rom the child who asks, “Where did I come from?” to the adult who ponders the meaning of it all, everyone is interested in the question of origins. Are we really created in God’s image, as the Bible teaches, or are we highly evolved animals that have developed the capacity for rational thought and self-awareness? This important question goes to the heart of all religious thought and practice, including atheistic religions.
Because certain scientific findings seem difficult to interpret in harmony with the Bible, the Seventh-day Adventist Church established the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI) to study issues relating to origins. First established at Andrews University in 1958, the institute is now located on the campus of Loma Linda University, with branch offices in Europe, South America, and Asia. The staff includes five scientists and two support personnel in Loma Linda and five scientists in various other countries.
Mission of the GRI
The mission of the GRI includes both discovery and communication. Staff members engage in discovery through original research, reading current scientific literature, and participating in meetings with other scholars. Communication is accomplished through our Web site and publications, seminars and field conferences, and regular contact with educators, students, and church leaders. Through these means the institute endeavors to keep the church informed about current issues in creation and science and their significance.
GRI Communication Activities
During the past quinquennium personnel from the Geoscience Research Institute were active in 12 of the church’s 13 world divisions. Field conferences were held in North America and in Spain. Seminars and other lectures were presented in more than 30 countries, from Argentina to Canada, from France to South Africa, and from New Zealand to Korea. Members of the institute made numerous presentations to groups of teachers, and presented classroom lectures to college and university students in many parts of the world.
Timothy Standish presents a lecture that supports the biblical account of origins at India's Spicer Memorial College
The institute provides communication to the public through several outlets, including its journal, Origins; its quarterly electronic newsletter; and semiannual newsletters in Spanish (Ciencia de los Origenes) and in French (Science et Origins). The most comprehensive source of information is our Web site, www.grisda.org. The Web site provides free access to all articles published in its printed publications. It also has a section on recent news from science that relates to our faith. There you can find links to news items, arranged chronologically, including an extensive archive from previous years. A compilation of frequently asked questions provides comments on issues commonly raised in discussions about creation and science. An extensive compilation of articles about faith and science is also available, including articles by both theologians and scientists that address such topics as the biblical text, theological issues, and topics in cosmology, geology, paleontology, biology, and philosophy. Some cautions in the use of creationist materials are included as well, along with essays about incorporating faith in the teaching of various subjects.
Members of the Geoscience Research Institute are involved in research projects in the United States, Peru, Korea, Spain, and Italy. Results of research are presented at professional meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals. More than 30 professional abstracts and publications were completed during the past five years. The institute provides some support for research by other investigators, who also report their findings in scientific meetings and professional publications. Research activities help keep the staff informed on the latest developments in their fields and provide role models to show students that one can be a good scientist and a person of faith at the same time.
Creation in the Church
As we near the crisis point in the history of our world, we see increasing attention given to questions of origins. The contrast is great between the biblical record of a six-day creation and the direct creation of humans in God’s image and the widely popular story of human development from animals. This issue underlies the significance of the seventh-day Sabbath, which will become increasingly controversial, eventually forming the test of faith and loyalty to the God of creation. The Geoscience Research Institute serves to assist the church in identifying the issues and their significance as we bring the message of saving grace to the world.
To keep up with developments in this area, visit our Web site, sign up for our free electronic newsletter, and arrange invitations for members of the institute to attend meetings of church administrators, pastors, teachers, and university students. For further information, contact us at email@example.com.
This article was published June 24, 2010.