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Providence to be represented at upcoming Science for Seminaries conference
Patrick Franklin believes Christians should be “eager” to engage with science.
“God made this awesome, beautiful, complex world, and He also designed our minds to comprehend it,” explains the Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Providence. “He also gave us a God-given, creative curiosity to explore it, to discover its secrets, and to contribute to the flourishing of both human beings and creation itself.”
Dr. Franklin is passionate about building bridges between the scientific community, Christian education, and churches, and will be presenting his work on the integration of scientific knowledge with theological reflection and teaching at the upcoming Science for Seminaries Faculty Enrichment Retreat in picturesque Mount Hood National Forest, about 60 miles east of Portland, Oregon.
Numerous religious leaders and seminary representatives will also be in attendance, as will NASA astrophysicist Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, who has written that a “growing sense of the magnitude of the universe and God’s creation, in space and time and also in complexity,” provided her a “much deeper appreciation for God.”
It’s an appreciation, Dr. Franklin points out, that is crucial to scientific study, as science benefits from Christian theological reflection.
“Scripture and theology form our view of the world, and our character,” he says. “Theological reflection is necessary if we are to pursue and apply scientific knowledge wisely and faithfully, in ways that honour the creator.”
And, he adds, Providence has a role to play in the process.
“Providence is committed to thoughtful and faithful integration, which honours the full integrity of Christian faith and the scientific disciplines,” he says. “We already aim to model this in our current social-scientific offerings—in psychology and sociology, for example—and aim to continue doing so as we roll out courses in the biological and health sciences next year and beyond.”
The new offerings for the 2016-17 school year will be presented in a renovated space that includes a new laboratory, a lecture theatre, and a landscaped, enclosed courtyard. It’s a facility that will allow Providence to extend its mission of teaching people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service into scientific fields.
“Providence has an important role to play in modelling the integration of science and Christian faith,” states Franklin. “We are well-respected in this area and well-positioned to be a positive influence.”
The Science for Seminaries Faculty Enrichment Retreat will take place July 18-21, 2016, and is facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) through its Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program, in consultation with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).
(Top to bottom: Dr. Patrick Franklin; Dr. Jennifer Wiseman; Mt. Hood National Forest.)
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