World-class science and biblical faith
It all began with a scientist and a book. In 2006, Dr. Francis Collins, then Director of the Human Genome Project, produced what would soon become a popular and profoundly impactful book about the relationship between science and faith: The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. In it Collins recounted his own development from atheism to Christian belief, and argued that science is not in conflict with biblical faith but actually enhances faith. He presented an active, caring God who created the life forms we see today through evolutionary processes. Soon after it was published, the book earned a place on the New York Times best-seller list and stayed there for sixteen weeks. It was snatched off the shelf by thoughtful people who were eager to know more about the interface of science and faith and how this famous scientist had become a Christian.
With the book’s popularity, however, a flood of questions inundated Collins’ mail box, and the busy scientist found that he lacked the time to keep up with the correspondence. Collins decided to start a website to address the most frequently asked questions by people interested in issues of science and faith. He and a small team of students sought out the expertise of eminent Christian scientists, theologians, and philosophers as they drafted answers to a few dozen FAQs.
In November of 2007 Collins established The BioLogos Foundation as a 501c3 organization. One of the students, Syman Stevens, became the first full time employee of BioLogos in September 2008. Physicist Karl Giberson was named Executive Vice President and geneticist Darrel Falk was named Executive Director. The new not-for-profit soon started to receive grants and hire additional employees. The BioLogos website was publicly launched on April 29, 2009 with a blog post by Collins titled “BioLoguration.” Giberson oversaw the development of grants and web resources, and wrote two books including The Language of Science and Faith (co-authored with Francis Collins). Falk wrote for the blog, developed conferences for evangelical leaders and scientists, and led educational projects.
Gaining national prominence
In August of 2009, Francis Collins was appointed by President Obama to be Director of the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s medical research agency. This incredible opportunity meant that Collins had to step down from his official role at BioLogos. Yet BioLogos continued to rise in national prominence under the co-presidency of Giberson and Falk.
In December of 2009, Darrel Falk became the sole president, and the BioLogos headquarters moved to the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where Falk had taught for more than twenty years. Under Falk’s leadership, the BioLogos website continued to grow into a rich resource complete with videos, essays, and articles. The blog blossomed into thousands of posts from hundreds of authors, and readership soared into thousands of visitors a day. People wrote in to the website to describe how BioLogos impacted their lives, whether helping a young person through a faith crisis over science, or encouraging the faith of a believing scientist who couldn’t find a welcoming church home.
Reaching pastors, teachers, and students
BioLogos also began to host annual meetings in New York City that were attended by major thought leaders of contemporary Christian culture. Philip Yancy, Os Guinness, Tim Keller, Dallas Willard, NT Wright, Joel Hunter, Andy Crouch, and many others joined BioLogos leaders and scholars to explore the implications of science for evangelical Christian belief and to model Christian unity by worshipping together.
In the summer of 2010, Darrel Falk led the creation of a summer workshop called BioLogy by the Sea for middle and high school biology teachers from Christian schools. The week-long workshops, held at Point Loma Nazarene University, were repeated in 2011 and 2012. Teachers participated in labs and fieldtrips on contemporary biology topics and worshipped together with PLNU and BioLogos leaders. For many teachers, this was their first encounter with scientists who were devoted Christians and accepted the evidence for evolution.
During these years Highway Media produced a feature-length documentary, “From the Dust,” in consultation with BioLogos. Released in 2012, it tells the stories of scientists, theologians, and teachers as they wrestle with the apparent conflicts between the science of evolution and traditional interpretations of Scripture. Ultimately the film shows the hope and conviction that the BioLogos perspective of evolutionary creation is a faithful option for evangelical Christians.
In 2012 BioLogos established a new competitive granting program called Evolution and Christian Faith. With funding from the John Templeton Foundation, more than $3.6 million in grants was awarded to over three dozen individuals and teams from sixteen states and six different countries. Their projects aim to address theological and philosophical concerns commonly voiced by Christians about evolutionary creation in a way that is relevant to the church. Over three years, they plan to generate hundreds of resources, including videos, websites, articles, teaching materials, books, and seminars. Their work is already impacting the lives of students, the ministry of pastors, and the scholarly debates of academia.
Dialogues with those who disagree
Since the beginning, BioLogos has been engaged in private conversations with Christian organizations and individuals who are skeptical of evolution. Through these conversations, all parties have gained a better understanding of their differences, grown in humility, and built trust around a shared commitment to the unity of the Church. Some of the conversations are now going public: in 2012, BioLogos engaged in a dialogue with Southern Baptist leaders and began joint speaking events with Reasons to Believe.
At the end of 2012, Falk stepped down as President. Astronomer Deborah Haarsma took over the reins after 14 years teaching at Calvin College. Biologist Jeff Schloss joined her on the leadership team as Senior Scholar in a joint appointment with Westmont College. In 2013, the offices moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. BioLogos now has a growing staff and a large community of pastors, scientists, theologians, and lay people who share its vision. Since its birth in 2007, BioLogos has become a leading science and faith organization. Our enduring mission is to invite the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.