pastoral theologians as well as budding scholars and ministerial students on issues related to the doctrine of creation.
This goal was accomplished through an annual, interdisciplinary conference that was held by-invitation, and that included not only biblical scholars and theologians but also historians and philosophers of science as well as biologists, astronomers, physicists, and geologists; a scholars-in-residence program; and a student paper competition.
Evangelical Christians need a theological approach to the doctrine of creation that is both faithful to Holy Scripture and classical orthodoxy and, at the same time, humble and open to the insights of scientific inquiry and important advances in knowledge in the natural sciences.
The second goal of this project was to chance the science and theology conversation by providing clear and public guidance in an effort to increase humility and encourage open-mindedness about modern science. This goal was accomplished through public lectures and events; Sapientia, a digital periodical; and an award for pastors and churches to promote well-informed and clear public teaching.
Can evangelical Christians be faithful to Scripture and open to science? The doctrine of creation––in all its historical, theological, and scientific complexity––shows us the way.
The work of “The Creation Project” is ongoing.