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Davis, Thornbury present at CCCU conference on human origins

JACKSON, Tenn.June 14, 2012 – Union University academic leaders Jimmy Davis and Gregory A. Thornbury defended the belief in a historical Adam and Eve at a national conference on science and faith sponsored by the Council on Christian Colleges and Universities.

Held at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., on June 7-8, the event, entitled the “Genesis Colloquium,” featured presentations from four university teams on various topics related to science and the book of Genesis.

Davis, the Hammons Professor of Chemistry, focused on “methodological naturalism,” a belief that assumes that natural explanations are the only requirement to explain everyday phenomena. The challenge, Davis said, comes when religions like Christianity introduce concepts such as the resurrection that naturalistic scientists can’t explain.

“Just because science has discovered something, let’s don’t say that gets rid of the essential beliefs of Christianity,” Davis said.

Thornbury, dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union, argued that everyone should be open to different interpretations about scientific evidence. He expressed skepticism at the insinuation from certain scientists that there can be only one possible reading of the book of nature.

“It cannot be the case that only theologians must be open to new interpretations and science cannot,” Thornbury said.

He further argued that while Christian tradition is flexible on the earth’s age, there is no flexibility on the historicity of Genesis 1-11. Without a historical Adam, Thornbury said, the biblical witness begins to lose credibility.

Biola University physics professor John Bloom and Union president David S. Dockery joined Davis and Thornbury in the presentation, examining the questions of human origins and how they can be interpreted in light of both scientific explorations and the Christian confessional tradition.

A future edition of Union’s new journal, “Renewing Minds,” will be devoted to the conversation about the importance of a historical Adam and Eve.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth,, 731-661-5215