June 22, 2010

Geoscience Research Institute


y science teacher says that life evolved over millions of years, but my Bible says God created our world in six days. Which is right? Where can I find help in dealing with my questions about Creation and science?

Many students ask such questions, and their parents wonder where to find help. A good resource is online at www.grisda.org, the Web site of the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI).

The GRI was established to help the Seventh-day Adventist Church address tensions between materialistic science and biblical Creation. The institute employs a staff of trained scientists experienced in examining the interface between science and biblical Creation. The staff conducts original research, presents lectures to various groups, and prepares materials and media for use in schools and churches.

Here we will describe how GRI addresses some common questions, as well as the services we provide to help you deal with your own questions.

Scientific Research at GRI

Are there believers in biblical Creation who also do good scientific work?

GRI is involved in scientific research while maintaining a biblical perspective. Our scientific research has implications for such issues as the age of the earth, formation of the geologic column, and the nature of biological change.

GRI staff member Ronny Nalin (left) explains the geology of the Dolomites during a field conference in Italy.
Scientific research provides an opportunity for GRI scientists to examine the evidence and evaluate it from both scientific and biblical perspectives. This approach has led to some fascinating advances in our understanding of the past.

For example, the multiple layers of the “fossil forests” in Yellowstone National Park in the United States were once thought to be preserved right where the trees grew. This was claimed to be indisputable evidence that the world is much older than the Bible indicates. Through patient, careful scientific research over a period of some 30 years, however, a group of scientists, including some from the GRI, showed that the trees probably were transported into their current position from another location. This meant the “fossil forests” could have accumulated quickly rather than growing in place over long periods of time. A problem that appeared insurmountable was solved because some scientists examined the evidence for themselves and were looking for alternative interpretations more consistent with the data.

A note of caution is needed here. We do not expect to find easy answers to all our questions. Some questions are beyond human ability to answer. Some of the answers we currently believe will eventually be replaced, but the experience of scientific research provides a depth of understanding not otherwise obtainable.

During the past five years GRI has conducted field research projects, participated in scientific meetings, and published numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. For more information, see our Web site at http://grisda.org/about-gri/home-office-staff/.

GRI Internet Resources

What kind of electronic resources does GRI have?

Our Web site has resources on faith and science, including top-10 lists and frequently asked questions. We have an extensive collection of scholarly articles dealing with the biblical text, science and creation, and teaching faith and science.

A popular feature is the Science News, which is updated weekly. Recent reports are found in the Current News, while older reports are accessible from News Archives.

GRI publishes a monthly blog, available at grisda.wordpress.com/.

You can also interact with us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Geoscienceresearchinstitute.

GRI for Students, Teachers, and Pastors

Raúl Esperante (left) of GRI and Orlando Poma of Peruvian Union University collaborate in research in Peru.Can GRI visit my university or teachers’ or pastors’ meetings?

Yes! The GRI is active in presenting lectures and seminars at universities and meetings of teachers and pastors. During the past five years the GRI has presented lectures and conducted seminars in more than 35 countries, including at least 42 tertiary institutions and 23 teachers/pastors groups. Please contact the GRI to arrange seminars for universities or teachers/pastors meetings.

GRI for the Church

Is there scientific evidence to support the biblical record of Creation and the Flood?

The answer depends on the specific aspect under consideration. We see overwhelming evidence in nature for the presence and activity of its Creator (Rom. 1:20). This provides a sound logical foundation for accepting God’s special revelation in Scripture.

We affirm the church’s teaching of a Creation in six literal days, during which God spoke into existence the various components of the created world. This world was without violence, suffering, or death. Humans were specially and separately created in God’s image and given responsibility to care for other creatures.

We affirm that God brought a global flood to destroy the effects of violence and suffering that resulted when Adam and Eve forfeited their dominion to the enemy of God and humans.

Our affirmations rest upon Scripture, but the evidence of both design and catastrophe in the living world and rocks indicates that earth history can be properly understood only in the context of biblical revelation.