BioLogos was started by scientists who wanted to show that their Christian faith is not incompatible with the best science of today. Today we still assert that there is harmony between science and faith, but as our musically trained president has reminded us, rich harmonies are complex with counterpoints and even dissonance that we look to resolve. We don’t deny that evolutionary science raises theological questions that fall into this category.
All of us are theologians in the sense that we have views about God, and some scientists have reflected carefully and with sophistication on their theological beliefs. But we’re aware that in this age of specialization, theology is a professional discipline and we should not presume to be experts in it simply because we’re Christians, any more than we should presume to be experts in biology because we’re living things. Because of our Core Commitment to excellence, we want to engage experts in theology to help us think through some theological implications to evolutionary science. We have done some of this in the past, but in 2016 you’ll see this sort of dedicated theological discussion more frequently on the blogs.
We’re excited to introduce a Theology Fellow program for 2016: professionally trained theologians who are in broad agreement with the mission of BioLogos. They will each write a series of at least six posts during the year and interact with readers in the comments section. None of these theologians speaks for BioLogos; their words do not define “BioLogos doctrine”. Rather, we’ve engaged them to speak with us--to lead in discussion about important topics and to point us toward responsible theological answers to tough questions.
Without further ado, I’m pleased to announce the BioLogos Theology Fellows for 2016:
Oliver Crisp is professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He was born and raised in West London, England, and educated at Wimbledon School of Art; the University of Aberdeen (BD, MTh); and King's College, London (PhD). He calls his Basset hound “Watson” and his cat “Mycroft”.
I first came into contact with him through our Evolution and the Christian Faith grants program, in which he worked on a project called “Original Sin Redux: A Study in Analytic Theology.” Oliver is a leader in the Analytic Theology movement. He is one of the founders of the Journal of Analytic Theology and a series editor for Oxford Studies in Analytic Theology. He is currently overseeing a major Templeton grant at Fuller Seminary on Analytic Theology for Theological Formation.
Crisp is the author of nine books, and (co-)editor of ten other books, as well as over 80 articles and essays. His most recent publications are Deviant Calvinism: Broadening Reformed Theology (Fortress, 2014) and Jonathan Edwards Among the Theologians (Eerdmans, 2015). In his BioLogos posts, he plans to explore topics related to divine sovereignty and occasionalism, and I’ll bet Jonathan Edwards will make an appearance at some point.
Richard Middleton was born and raised in Jamaica, where he did a BTh at Jamaica Theological Seminary. He went on to an MA in Philosophy from the University of Guelph (Canada), and then his PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam. His is currently Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary (Rochester, NY) and an adjunct professor of Old Testament at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology (Kingston, Jamaica).
I first met Richard at the ASA meeting in the summer of 2014 in Canada. We discovered we have some shared denominational history, and I was excited to learn we also share a perspective on science and Christianity. He has written several books, the most recent of which are A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker Academic, 2014) and The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Brazos, 2005).
He has published articles on creation theology in the Old Testament, the problem of suffering, and the dynamics of human and divine power in biblical narratives. He expects his series of blog posts for BioLogos to be about human nature, the Fall, the Incarnation, and related topics.
I met Bethany at the same ASA meeting where I met Richard. She was giving a talk drawn from her theology PhD dissertation work at the University of Exeter on evolution and evil. Prior to Exeter, she did a masters degree in interdisciplinary studies at Regent College in Vancouver, where she had come from her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta.
Bethany is now a research coordinator in the materials department and an associate member of the faculty of theology and religion at the University of Oxford. In her spare time, she can be found walking England's woodlands, reading fantasy, horseback riding, and making jewellery that she sells to raise money for various worthy causes. She is an avid Lord of the Rings fan but doesn't much like the Inklings pub in Oxford, "The Eagle and Child."
She has written for the BioLogos blog before (most recently this helpful piece about understanding science and religion as different maps) and has published articles in Theology and Science, The Christian Century, and Perspectives in Science and Christian Belief. Look for blog posts from her related to her area of specialization, evolution and the problem of suffering, starting off next week with a piece considering one of the implications of some theodicies: an animal afterlife.
We’re excited to feature the work of these theologians and to enter into the conversations that are sure to ensue.