Then a Miracle Occurs!: Harmonizing the Disparate Realms of Science and Religion

Speaker: Categories: Jul 10, 2004


[56min, 39sec / 48min, 2 sec]


Without doubt each reader of this announcement has had to address the tension of how to harmonize Scripture (at least in the way it was taught in years passed) with the world of scientific inquiry and conclusions. This tension, for some, has proven too stressful and, rather than continuing to seek answers, these persons have chosen to separate themselves from Adventism entirely. Some of those who have made such a separation may be family or very close friends of Forum members.

To begin to seek some means for reconciling these differences, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has convened or scheduled three most unusual meetings where scientists and theologians have been invited to share their views, to talk with one another, to dialog, and, hopefully, to become better acquainted with the evidence from the other camp. The last of these sessions,International Faith and Science Conference 2004, is scheduled for August 20-26 at Glacier View.

In some ways the July SDAF presentation will serve as a mini-conference with spokespersons from both the theological and scientific disciplines to comment on a number of the issues confronting Adventism at this point in history. If you'd like to do a little research in advance, take a look at the most recent issue of Spectrum in which Drs. Bull and Guy co-author an article dealing with this challenge. A reprint of that article, by the way, will be provided as a handout at the July meeting.

Dr. Brian Bull has provided the following as an introduction to the topic:

"How should we read the first 11 chapters of Genesis? The traditional SDA approach has been to read them as an explanation of how the things came to be-as a scientific-factual account of origins. This approach has caused great difficulty in harmonizing science and religion. The scientific evidence in favor of the standard SDA explanation is minimal. The evidence that the world is more than a few thousand years old and that life has existed on it for a long, long time is very large. What are we to do?

We can:

1. Ignore the scientific evidence and hope that very soon new discoveries will overthrow presently accepted understandings of physics, paleontology, geology, astronomy, and biology.

2. Conclude that earth sciences and earth scientists are untrustworthy in certain specific areas while remaining reliable elsewhere.

3. Accept that the present conflict between the Bible and science represents a disagreement between two authorities, accept both of these authorities as trustworthy, and learn to live with the obvious disagreement for the present.

4. Reexamine the assumptions that we, as moderns, inevitably bring to the reading of the ancient biblical text.

It is this last approach that will be considered in the presentationThen a Miracle Occurs."


Brian Bull, MD., Professor of Pathology at LLU School of Medicine has been Chair of the Department of Pathology and Human Anatomy since 1973. He is the author of 200+ papers in the peer-review scientific literature. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the international hematology journalBlood Cells Molecules and Diseasesfrom 1985 to 1994. From 1994 to 2003 he was the Dean of the LLU School of Medicine. At present, in semi-retirement, he runs a small biomedical research group and writes an occasional scientific paper. He now has more time to play tennis and to think and write about enigmas at the interface between science and religion.

Fritz Guy, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Philosophy at La Sierra University has been a member of that faculty for more than thirty years. He has made six presentations at SDAF and in May, 2000, served as the speaker and discussion leader at SDAF Retreat #3,Thinking Theologically - Does It Make a Difference?

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