Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was awarded a $4.2 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to continue The Creation Project, a multiyear initiative on the Christian doctrine of creation within evangelical theology.
The grant was written by and will be executed through the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding.
The initiative began with a $3.4 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust in 2016. Theme topics included Reading Genesis in an Age of Science (2016-17), Affirming the Doctrine of Creation in an Age of Science (2017-18), and Reclaiming Theological Anthropology in an Age of Science (2018-19).
The Creation Project aims to recover the grand themes of the doctrine of creation and to articulate them in a way that is faithful to revealed truth and in open and earnest dialogue with modern science.
While commending the biblical orientation of the project and the progress already made, TIU President David S. Dockery also emphasized how much work remains to be done.
"Over the past three years the Creation Project has made serious steps forward, with the biblical questions leading the way," Dockery said. "It is vital that the important strides that have been made continue forward to enhance these discussions and to encourage additional interdisciplinary research."
Beginning this summer, the new grant will initiate a second three-year cycle. New topics of inquiry include Divine Action (2019-2020), the goodness of creation (2020-2021), and theological anthropology, once more (2021-2022).
"The past three years have been especially blessed by the Lord, and, in many ways, The Creation Project has been successful beyond our hopes," Henry Center director Thomas H. McCall said. "Building on the advances made, we will now be able to deepen our inquiry and to focus on several important issues that have emerged."
The grant, which is the largest of its kind in Trinity's 122-year history, will fund five programs consisting of a research fellowship community housed on Trinity's campus, annual partnerships with churches and other seminaries, public lectures and events, an invitation-only summer conference, and articles published on Sapientia, the Henry Center's online periodical.
"The foundation's support for the Creation Project enables Trinity to deepen our engagement with important discussions on theology and science," said Jessica Chang, assistant vice president for advancement and university relations. Chang joined the Henry Center team in writing and submitting the grant proposal.
"We trust this investment will enrich both Trinity and the broader evangelical community," Chang said.
McCall and Henry Center assistant director Geoffrey Fulkerson will administer the initiative, with assistance from the center's staff and a TEDS faculty advisory committee to include Harold Netland, Richard Averbeck, Dana Harris, Joshua Jipp and Kevin Vanhoozer.
"The Templeton-funded Creation Project has enriched the TEDS faculty in numerous ways: conference participation, public lectures, significant conversations and a publication (Sapientia)," TEDS dean Graham Cole said. "Pursuing the question of what science looks like through the lens of theology has produced fresh insights which have benefited faculty and students alike."
For more information about the work of the Henry Center, go to henrycenter.tiu.edu.