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
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
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