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Reclaim Wisdom - Presentation Descriptions (July 20, 2019)

The following is a list of the conference talks and their associated descriptions. This information is provided to provide a better sense of the flavor of the conference. See the conference schedule for more details of the day's activities.

Plenary Sessions

Creation as a Control Belief

Dr. John R. Gilhooly - Cedarville University

Scientific practice presupposes numerous claims that are not themselves objects of scientific inquiry and, in fact, could not be. Hence, it behooves the scientist to consider his philosophy of science, i.e., what the scientist thinks science is all about, how it ought to proceed, how one should adjudicate ambiguous data, etc. Since decisions about such matters will (at least, should) largely control the scientist's professional practice, it is important to consider what one's "control beliefs" are. I discuss the nature of several crucial "decisions" in the philosophy of science and show how creation as a control belief significantly impacts the credence one ought to give to certain lines of inquiry. Lastly, I defend the notion that non-scientific rationales (including theological ones) are a sufficient basis to adjudicate between scientific theories.

The Problem of Evil

Dr. Kurt Wise - Truett McConnell University

Where suffering comes from is a philosophical challenge for Christianity that is only addressed adequately in young-age creationism. In this presentation we'll explore the problem of pain in the biological world.

Humanity as the Divine Image in Genesis 1:26-28

Dr. Peter Gentry - The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Two Accounts of Creation (Gen 1:1-2:3 and 2:4-2:25) follow the normal pattern of recursive treatment of topics in Hebrew Literature. Like the left and right speakers of a stereo system, they provide a three-dimensional full-orbed description of reality. Key to the description of humanity are the terms image and likeness. A comprehensive analysis of these terms in the context of Genesis reveals fundamental knowledge of what it means to be human: these terms describe a covenant relationship between God and humans as devoted and obedient sons and daughters, and a covenant relationship between humans and creatures as servant kings. These facts radically alter our self-understanding of human nature and ontology.

Parallel Sessions

Conservation and the Beauty of Animals in a Post-Fall World

Dr. Jeremy Blaschke - Union University

We inhabit an intricately complex and astonishingly beautiful world that consistently proclaims the glory of God. The wonders of life, from tiny caterpillars to towering sequoias, speak of God as active, creative, and above all, intimately relational. Tragically, it is possible that within a few centuries much of our treasured biodiversity will have vanished as a result of human activity. Here, I attempt to establish a uniquely Christian philosophy of environmental ethics based on the concept of Beauty and propose that the proper aim of stewarding creation as God’s image bearers is to increase the beauty of the natural world through Christ-like sacrificial love.

To accomplish this, I define Beauty as something objectively very good, and therefore something that reflects the character, values, and purposes of its very good creator. Doing so allows us to recognize that beauty is more than aesthetically pleasing physical forms, it also includes the appropriate functions of individuals within communities. Beauty becomes a marker for identifying how nature is supposed to be. Specifically, I assert that 1) God, as Trinity, is a deeply relational being and therefore creation should be brimming with interactive agents in mutually beneficial relationships, 2) God values abundance and diversity of life and therefore we should endeavor to preserve and increase biodiversity, and 3) the created purpose of animal life is to persistently speak to us of God’s character and values and therefore biodiversity serves as a vitally important witness for future generations. Diseases, parasites, invasive species, unmitigated pollution, and the misuse of pesticides oppose these principles and therefore represent truly ugly characteristics in nature—corruptions of form and/or function. As Christ-followers and image bearers our response to ugliness should be to self-sacrificially mend broken relationships, decrease suffering, preserve biodiversity, and by doing so, increase the Beauty of creation.

The Current State of the Creation Model

Paul Garner - Biblical Creation Trust

Recent decades have seen significant progress in the development of the creation model. In biology, an entirely new sub-discipline called baraminology has been established, seeking to identify the created kinds and to elucidate the changes that have taken place within those kinds since they originated. In geology, catastrophic plate tectonics has provided a global Flood model, involving the resurfacing of our planet in the span of a few months, and numerical modeling has been applied to understand changes to post-Flood climates, culminating in a single, rapid ice advance. A multidisciplinary research effort has uncovered multiple lines of evidence suggesting that radioactive decay rates were accelerated at one or more times in the earth’s past, suggesting interpretations of radiometric dating results that are consistent with a young world. Even in cosmology, one of the least well-developed fields in creationism, theories building upon Einstein’s equations of relativity have been advanced to explain how light reached the earth from distant galaxies in a short time frame. Much work remains to be done to test, refine and apply these theories, but the scientific fruitfulness of creationist model-building efforts is an encouragement that progress will be made in addressing the hard problems that remain and those that arise in the future.

God's revelation in Creation

Dr. James Bjornstad - Recipient Distinguished scholar, lecturer award Thomas F. Staley Foundation

How do we see God and His role in the universe in light of creation? How does this affect our witness in a post-Christian culture?

Creation and Hermeneutics

Dr. W. Gary Phillips - Signal Mountain Bible Church

With so many differing interpretations of Genesis 1-2 within the church among people who affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, how do we navigate the interpretive landscape to decide who has the correct view? What hermeneutical principles apply? And who decides when the "experts" disagree? We will explore the idea of the 'perspicuity' (clarity) of Scripture, and how that teaching affects our interpretation of Genesis 1-2, our interpretation of Genesis 1-11, our interpretation of Genesis 1-50, as well as our interpretation of all of Scripture. The goal of this session is to bring some clarity to 'clarity.'

Creation and Genetic Editing

Dr. Heather Kuruvilla - Cedarville University

After God created the heavens and the earth, He looked at everything He had made, and said that it was good. When we look at living things, we can see evidence of this "good" design down to the molecular level. We can also see evidence of the Fall and the ensuing curse, resulting in mutations which continue to occur and corrupt the molecular systems God set in place at Creation.

God's command to steward creation did not end with the Fall. As caretakers of creation, we continue to wrestle with how best to preserve, and even restore creation. As gene editing technology continues to be perfected, our ability to reverse disease, food shortages, and perhaps even extinctions, is becoming reality. However, the question of how far we should take this technology is one that scientists and citizens share. The answers that we, as humans, come up with should reflect an appropriate view of Creation and our relationship to its Creator.

After Adam: Thoughts on the Integration of Biblical and Human History

Dr. Todd Wood - Core Academy of Science

During his lifetime, Leonardo da Vinci witnessed the beginning of a remarkable and ongoing expansion of knowledge about human history. As Leonardo entered middle age, Christopher Columbus brought the "New World" of the American continents to the permanent attention of western Europe, sparking the Age of Exploration. These explorations disrupted the European view of the world, as exemplified by the medieval Mappa Mundi (map of the world). The typical medieval map integrated geography with biblical history, showing the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe corresponding to the lands settled by Shem, Ham, and Japheth respectively. Leonardo produced his own Mappa Mundi in 1514, which included representations of the Americas. The discovery of whole continents inhabited with unique animals, plants, and human beings disrupted the simpler picture of the three sons of Noah peopling three continents. Early reactions mostly focused on reconciling the more complex world with a historical understanding of Genesis 1-11. These disruptions of our previous understandings continue to this day. As researchers regularly uncover evidence of previously unimagined peoples, Christians continue to revise our previous understanding of the history of humanity. More recently, some evangelical Christians have begun advocating a different approach of abandoning the long-standing quest for integration of biblical and human history in favor of a higher critical approach to the text. This movement represents a retreat from Christian scholarship, as advocates champion a theology that has nothing to say about science and therefore nothing to say about the reality in which we live. A theology that is impervious to scientific discovery is a theology that is irrelevant to our lives. In contrast, those of us who continue to seek integration and a truer understanding of human history consistent with both scientific and biblical evidence realize that our work will never be finished this side of the Kingdom of God. Instead, we may take stock of the present (provisional) status of our understanding with an eye toward future discoveries. First, we recognize that the entirety of the human fossil record is very likely post-Flood in origin, representing the resettlement of the devastated wreckage of the world as Adam knew it. Second, we find that despite many spectacular fossil discoveries, we can still distinguish human from nonhuman. There is not an unbroken line of fossils connecting humans with animals. Third, the fossil remains of these early, post-Flood humans present morphologies and genomes well outside of the range of modern people. This ancient diversity raises the question of where and how this diversity arose. Fourth, the genetics of ancient humans reveals a complex history that resists easy reconciliation with the biblical record of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Finally, we recognize that our theories are severely underdetermined by a paucity of data, as illustrated by regular discoveries of previously unknown human forms (like Homo luzonensis) and emerging evidence that theories of hominin evolution are heavily biased by fossil discovery. The future of discovery is largely impossible to predict, but we can look forward to additional hominin diversity being uncovered in the fossil record, along with further expansion of our understanding of ancient genetics. How creationists will respond to these discoveries will depend on ongoing and concentrated studies of geology, radiometric dating, the biblical record, paleontology, baraminology, and genetics. We ought to be encouraged by the present status and rededicate ourselves to further study.

Up coming events:

Reclaim Wisdom Beginning with Creation

One day creation conference

Date: July 20, 2019

Location: Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH

Registration Link:
Reclaim Wisdom Click Here

Campus Map for Conference (Updated 7/18)

Origins 2019

Annual Conference of the Creation Biology Society and the Creation Geology Society

Date: July 17-20, 2019

Location: Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH

Origins 2019 Schedule

Registration Link:
Origins 2019 Click Here

Campus Map for Conference (Updated 7/18)