Forums

Reconciling Evolution | Part Two

We hear from some of the people putting the work of teaching evolution into practice and we hear a few stories of the hardship.


Share  
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Print
37 Comments
37 Comments
Classroom with evolution 101 on screen

We hear from some of the people putting the work of teaching evolution into practice and we hear a few stories of the hardship.

Description

Though the theory of evolution has revolutionized the biological sciences, bringing the theory into the classroom still causes some fear and trembling—from teachers, students, parents. Last fall we spent some time with a group of people who have been researching how to teach evolution better, in a way that acknowledges the emotional and religious tensions that comes into the classroom and attempts to help students understand the science of evolution while retaining—even bolstering—their faith. In this episode we hear from some of the people putting this work into practice and we hear a few stories of the hardships that are faced when evolution comes to the classroom. 

Transcript

Jim:

Welcome to Language of God. I’m Jim Stump.

Colin:

And I’m Colin Hoogerwerf.

Jim: 

On our previous episode of the podcast we focused on an issue which has been central to our mission at BioLogos, the question of when and how to teach evolution to Christian students. Over the years this has been a contentious issue, leading to denominational splits, believers losing their faith, and the inflation of a narrative depicting a bitter war between science and faith. Given this history, it’s not surprising that the topic is inflammatory for people on all sides of the debate, that these difficult conversations might open up old wounds.

Colin: 

Yeah. That’s why we’re searching for solutions which move us toward healing and understanding. And yet for some, the question of teaching evolution sounds outdated or unnecessary. Particularly for those who have not experienced conflict themselves, or haven’t been believers themselves, it is tempting to dismiss worries about the supposed dangers of teaching evolution. In the last episode we talked to a number of educators who emphasized the relevance of these questions for Christian students.

Jim: 

One worry among students, professors, and parents alike is that teaching evolution, even if taught from a Christian perspective, will cause students to lose their faith.

Colin: 

Right. But the research conducted by the Reconciling Evolution team we talked to revealed that teaching evolution doesn’t lead to a shift in religious worldview. Let’s hear from Lee Meadows again. He is one of the investigators for the team and he’s a professor in the School of Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Meadows:

You teach evolution in a culturally sensitive fashion that says to kids, your faith beliefs are really important and we’re not after those. We just want you to understand the science. You teach it that way and they do learn about evolution but they don’t give up their faith. 

Jim: 

So one key takeaway from that episode was what Lee just described — that teaching evolution in a culturally sensitive way does not affect religiosity in the students. If we can figure out how to teach it appropriately, if the question isn’t set up as a battle between science and faith, we won’t need to worry about students choosing one or the other. But we’re still left with the question: how do we teach evolution in a culturally sensitive fashion?

Part One

Colin: 

The workshop we went to in Utah invited teams of three people—a biologist, a theologian and a pastor or someone in campus ministry. In this episode, we are going to be hearing from some of them. We hope that their stories will help us sort out effective ways to show the harmonies between science and faith in the classroom. 

Jim: 

We met a group from Lipscomb University, a school in Nashville Tennessee, affiliated with the Churches of Christ.

Strahan:

Josh Strahan. I teach Bible and theology at Lipscomb University.

Lewis:  

John Lewis, and I’m a biologist at Lipscomb. I am the McLaury professor of faith and science, and an associate professor in biology.

Conway:

JP Conway, I teach part time in the Bible department at Lipscomb University, and I’m a local minister.

Jim: 

Alright, so we have a group of people here who serve in different roles, and I’m interested to hear what their experiences have been like broaching the science and faith question at Lipscomb. But first I asked what I often do to guests on the podcast: Did you experience any tension in your own lives between science and faith growing up? 

Strahan:

It can be kind of a lonely experience to try to hold these two together because you feel like you’re a bit homeless, sometimes from the church and from the larger scientific community. So, from my own experience, our kids say the Apostles Creed every morning. We homeschool and my wife is taking them through the New City Catechism, the little catechism from Tim Keller’s church. This is our daily routine. I wrote a book on the basics of Christian belief with some apologetics in there. In some ways we seem like the most homeschool-y kind of old school conservative, and yet I’m viewed with suspicion because I see science and faith as being able to go hand in hand together and that’s heartbreaking. I think we’re so intentional and we care so much about the Christian faith and the power that it has and the good news that it is and that no, there’s no other worldview. There’s no other religion that’s doing what Christianity is, it’s really good news. And yet, despite my passion and my commitment to that, still sometimes being viewed as not trustworthy. So yeah, that homeless feeling sometimes is just sad.

Colin: 

It seems to be a bit of a problem that the professors and instructors who are trying to show how science and faith can complement one another are isolated. They themselves are left without a community of support for their work. 

Jim: 

As a former professor who has dealt with these issues myself, I can identify with that kind of isolation. 

Colin: 

We’ll hear some of your story about that in a bit. First let’s hear a little bit more about how they are integrating science and faith at Lipscomb. 

Lewis:

Our Gen Ed curriculum is actually predisposed to integration. So the middle tier of our Gen Ed, where students normally take a math or science a lit a social science a history course, out of those four disciplines, two of those have to be integrated with something else. So for example, I’ve taught for several years a course that integrates science and literature, with a lot of environmental science and creation care type stuff. Then at the end of their genetic experience, they take a course called engagements, where there’s a biblical component and at least two instructors that are integrating different disciplines. So the integrated Gen Ed model has been beneficial, I think. But there’s still some siloing. I mean, by default, I don’t make it over to the building where Josh and the Bible faculty are a whole lot.

Strahan:

Yeah, but we don’t have a culture of being territorial. I think our culture is that we really want to serve the students. And so when we see a need like this, we are happy to collaborate. Maybe making the time and space is not always easy. But I think we have a good cultural environment for doing this kind of work

Lewis:

Our senior biology students take a course that we call capstone, which is basically the faith and science course for our majors. And I regularly bring in Josh or other Bible faculty to speak in areas that… I’m a wildlife biologist, I’m not a theologian, and I recognize that. When we talk about the age of the universe, I bring in a physicist. I’ve had the geologist at Wheaton Skype in when we talk about the age of the earth. Using those connections at our university, and in the broader evangelical community’s been really good and the students like that. And I don’t have to teach as many lessons if I bring in lots of guest speakers.

Conway:

On Thursdays, John leads a breakout chapel and it’s a faith and science chapel. What that does is it encourages students to think about science in the context of worship. It not only benefits the students that attend that chapel, but just when students see that chapel advertised, it signals to them science leads to worship. I think that’s an important message to be sending that when we study science, it’s one of the aspects in which we come to know God. When we come to know God, we worship God. That’s one of the big moves that John and others at the university have done to promote that.

Colin: 

I think that’s a great example of the integration model, trying to pull the academic disciplines of theology and the sciences out of their departmental nooks to talk with each other, maybe even learn from each other.

Jim: 

Yeah, that seems to be an effective way to break down misunderstandings between the two and connect professors across departmental lines for support in their work. Still, I’m curious to hear why they believe teaching evolution is so important. We talked about this some in our previous episode, but it’s worth hearing straight from the teachers themselves here.

Strahan:

For us, I think it’s about not only removing a potential stumbling block, but helping them be better witnesses in the world. So that we can bear witness to a God that is not in a kind of conflict with the scientific world. So there’s a missional component, there’s a retention component. But going back to your earlier question about all this, I think JP is right, these are our family. Not only that, but what unites us should be greater than… It should be the incarnation and the crucifixion and the resurrection. If folks like, frankly, my parents, who can’t get on board with this, aren’t welcomed at the church, then that’s a huge problem. I think it has magnified this issue to too great a position. I think American Christianity has become unrooted from what the essentials are. So I’m a passionate proponent of the rule of faith, and why it matters.

Conway:

I believe that some of what we’re experiencing culturally the last year and a half, with COVID and the response to COVID, demonstrates that when we have a gap between faith and science, it has disastrous consequences. I would not say it’s important to me for people to understand evolution. I always tell my students, I’m a pastor, I’m not teaching evolution, I’m just saying, I do not believe the early chapters of Genesis are incompatible with evolution. That’s my perspective, that’s where I’m coming from as a pastor, I’m not a scientist. But when we separate faith and science, there are disastrous consequences. If the conversation just goes on without us, what we end up happening is we have people in a room making decisions, and we’ve chosen not to be in the room. I want to be in that room because I believe that even though science is value neutral, we have seen throughout history that science is a great help to humanity, there have been times that science is a detriment to humanity. When those instances come up, boy, I’m praying there’s a person of faith in that room that believes in their very being, that we must love God and love each other. So I want to see us in the room.

Lewis:

Yeah, I’ve heard Francis Collins at various conferences, people like April, and you guys at BioLogos, among others that talk about having Christian scientists is really, really important. Because of what JP is talking about. It’s detrimental if we don’t have a voice in some of the ethical decisions that get made about science, of where boundaries are in science. We represent a large portion of the population. Having somebody who is also a Christian, who is also faithful to science is a benefit, not a hindrance.

Colin: 

It sounds like Lipscomb is creating culturally competent and interdisciplinary spaces to discuss science and faith. But its location, in the heart of the Bible Belt, is generally seen as conservative on these sorts of issues. Am I right to think they must be getting some sort of pushback on the work they’re doing? 

Jim:

I suspect you are…

Lewis:

There’s a number of my students that come and say, my high school teacher basically said, I’m not teaching this because I don’t believe it. Which is incredible to me as a scientist that a high school science teacher would shy away from the science. But that’s the reality for a lot of our students is they don’t know a whole lot about evolution, they just kind of have this general ethos that it’s negative, and that believers, true believers in Christianity don’t believe in evolution, or the big bang, or whatever scientific premise. That’s a huge barrier to overcome for us, kind of leveling everybody up to like, okay, here’s what the science actually says, here’s what Darwin actually said, here’s what he observed, here’s the conclusions he made. When most of them see that, they’re like, what are people cautioning me against? It’s just a description of a process that we observe in nature. Why were my family members so scared of this? Or why did my youth minister say things like, be careful when you go off to college? That would definitely be a barrier. I don’t know if it’s unique to the South, but it’s prevalent in the South.

Colin: 

But even amidst the pushback, there can be transformative moments when faith and science come together. 

Conway:

It was a dozen years ago, when I was still in my days as a youth minister. We were on a retreat way out in the country and a buddy of mine brought his telescope. He set it up and we could see the rings of Saturn through the telescope. There were 60 of us on the retreat, so it was a long line to look through the telescope. We’re just standing there and it was about midnight, we’re all just out there. One of the teenagers just started singing a hymn. What ended up happening is, we got in a circle, and we sang hymns as we took turns looking at the rings of Saturn. Top five worship experiences of my life, I get chills just describing it. And I said, something’s going on here. When I’m looking at the rings of Saturn, it’s as if I’ve seen the face of God. I want to know what’s happening here. I find that when I phrase it that way, everyone I know has an experience of being in nature, not everyone, but most everyone has an experience of being in nature and experiencing the presence of God. When we unite around that common experience, that alleviates a lot of the suspicion.

[musical interlude]

BioLogos:

Hi listeners! On this podcast we hear a lot of stories of young people who consider leaving the church because of the tensions they find between science and faith. It doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why we developed Integrate, a teaching resource, designed for classroom teachers and home educators. It seeks to equip the next generation of Christian leaders to be faithful, informed, and gracious voices engaging with the hard questions raised by science. To learn more just go to biologos dot org slash integrate. Alright, back to the conversation. 

Part Two

Jim: 

Another group of educators we talked to at the RecoEvo workshop hail from Messiah University, another relatively small Christian school. Once again, we met a group which featured professionals in biology, theology, and pastoral ministries. 

Choi:

My name is Mina Choi. I serve as a student ministries pastor at Messiah University.

Lindquist:

My name is Erik Lindquist. I am Department Chair of Biological Sciences and a distinguished professor of Biology and Environmental Science.

Smith:

And my name is Brian Smith, and I am professor of Hebrew Bible. And I currently chair the Department of biblical religious and philosophical studies at Messiah University.

Jim: 

I posed the question again about tensions that have been experienced to Erik Lindquist. He shared how his experience varied a lot based on the different contexts life brought him into. 

Lindquist:

My upbringing under my parents’ care was as an ELCA Lutheran, this really wasn’t an issue at all. As a child, later on, I really had a powerful conversion experience. I was not living a right life, and coming to Jesus, I switched things up, went into a more Pentecostal charismatic denomination, where I was told pretty emphatically these views of evolution and creation cannot be reconciled. So either you’re a creationist or you’re an evolutionist, and as a Christian, you may not be an evolutionist. So flip forward four years, finding myself in graduate school studying, encountering my own research and discoveries and research really brought this to a head, the animals aren’t lying to me. I’m a zoologist. I’m studying animals that have come up with very creative ways for hearing using lungs as a pathway to their sense of hearing and that it seemed to be a very direct connection to evolutionary biology. I remember sitting on the lower steps of my home kind of crying out to God, help me make sense of all of this because you’re a God of the truth. And we cannot fear truth. So there has to be a path. 

Jim: 

Erik did find a path, in part thanks to his doctoral committee which had him TA for an evolutionary biology course. 

Erik: 

I praise God that I was thrown into that, and came under the tutelage of some really phenomenal professors at the Ohio State University. They knew I was a Christian, that didn’t bother them. They weren’t antagonistic, they were caring people. I also had a really fabulous campus minister, mentor in the Assembly of God, that did not adhere to a young earth creationist view. It kind of gave me the freedom to really explore these and have conversations. I became fascinated with revealing the fingerprints of God in creation through this process of natural selection, and sexual selection, and neutral theory, and all these wonderful aspects of evolutionary biology, which I felt really free to explore. I didn’t feel threatened anymore, because I can’t fear truth, because God is a God of truth. 

Colin: 

That’s a fascinating journey. So often the narrative portrays Christians as being anti-science, but Erik was lucky enough to encounter Christians with a variety of views.

Jim: 

Yeah, but his story also emphasizes that we can’t take these types of spaces for granted, that there are students out there now who believe they have to choose between God and science. But alongside the tensions, students, when given the chance, seem to have a lot of interest in resolving the tension. 

Choi:

So during my first year, there was a chapel on the topic of faith and science. The response was unbelievable. Usually, for our evening chapel, we have very low attendance, but that particular chapel dealing with faith and science was packed. They wanted to ask these questions. To me, as a pastor, I did not perceive that as an academic sort of enthusiasm. I perceived it as a pastoral one. I had a pastor’s reaction to that whole thing. The students wanted to ask these questions in the context of a faith community. So I think my pastoral response to this whole topic, how can we listen better and at the same time direct them to the right people to explore this topic more in depth without facing this fear of losing their faith? I think that there is a tremendous fear especially from the evangelical Christians about this. Like, do I have to dismantle my biblical worldview with this whole topic with evolution? I think my role as a pastor is to hear their honest questions and their wrestling process and lead them to the experts like Erik, scientists who have dealt with this issue for decades. I think that’s my role, especially in the present context.

Smith:

Scientific inquiry is actually very much at the heart of what we would consider to be good biblical scholarship. I think there are parallel struggles within the scientific classroom, helping students think about evolution and other things very carefully and developing critical thinking skills. We do the same thing in the humanities classroom, helping students grapple with big questions. Eric talked earlier about his first semester students in biology. You are free to ask questions. This is a place for curiosity. We want to have free inquiry here. We do very much the same in Bible, I want students to ask ‘why?’ about the biblical text. Why do we have this story? Why this position? Why do the Gospels seem to have different chronologies for Jesus’ life? Why are Genesis 1 and 2 juxtaposed next to one another? These are questions that can lead us into a deeper, more authentic — I’m not a fan of that word, authentic — but a deeper, richer, more honest spirituality and faith. I think students who are more adept and not afraid of the things that Eric is getting at, are ultimately gonna be better representations of God’s love and Christ’s work in our world. That’s a place where we can actually come together to produce the kind of thing that we’re both after.

Colin:

We talked a bit last episode about why talking about faith and evolution was still a pressing need for many students. I feel like the popularity of these faith and science chapels goes to prove that point.

Jim: 

You’re probably right. And as we saw in the research on culturally competent science and faith teaching, Mina’s choice as a pastor to create space for questions can go a long way to helping students see they don’t have to choose between their Christian faith and evolution. And it’s equally important for science teachers to provide that kind of safe space.

Lindquist:

I’m a coffee drinker, which means I spend a lot of time with students over coffee talking about big questions, the questions that trouble us, that keep us up at night, the questions that concern us. How are we going to talk to our parents if they know I’m even thinking about this? Over the last 25 years of teaching students I’ve been fairly direct. I don’t really hide my view. What I do with students is have time where they realize I’m a person that had the same struggles and still continue to have big questions that need to be answered. But as a believer in Christ, I can rest on the fact that I serve a God of the truth. That takes that fear away dramatically. Some parents are seriously concerned that we’re teaching evolutionary biology at Messiah University. We actually teach all sorts of philosophical ways of approaching science. We allow students to think as they wish, but we’re going to challenge them to think deeply about a given topic. We’re not going to shy away from the science and the evidences that are out there. But when the day is done, it’s got to be their faith they own and it has to be the science, the scientists that they want to become. I’ve really enjoyed my career. I’ve enjoyed getting to know students. But the way that we’re doing this successfully, I believe, is that we are really loving in a pastoral way on our students. Even as a biologist, I really believe my calling to them is very pastoral.

Jim: 

What I think Erik is suggesting here is that knowing devoted Christians who are themselves scientists can help students embrace and explore the questions in that territory, rather than pushing those questions down or trying to dismiss them with easy answers. 

Colin: 

Exactly. And what I like about his approach is that he sees his job as helping teach students how to think, rather than simply telling them what to think. That way students can see all the options out there without facing a crude choice between their faith or evolutionary science.

Jim: 

So we’ve heard a couple of success stories now, but we know that all too often this is not the case. Students don’t always have the space to ask questions and explore different answers from a faith based perspective. And faculty aren’t always supported in this either.

Colin: 

There was someone else we spoke to at the RecoEvo conference — Sarah Tolsma. She’s a biology professor at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. 

Jim: 

One of her books, in particular, ruffled some feathers in her evangelical community. 

Tolsma:

So the the idea for the book was not mine. It was my co-author’s, Jason Leaf. He’s a practical theologian who specializes in youth ministry. Jason and I had done some work together in editing for a journal. He came to my office and said, how would you like to co-author a book with me? I said, scientists don’t write books, we write papers. He said, well, you wrote a thesis, that’s kind of like a book.

Colin: 

Well, they wrote the book, and as often happens, the publishers went around and around on the title of the book and eventually Sara and Jason, mostly just to get it over with, agreed to the publisher’s title: Jesus Loves You and Evolution Is True: Why Youth Ministry Needs Science.

Tolsma:

Most of the people who had a problem with the book didn’t read farther than the title, didn’t know us, didn’t have that relationship with us. So they instantly assumed that. I don’t think they read the first part of the title. They didn’t read the Jesus loves you part, they only read the second part. Then there were some people who had some issues with the theological part, the part that Jason wrote, which suggests that Jesus was part of God’s plan from the beginning, not plan B, because humans sinned. Constituents of the college got upset, and donors got upset, and board members got upset. Then they contact administrators who then have to deal with the fallout. 

Jim: 

It didn’t help that there was some administrative turnover at the time and some people just didn’t think it was going to be a big deal and were surprised at the reaction. 

Tolsma:

I don’t know all that went on behind the scenes. But the administrators that were left with the problem, my president, the new VPA, I’m sure they did a lot of work, calming the waters, and I’m grateful for that. I had extensive conversations with them and with the vice president for advancement. There was a lot of discussion about academic freedom, and what kinds of things we needed to run by them before we could publish. It took a while, I would say, to come to an agreement and maybe a place of trust again on that. I was tenured, so it was a little bit easier for me. Jason wasn’t, he is now, so that says something. But I think his 10 year process was rougher because of the book. It’s mostly calmed down. I’m a little bruised, honestly. I have really deep roots in my institution. I was a student there, my parents went there, my siblings went there, my kids went there. I have cousins, uncles… I just really feel like I’ve invested a lot. And to have people think that I somehow was trying to undermine this institution I dedicated so many years to, hurt. So I still bear some bruises. That’s not gone, probably won’t be for a while.

Colin: 

All this sounds pretty familiar, from some of your story. You’ve alluded to bits and pieces of it on previous episodes. Are you ready to give the tell-all?

Jim: 

Probably not “tell-all” but I’ll tell some. I taught philosophy at a conversative Christian college in Indiana for more than 15 years. I had attended there myself as an undergraduate, and my parents both attended there, cousins, aunts, and uncles — deep roots like the situation Sara described. There are even a couple of buildings on campus named after my ancestors. 

Colin: 

So you weren’t coming in from the outside and stirring up trouble.

Jim: 

No, I was very much an insider. 

Colin: 

So what happened?

Jim: 

Well I taught a freshman level course for all students called Logic and Critical Thinking. It was about learning how to reason, how arguments (in the logical sense) work, and so on. I’d choose a different topic, about which there is some debate, as a way of teaching critical thinking more concretely instead of just in the abstract. I’d use the topics of immigration and climate change, and finally decided that I wanted to use creation and evolution for the course.

Colin: 

Why did you do that?

Jim: 

I was getting tired of hearing from former students who had grown up in the church, gone through Christian college, and then left their faith when they got out on their own in the world. For many of them, science was an important component of that, because they couldn’t reconcile their faith with what seemed pretty obvious out in the real world, that evolution happened. I thought it would be helpful to think through this issue in the safe environment of the Christian college. So I went to the administration and asked if that would be OK. And I got a “yes”, saying let’s do this. So I didn’t advocate for evolution, it was a critical thinking class, afterall, but we used a book that went through arguments for and against the various positions.

Colin: 

You talked a little bit about that in our episode with Dan Kuebler, because he was the author of the book.

Jim: 

Oh that’s right.

Colin: 

And that was enough to get you in trouble?

Jim: 

Not right away. I did it for several semesters in a row. And then I also started working for BioLogos part time — also with the full approval of the college administration. But then some of the broader community — parents and pastors — started getting wind that a faculty member at their college accepts evolution. I certainly wasn’t the only one, but the fact that I was public about it made me the center of the concern. A long process started of trying to have dialogue between faculty members and pastors about the topic, but pretty clearly their minds were already made up.

Colin: 

How so?

Jim: 

For instance, for one of these meetings, the president of the college asked me to put together some reading on the topic that would help to give an overview of the various positions and even some history of the church’s conversation on origins. I actually pointed to the really great series by Ted Davis that’s on our website called Science and the Bible. At the meeting then, the question was asked whether people had read this, and one of the pastors responded, “I don’t need to read that; I’ve read the Bible.”

Colin:

Wow. So that was the level of conversation you had?

Jim: 

Yes, and these were the people who were going to make policy about what could and couldn’t be taught at the college. When it was all said and done, the documents faculty have to sign onto each year were changed so that we couldn’t advocate for positions that were contrary to the doctrinal position of the supporting denomination, which denied human evolution; and we we couldn’t publish scholarship that went against that, and we couldn’t have positions with organizations that went against that.

Colin: 

So BioLogos was out.

Jim: 

Yes, and I think the desired outcome was that I would quit my position with BioLogos, and go back to teach philosophy and logic and critical thinking on different topics.

Colin: 

Well I think we can all guess how that turned out. 

Jim: 

Right. I really liked my work with BioLogos, and thought it was really important. So I made the difficult decision to leave my tenure-track position. And thankfully BioLogos wanted me. I know lots of other people who have gone through similar situations who didn’t have a place like BioLogos to go to. So I count myself one of the fortunate ones who have had to go through stuff like this.

Colin: 

It seems like it’s not just students who are having problems with evolution, but also administrators, faculty, and donors. 

Jim: 

And pastors, and board members. And I recognize that this is difficult. I support the American system of higher education that gives a lot of freedom in what colleges can teach. But there has to come a point where we think it’s important to teach kids the truth and model for them how it is consistent with our faith.

Colin: 

Luckily, we have resources for that. I’d encourage anyone listening who would like materials on teaching evolutionary science from a Christian perspective to check out the BioLogos Integrate series. We’ll be sure to link to that in the shownotes.

Jim: 

And also look at the Reconciling Evolution website. Jamie Jensen and her team are doing really good, important work, and I’m hopeful it will help many more students understand that they don’t have to choose between the science of evolution and their Christian faith. Let’s give her the last word.

Jensen: 

I believe that religion, that our belief in a god, is really important for the health of society. I don’t want to see the evolution acceptance be at the expense of the faith of America, I don’t see that as being a good trade off. And it doesn’t have to be. I think that providing people with the tools, even people who are not religious, providing them with the tools to welcome religious people into their classrooms, make them feel comfortable and help them learn the science, I think is key to getting scientific literacy up, but also to preserving the faith of our country.

Credits

Language of God is produced by BioLogos. It has been funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, the Fetzer Institute and by individual donors who contribute to BioLogos. Language of God is produced and mixed by Colin Hoogerwerf. That’s me. Nate Mulder is our assistant producer. Our theme song is by Breakmaster Cylinder. 

BioLogos offices are located in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the Grand River watershed. If you have questions or want to join in a conversation about this episode find a link in the show notes for the BioLogos forum or visit our website, biologos.org, where you  will find articles, videos and other resources on faith and science. Thanks for listening. 


Featured guests

jamie jensen

Jamie Jensen

Jamie Jensen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Brigham Young University. She specializes in the development and assessment of undergraduate biology curricula that employ evidenced-based pedagogical strategies to increase student scientific reasoning skills and deep conceptual understanding.

Erik Lindquist

Erik Lindquist

Erik Lindquist is Professor of Biology and Environmental Sciences and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Messiah University.

Lee Meadows headshot

Lee Meadows

Lee Meadows is a Professor of science education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A teacher at heart, he has taught high school chemistry, physics, and physical science and college chemistry, general teaching methods, and science methods. He has written and spoken across his career on the teaching of evolution in the Deep South and is the author of The Missing Link: An Inquiry Based Approach for Teaching Evolution to All Students. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where he is a member of City Church Midtown, a Presbyterian church start-up.
josh strahan headshot

Josh Strahan

Josh Strahan teaches courses in Freshman Bible and New Testament at Lipscomb University. He received his bachelor’s degree in Bible from Lipscomb in 2004, his Master of Divinity degree from Abilene Christian University in 2008, and his Ph.D. in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2011.

John Lewis headshot

John Lewis

John Lewis is associate professor of Biology at Lipscomb University. He received his bachelor of science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Tennessee Technological University, his master of science in Wildlife Science from Auburn University, and his PhD at Texas A&M – Kingsville where he focused on factors influencing antler size in white-tailed deer.

jp Conway headshot

JP Conway

JP Conway studied at Abilene Christian University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Fuller Theological Seminary. He preaches at Acklen Avenue Church of Christ and serves as Affiliate Faculty at Lipscomb University.

Mina Choi

Mina Choi is Student Ministries Pastor at Messiah University. She earned her Master of Music from Yale, Master of Divinity from Princeton, and Doctorate of Musical Arts from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Brian smith headshot

Brian Smith

Brian Smith is Chair of the Department of Biblical, Religious and Philosophical Studies and Professor of Hebrew Bible at Messiah University.

Sarah Tolsma headshot

Sara Tolsma

Sarah Tolsma is Professor of Biology at Northwestern College. She earned her B.A. from Northwestern College and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Tolsma co-authored a book with Dr. Jason Lief on the importance of conversations of science and faith, particularly for young people.


37 posts about this topic

Join the conversation on the BioLogos forum

At BioLogos, “gracious dialogue” means demonstrating the grace of Christ as we dialogue together about the tough issues of science and faith.

Join the Conversation