I remember first hearing about BioLogos at the AAC&U National Conference in Washington, DC in 2010. In truth, I was surprised to meet evangelical Christians at this noted academic conference, which generally featured presentations far removed—geographically and philosophically—from the pews and pulpits of our nation. BioLogos has continued to surprise me ever since.
First headed by noted and respected scientist and author Francis Collins, the group has placed itself squarely in the middle of the often-perilous intersection of faith and science. Yet, as the Proverbs teach us, “Wisdom cries out from the place where roads meet,” and BioLogos has tenaciously upheld their core tenets, and approached the emotionally-charged subjects of origins and God with the excellence of academic scholars and the devotion of conscientious, Christian people.
A few years later, at a gathering of Christian College and University faculty and administrators, Dr. Collins addressed the theological and philosophical concerns commonly voiced about evolutionary creation with a winsomeness and intellectual depth that I had never before witnessed. Many in the audience sat in shocked silence as he compared parallel slides of chimpanzee and human DNA strands, and spoke of theologically tumultuous things like “human-chimpanzee divergence” with the equanimity of a special ops pilot. The presentation was disturbing and wondrous. More surprises.
Just last year, I joined seminarians and journalists (again, this theme of surprising intersections arises) in New York City for a BioLogos-led discussion to “Celebrate Creation.” I was particularly struck by president Dr. Deborah Haarsma’s presentation, as she had us look into the depths of the night sky, in search of black holes, comets, and perhaps the fingerprints of God. Dr. Haarsma, who completed her graduate work at MIT, is the quintessential BioLogos spokesperson, with the gravitas of an Oxford don and the orthodoxy of a seminarian. Dr. Haarsma took all of us on a remarkable journey that combined astrophysics and theology, and concluded that God is at work in even the most remote regions of space.
Like many Christians, I often feel that BioLogos raises new questions as they answer others. In their short video, now viewable on the Patheos website, “Adam and Eve: Engaging the Tough Questions,” they discuss the difficulty of reading the opening passage of Genesis as a “scientific” text, and probe how to reconcile things like references to others living at the same time as Adam and Eve and the lingering belief that we all descended from a single pair of humans. Dr. Haarsma is quick to point out that BioLogos does not “have an easy answer to the issue of the historical Adam,” but that they are determined to approach scientific discovery with a reverence for the Scripture they believe will lead to new and better understandings of both the secular and the sacred.
I continue to be drawn to their openness, scholarship, worshipful approach—and willingness to stand at a crossroads where few others dare to venture, and perhaps none are as qualified. BioLogos is surprising, indeed.