L. James Gibson

The Geoscience Research Institute (GRI) was established in 1958 to advise the Seventh-day Adventist Church on issues relating geology and paleontology to our faith. Church leaders and scholars were becoming increasingly aware of the expanding influence of evolutionary theory, and the tension between science and Scripture over the origin of humans and their environment. These issues have implications for the meaning of the gospel, the relationship of sin and death, and the character of the Creator. The interpretations given to geological and paleontological discoveries have significance to the church and its mission.

GRI began with two scientists and a secretary, housed at what is now Andrews University. In 1980 GRI moved to Loma Linda, where it has grown to employ a staff of five scientists, two support personnel, and a part-time librarian.

Research is an important part of GRI's mission. Current staff research projects include study of fossil whales, sediments containing dinosaur eggshells, chemical trends in large bodies of granite, and DNA sequences in roundworms. GRI also sponsors research in Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Argentina. This research has produced several abstracts and papers published in professional scientific journals.

Education is also a major activity of GRI. In the past five years members of GRI have presented lectures to college and university students or teachers in many parts of the United States, and in at least 20 other countries across 11 divisions of the world church. GRI also conducted two field conferences in the western United States and published a total of 40 journal issues, using four different languages. In addition, GRI members participated in Faith and Learning Seminars, International Faith and Science Conferences, and regional Faith and Science Conferences.

A highlight of the past five years was the 2001 move into a new building made possible by the generosity of the late Alvin Ortner and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The two-story building provides about 10,500 square feet (975 square meters) of space, with eight offices, four laboratories, two meeting rooms, and a library. The building is located on the campus of Loma Linda University.

The new building provides opportunities for new educational exhibits. The new lobby houses a skeleton of a velociraptor, a deer-sized predatory dinosaur. Featured with it are dinosaur eggs believed to have come from an oviraptor, a dinosaur similar to the velociraptor in size and some features. The second-floor hallway features exhibits from four famous fossil sites. These exhibits illustrate the fine degree of preservation that is sometimes found in the fossil record. The library contains exhibits of fossils linked to the "Cambrian Explosion," as well as replicas of fossil hominid skulls, and a small collection of fish and insects from the famous Santana Formation in Brazil. More exhibits are planned as funding becomes available.

Also in 2001 two more scientists joined GRI, bringing the institute up to full staffing. Raul Esperante is a native of Spain who earned his Ph.D. at Loma Linda University. His area of specialty is vertebrate paleontology. Tim Standish is a native of Australia, but has spent most of his life in Southeast Asia and the United States. With expertise in molecular genetics, he has a Ph.D. from George Mason University. These two men join Ben Clausen (Ph.D. in nuclear physics, M.S. in geology), Antonio Cremades (Ph.D. in physical anthropology), Elaine Kennedy (Ph.D. in geology), Jacques Saubagnat (Ph.D. in paleontology), and Jim Gibson (Ph.D. in biology) at GRI. Katherine Ching (M.A.) continues as editor for publications, and Janet Williams is the administrative secretary.

GRI's Web site, www.grisda.org, received a face-lift during the past quinquennium. The Web site features articles from all published issues of Origins, plus recent articles from Geoscience Reports, Ciencia de los Origenes, and more. A special section for teachers has classroom-tested PowerPoint presentations, reviews of creationist videos, frequently asked questions, photographs for illustrations, and information about field schools for teachers. There are also smaller sections with articles in Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Please visit us when you are in Loma Linda, and feel free to contact us at our Web site, where you will also find information on issues in science and creation, and on how to donate to support research, exhibits, or other projects.

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