Seminary Stewardship Alliance Conference

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30th Annual PANAAWTM Conference

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A Celebration on the Occassion of the 30th Anniversary of the
Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry

30th Anniversary Celebration

Schedule of Events - March 12, 2015

(All events are in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful)

Moderated by Dr. Su Yon Pak, Union Theological Seminary

5:30 p.m.     Welcome

6:00 p.m.     Dinner

7:15 p.m.     30th Anniversary Celebration Opening Plenary
                    Moderator: Dr. Min-Ah Cho, St. Catherine University






Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D. is Research Professor of Theology and Culture and Founding Director of The Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School. The daughter of a veteran of Korea and the stepdaughter of a veteran of World War II and Vietnam, Dr. Brock was raised in a military family. 



Jin Young Choi holds a Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christianity at Vanderbilt University. She is a Louisville Institute fellow and serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.



Jung Ha Kim is a Sociologist at Georgia State University and the Director of the Asian American Community Research Institute at CPACS. She takes her bridge-making role seriously as she straddle among the academy, the grassroots community, the non-profit organization and foundation, and the federal agency. She has published and conducted studies funded by the National Institute of Minority Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Louisville Institute, and the United Way.  



Elizabeth S. Tapia Filipina preacher, teacher, church women organizer, and a missiologist. Founding member of PANAAWTM and the Association of Women in Theology (Philippines) After finishing Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, she taught Systematic Theology and Feminist Theology at Union Theological Seminary in Cavite, Philippines.



Haruko Nawata Ward, PhD, is Associate Professor of Church History, Colombia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA. She is an Ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament/Teaching Elder of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is a historian of the Reformations period and especially its missionary impact on women in early modern Asia, as her monograph Women Religious Leaders of Japan’s Christian Century, 1549-1640, Series Women and Gender in the Early Modern World (Ashgate, 2009) shows.





PANAAWTM brings together Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian women who are interested in theology and ministry. Our goals are:

  • To facilitate the development of theologies in our own voices;
  • To provide a group in which we are able to support one another and exchange ideas;
  • To support our ministry and leadership in our churches, our educational institutions, and the larger society;
  • To increase our contribution to the development of Third World and other liberation theologies;
  • To participate actively in the feminist theological conversations in the United States and Canada.

 You can learn more about PANAAWTM at


Re-imagining the Intersection of Evolution and the Fall

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Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
March 26-28, 2015



Registration Type Sale Period* Rate
Advanced February 7 - March 25, 2015 $125.00
Onsite March 26 - 28, 2015 $175.00

*The sale period is active through 11:59 p.m. (CST) on the final date of each registration type.

Registration includes admission to all plenary and concurrent paper sessions, the opening conference reception and lunches on Friday and Saturday. While lodging is not included in the cost of registration, discounted hotel rooms are available through our conference room blocks. See the Lodging tab on this website for more details.

Student Discount

Currently enrolled graduate and undergraduate students are eligible for a $25.00 discount off the registration rate. Please enter coupon code “student” during checkout to receive this discount.

Scholarships are available for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary students who are interested in attending the conference. Please contact Shane Nichols at or 847-866-3866 for more information.

Offline Registration

If you prefer to register offline, please contact Shay Craig at or 847-866-4547 to complete your registration.

Registration Questions

If you have any additional questions regarding registration, please contact Andy Saur at



This conference will constructively grapple with difficult questions at the intersection of Christian orthodoxy and evolutionary science.

If humanity emerged from non-human primates (as genetic, biological, and archaeological evidence seems to suggest) then what are the implications for Christian theology’s traditional account of origins, including both the origin of humanity and the origin of sin? 

The integrity of the church’s witness requires that we constructively address these difficult questions. We believe that cultivating an orthodox theological imagination can enable us to engage these tensions without simply giving up on confessional orthodoxy. This conference, and the interdisciplinary team behind it, sees the church’s ancient wisdom as a model and template for how to faithfully grapple with contemporary challenges. Theological tradition is a resource in the face of such challenges, not a millstone.

We also believe resources for constructive theological imagination are carried in the liturgical heritage of the church—in the worship practices and spiritual disciplines that enact the biblical story in ways that seep into our imagination, helping us see creative ways forward through this challenge.



This conference is sponsored by The Colossian Forum with support from the BioLogos Foundation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and The Stead Center for Ethics and Values. We express our gratitude to these institutions for their investment in this important conversation.


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Speaker Bios




William Cavanaugh

William Cavanaugh is Senior Research Professor and Director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University. His degrees are from Notre Dame, Cambridge, and Duke. He has published numerous articles and five books, most recently The Myth of Religious Violence (Oxford, 2009) and Migrations of the Holy (Eerdmans, 2011). His books have been published in French, Spanish, Polish, and Norwegian.



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Celia Deane-Drummond

Celia Deane-Drummond is currently a Professor in Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Her unique appointment is concurrent between the Department of Theology in the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science. Her research interests are in the engagement of theology and natural science, including specifically ecology and evolution. Her research has consistently sought to explore theological and ethical aspects of that relationship.

Her most recent books include Future Perfect, edited with Peter Scott (Continuum, 2006; 2nd edition 2010), Ecotheology (DLT/Novalis/St Mary’s Press, 2008), Christ and Evolution (Fortress/SCM Press, 2009), Creaturely Theology, edited with David Clough (SCM Press, 2009) Religion and Ecology in the Public Sphere, edited with Heinrich Bedford-Strohm (Continuum, 2011), Animals as Religious Subjects, edited with Rebecca Artinian Kaiser and David Clough (T & T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2013), and The Wisdom of the Liminal: Human Nature, Evolution and Other Animals (Eerdmans, 2014).

Darell Falk    

Darrel Falk

Darrel Falk is a professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA since 1988 and is former president of The BioLogos Foundation from 2009-2012. He earned a doctorate in genetics from the University of Alberta and did postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Irvine before beginning his career on faculty at Syracuse University. He has given numerous talks about the relationship between science and faith, and is the author of Coming to Peace with Science.



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Joel Green

Joel Green has been associate dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies since 2008 and professor of New Testament interpretation at Fuller Seminary since 2007; prior to that, he served for ten years at Asbury Theological Seminary as professor of New Testament Interpretation, as dean of the School of Theology, and as provost. Green has 12 years of pastoral ministry experience, and is currently Teaching Pastor at La Cañada United Methodist Church. He has more than 25 years of seminary teaching experience in multiple countries. He is editor of the Journal of Theological Interpretation, and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Bulletin for Biblical Research, Theology and Science and Science & Christian Belief as well as such book series as the Two Horizons New Testament Commentary, Studies in Theological Interpretation, and Kingswood Books. Green has been elected to membership in both the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS) and the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR).




Peter Harrison

Peter Harrison was educated at the University of Queensland and Yale University. In 2011 he returned to Queensland from the University of Oxford where for a number of years he was the Idreos Professor of Science and Religion. At Oxford he was a member of the Faculties of Theology and History, a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre where he continues to hold a Senior Research Fellowship. He has published extensively in the area of cultural and intellectual history with a focus on the philosophical, scientific and religious thought of the early modern period. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford, Yale, and Princeton, is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2011 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.


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J. Richard Middleton

J. Richard Middleton (PhD Free University of Amsterdam) is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary (Rochester, NY). He also serves as adjunct professor of Theology at Roberts Wesleyan College and adjunct professor of Old Testament at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology (Kingston, Jamaica); he is past president of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association (2011-2014). He holds a B.Th. from Jamaica Theological Seminary and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Guelph (Canada). 

Middleton is the author of A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker Academic, 2014) and The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Brazos, 2005), and coauthored (with Brian Walsh) The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View (IVP, 1984) and Truth is Stranger than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age (IVP, 1995). His has published articles on the music of Bob Marley and Bruce Cockburn, creation theology in the Old Testament, the problem of suffering, and the dynamics of human and divine power in biblical creation narratives. His books have been published in Korean, French, Indonesian, Spanish, and Portuguese.


Aaron Riches

Aaron Riches received his PhD in Systematic Theology at University of Nottingham. He has also studied English Literature from York University and Philosophical Theology from University of Virginia. Along with preparing the publication of his first book, Aaron has recently published a number of articles in leading international journals such as Modern Theology, The International Journal of Systematic Theology and Nova et Vetera: The English Edition of the International Theological Journal. He is currently a Collaborator Professor at the International Academy of Philosophy in Granada.



James K.A. Smith

James K.A. Smith is a Senior Fellow of The Colossian Forum and Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he also teaches in the department of congregational & ministry studies and is a research fellow of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He previously taught at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Villanova University in Philadelphia. James has also been a visiting professor at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Regent College in Vancouver, and Trinity College at the University of Toronto. His numerous publications include Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?; Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation; Letters to a Young Calvinist and Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy. With Amos Yong he recently co-edited Science and the Spirit: Pentecostal Engagements with the Sciences.

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Brent Waters

Brent Waters is Jerre and Mary Joy Stead Professor of Christian Social Ethics and Director of the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois. Brent received his Doctor of Philosophy at University of Oxford and both his Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity at the School of Theology at Claremont. Some of Brent’s most recent publications include This Mortal Flesh: Incarnation and Bioethics; The Family in Christian Social and Political Thought; and From Human to Posthuman: Christian Theology and Technology in a Postmodern World.




Norman Wirzba

Norman Wirzba pursues research and teaching interests at the intersections of theology, philosophy, ecology, and agrarian and environmental studies. He earned both his Ph.D. and M.A. in Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, and his B.A. in History at University of Lethbridge, Alberta. Dr. Wirzba has published The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age; Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight and Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating. His most recent book is Making Peace with the Land (co-authored with Fred Bahnson). He also has edited The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry. Professor Wirzba serves as general editor for the book series Culture of the Land: A Series in the New Agrarianism, published by the University Press of Kentucky.

Plenary Abstracts

Plenary Abstracts

William Cavanaugh (Professor of Catholic Studies, DePaul University)
Political Science and the Fall: Original Sin and the State of Nature

It is not only natural science but political science that makes the Fall seem improbable. One of the central problems of medieval political theory was to explain how humans were to live together in a post-lapsarian world. Figures such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke begin with a state of nature instead of the Fall, laying the groundwork for a political system divorced from theology, where the marginalization of the church from politics accompanies the marginalization of theology from science.

Celia Deane-Drummond (Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame)
In Adam All Die? Questions at the Boundary of Niche Construction, Community Evolution and Original Sin.

It is impossible to make a literal Eden, with its portrait of a perfected and immortal humanity, cohere with modern evolutionary accounts of the earliest human origins. Niche construction theory, among other contemporary developments, suggests that Eden might instead be viewed as representative of a pre-lapsarian, collective flourishing life with God, and the Fall as a significant break in the dynamic interrelationship between the divine and human.

Darrel Falk (Professor of Biology, Point Loma Nazarene University)
Human Origins: A Summary of the Scientific Backdrop for Theological Discussion

Recent genetic and paleoanthropological analysis suggests that communities of modern humans arose in Africa about 200,000 years ago. A few thousand founding individuals migrated across the Sinai Peninsula and into the rest of the world beginning about 60,000 years ago. This evidence of communal pre-human ancestry raises important questions about (though it does not preclude) a traditional Christian understanding of monogenism and of a historic couple, Adam and Eve.

Joel Green (Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary)
“Adam, What Have You Done?” New Testament Voices on the Origins of Sin

In the period of second temple Judaism, Adam’s sin marked the downfall of all who would come after him. How this is so is not easily summarized with reference to the later, Christian notion of “original sin,” however, since Jewish theologians were careful to write of human choices and actions, volition and responsibility. A survey of New Testament era literature fails to reveal an event we might term “the fall,” though we do find related emphases on sin’s universality and practical inevitability.

Peter Harrison (Professor of History of Science, The University of Queensland, Australia)
Is Science-Religion Conflict Always a Bad thing? Some Augustinian Reflections

Conflict between science and religion is almost always perceived negatively. It is possible, however, that “good” conflict might result from a so-called “weak” eirenic position, which holds that concord between science and religion is very much a matter of historical contingency. In the case of evolutionary theory, this stance prompts us to look closely at the details of various scientific claims without undue pressure to adapt Christian thinking to all aspects of a general theory.

J. Richard Middleton (Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis, Northeastern Seminary)
Reading Genesis 3 Attentive to Human Evolution: Beyond Concordism and Non-Overlapping Magisteria

A re-reading of the narrative of Genesis 3 with awareness of hominin/human evolution might open up new avenues of doctrinal interpretation. A thick description of the text’s theological motifs, from the divergent accounts of human creation in Genesis 1 and 2 through to the effects and spread of sin, prevents our being immediately overwhelmed by the claims of contemporary science.

Aaron Riches (Professor of Theology/Ethics, International Academy of Philosophy, Granada)
From Ad Nihilum to Ex Nihilo: Evolution and the Christian Revolution

This Christological recapitulation examines three traditional doctrines: (1) the “special creation” of the human being, according to which “every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not ‘produced’ by the parents;” (2) the “personal” reality of Adam and Eve, who are the universal “first parents” of all human beings; and (3) the sense of the Fall as an “event” of history, “a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.”

James K.A. Smith (Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College)
What Stands on the Fall? A Philosophical Exploration

Does absorbing an evolutionary account of human origins necessarily preclude the continued affirmation of a “historical” Fall? This thought-project in philosophical theology lays out issues that are at stake in the historic doctrine of original sin and the received notion of an historical Fall, and explores the nature of “history” in any notion of a “historic” Fall.

Brent Waters (Professor of Bioethics/Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)
Being All We Should Have Been and More: The Fall and the Quest for Perfection

However one interprets the story of the Fall, the basic storyline is that the human condition is not as it should be and is in need of correction. One contemporary attempt to overcome the limitations endemic to the human condition holds to the belief that reason, science, and technology can be used to redirect evolution in order to create the posthuman. Posthumanism, however, substitutes nature for creation, technology for salvation, and immortality for eschatological hope, leaving one with a narrative devoid of grace and forgiveness.

Norman Wirzba (Professor of Theology/Ecology, Duke Divinity School)
From Nature to Creation: A Theological Approach to the World

A Christological narration of creation represents a profound challenge to contemporary accounts of nature as realm of unremitting struggle and competition. Theoria physice, as described by Maximus the Confessor, gives rise to a striking vision of the world as the material expression of God’s love, presupposing an ethos and an askesis in which human passions are purified so that each creature can be met and seen to be the unique gift that it is.

Concurrent Abstracts

Concurrent Abstracts

Paul Allen (Associate Professor, Dept. of Theological Studies, Concordia University, Canada)
Reforming Natural Theology: Christocentrism and Evolutionary Theological Anthropology

In this paper, I argue that the christocentric turn in contemporary theology should be more coherent with the historical enterprise of natural theology. However, natural theology needs to be further developed in order to take the reality of sin into account so that the means of our salvation and the paradoxical, created order can be understood together rather than apart. I argue that Augustine’s account of the sinful consequences of natural human predispositions can be correlated with contemporary research on the evolutionary reasons for human behaviour. Natural theology ought to reflect on the soteriological question that is built into the paradox of the human. Complementary to a theology of atonement, natural theology anticipates the sinful conditions that necessitate salvation by not only describing sin but also partly explaining its natural origins.

David Congdon (Associate Editor, IVP Academic)
Evolution, Ontology, and Love: Toward a Postmetaphysical Hamartiology and Soteriology

Ancient Christian theologians believed that the sin of the primal couple resulted in the corruption of the body and that this corruption was passed on from parent to child. The western tradition of Augustine expanded the corruption to include the soul. In this paper I argue (a) that both corruptions are theologically valid but should be kept separate, (b) that the corruption of the body should be assigned to science and the soul to theology, and (c) that an actualistic ontology can help explain both corruptions. Whereas body-soul corruption is traditionally understood as a “sin nature” that is ontologically essential to all persons and so determines in advance each person’s historical existence, an actualistic ontology understands being in terms of act. Being is always being-in-becoming. This allows for a more nuanced anthropology in both evolutionary and theological perspective. 

Ernst Conradie (Senior Professor, Dept. of Religion and Theology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa)
Eat or be Eaten: The evolutionary roots of violence?

Where have things gone wrong in the evolution of life on earth? Is there a sense in which nature too has to be redeemed, for example with reference to the violence and brutality that characterise relationships between animals? Would an emphasis on human sin as source of suffering not underestimate the problem of natural suffering? In this contribution I will explore the roots of inter-species violence with reference to the emergence of the act of eating in evolutionary history. I will draw on a corpus of literature on the consumption of food in recent Christian ecotheology in order to address the following question: Is there a way in which eating can be understood without such violence? From an eschatological perspective the Eucharistic emphasis on eating bread and drinking wine seems to suggest relatively little violence. However, can this also be sustained protologically? 

Phillip Goggans (Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Morehead State University)
Patrick McDonald (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, Seattle Pacific University)
A Moderate Classical Vision of Original Sin in Light of Human Evolution

Our current understanding of human origins does not easily square with an important Christian teaching: that human beings willfully damaged their faculties of desire, emotion, and capacities to know and love God; that they transmit the damage by generation. Evolutionary study suggests our nature, flawed or not, is simply a biological inheritance. The difficulty we have living in fellowship with God is no one’s fault. Nature did not breed us for that; she bred us to survive. Why, then, did God enlist Nature to make us, seeing that she is so indifferent to his intentions? We argue that evolutionary theory is consistent, even harmonious, with the claim that we are responsible for our wayward nature. God always loved us and embraced us, but we, in return, never fully accepted him. Our increasing cognitive capacity enabled us to know God more intimately, but we declined to do so. We did not leave a paradisal state. We did not introduce a pristine nature to concupiscence. Rather, we took a different path from what God intended for us. Our sinfulness effected flawed social structures, which then influenced adaptive genetic development. Such adaptation required accommodation to corrupted social structures and so human nature on multiple levels – biological, cultural, and possibly spiritual – was itself corrupted. 

Loren Haarsma (Associate Professor of Physics, Calvin College)
When Did Sin Begin?

Scholars have proposed several competing scenarios for harmonizing the doctrine of original sin with scientific discoveries about human origins, including: (1) Adam and Eve as recent (~10,000 years ago) representatives, not ancestors, of humanity; (2) as ancient (~200,000 years) representative-ancestors of humanity; (3) as symbolic of many acts of disobedience by many individuals over the long period. These scenarios share a central theological core affirming God’s goodness, sin as rebellion, and atonement through Christ. They disagree about some long-standing theological questions, including: How advanced were the first humans who sinned? Was a state of fully developed moral righteousness actual or potential? Was human sin unavoidable? Did disobedience damage human nature all in a single disobedient act (or pair of acts) or through accumulation of many disobedient acts? I will discuss how different preferred answers to questions such as these push scholars to favor different scenarios. 

Joshua Lee Harris (PhD Student, Institute for Christian Studies, Canada)
Augustine's Christological Understanding of Death

Many recent attempts to reconcile modern scientific data with the biblical narrative of the Fall draw a distinction between so-called “physical” death and “spiritual” death—the former being a “natural” part of God’s good created order even before the Fall, and the latter being the “wages of sin” that is unique to our post-lapsarian world. In this paper, I follow Augustine’s direction in his Homilies on the Gospel of John in order to work out the meaning of spiritual death in a specifically Christological manner. As Augustine implies, I argue, not only is “spiritual” death distinctively post-lapsarian, it is—like its counterpart, “life”—only intelligible in light of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

Matthew Hill (Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Spring Arbor University)
Free Will, Human Evolution, and the Fall: How Biological Predispositions Impact Culpability and the Church

Drawing on themes from my forthcoming book, Evolution and Holiness (IVP Academic, 2015), I will address how evolutionary constraints on an individual’s behavior impact human freedom and responsibility, especially in regards to the Fall and holiness. In other words, in light of evolutionary theory and natural selection, one cannot merely ask an individual to “be moral” or “be holy.” Instead, individuals reside in many locations on the spectrum of biological and environmental constraint. The heart of this presentation addresses the capacity in which organic and human freedom operates—from before the Fall to becoming holy—and how we can theologically understand the notion of freedom while adopting a sociobiological viewpoint. Our perspective of these issues impacts not only how we view moral culpability and the possibility of holiness, but also the role and function of ecclesial communities.

Dru Johnson (Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, The King’s College, New York City)
Knowledge, Sex, and Humanity: Genesis 2-4 as an Epistemic Argument

This paper contends that Genesis 2–4 portrays distinctly human knowers, based on the epistemological crux of those narratives. If macroevolutionary theory concerns itself with reproduction, propagation, and environmental fit, so too does the narrator of Genesis. In Genesis, however, the stories interlock sexual knowledge with human epistemology, and that emphasis has rarely been explored.  I will argue that humanity, as we experience it today, is the center of the epistemology described in Genesis and commensurate to the scientific epistemology of Michael Polanyi. The biblical account, like the scientific enterprise, presumes authoritative voices, rituals, and sexuality as constituent parts of knowing. If Genesis offers anything resembling a scientific epistemology, then it appears difficult to construe the creation as presuming anything other than irreducibly human knowers propagating. In other words, the primeval account might be just as interested in prescribing knowing as describing the sexual conditions that render humans intelligible to themselves.

Gary Keogh (Samuel Ferguson Research Associate, University of Manchester, United Kingdom)
Original Sin as the Interlocutor between The Fall and Evolutionary Theory

The issue of the fall becomes quite difficult to address in an evolutionary context. In this paper, I will argue that the more dominant asymmetrical or chronological vision of the fall (created goodness followed by evil) as expressed in an Augustinian tradition is untenable in the context of evolution. However, this is not reason to consign Augustinian theology to the dustbins of history. Rather, it is an opportunity to explore and re-evaluate traditions in light of a changing context and changing appreciation of science and nature. I argue that the Augustinian notion of a fall has strong parallels with Darwinian appreciations of human nature – an innate self-centeredness. Ultimately then, this paper seeks to view the orthodox tradition of the fall not in a kind of asymmetrical or chronological framework but as a condition which we are emerging from.

Chelsea King (ThM Student, Boston College – School of Theology and Ministry)
Paradise without Perfection: Recovering the Eastern Patristic Imagination for Theological Anthropology

In this paper, I argue that retrieving an Eastern Patristic anthropology can help Western theologians to recognize what the deeper concepts that a fall from paradise is trying to protect: divine goodness and human freedom. I argue that a fall from paradise need not imply a fall from perfection, for some Eastern theologians have maintained a strict understanding of divine goodness and human freedom, without putting forward a state of perfection. I finally conclude that a recovery of Eastern anthropology can help theology as a whole to engage in a more meaningful dialogue with the current theories of human evolution.

Denis Lamoureux (Associate Professor of Science and Religion, University of Alberta – St. Joseph’s College, Canada)
Original Sin Revisited: Is a Theological Paradigm Shift Inevitable?

This paper unfolds in three parts. First, I will examine some of the most important documents in church history dealing with the doctrine of original sin in order to feel the weight of questioning the historicity of Adam and by implication the truthfulness of this foundational doctrine. Second, biblical passages by the apostle Paul related to original sin are presented to further intensify the gravity of this problem. Finally, I will offer one approach toward a possible solution of moving beyond the historicity of Adam and the traditional doctrine of original sin. I will assume an evolutionary creationist view of human origins as well as a non-concordist hermeneutic of biblical passages dealing with the creation of the natural world. Furthermore, by embracing a biblically-based approach to natural revelation (theology), I will attempt to cast human sinfulness within the framework of an evangelical Christian evolutionary psychology.

Benjamin Lappenga (Assistant Professor of Theology, Dordt College)
Community-Edifying “World-Construction” in Paul and His Interpreters as a Resource for Theological Deliberations about Human Origins

Recognizing that the rhetorical setting for the cosmological reflections of both Paul and his early interpreters is the promotion of community-building, this paper proposes that such instances of “world-construction” are acts of theological imagination that provide a model for our own deliberations about human origins. The paper attends to Paul’s varied use of Adam in the service of his concern to build up the community in Rome and Corinth, as well as to the cosmology of one of the earliest writings to interact with Paul’s letters, 1 Clement. Just as “Clement” diverges from Paul’s cosmology and yet crafts his own within the framework of Paul’s concern for community-building, so too should our focus shift from debate for debate’s (or even doctrine’s) sake to a renewed concern for the community-edifying purposes that occupied the attention of Paul and his early interpreters. 

Megan Loumagne (MDiv Student, Boston College – School of Theology and Ministry)
Can Augustine Survive Natural Selection?

There has been a recent renewal of interest in Augustine’s articulation of the doctrine of original sin in light of the complexities of the human situation in the twenty-first century. This paper first exposits the key elements of Augustine’s understanding of original sin. It then places the doctrine within the context of his larger body of work in order to show that this doctrine reflects the central concerns of Augustine’s theology, the internal coherence of his thought in his persistent use of the motif of unity, and his distinctive methodological priorities. Furthermore, I argue that the conceptual core of his understanding of original sin, his theological method, and his dependence upon the motif of unity provide important resources for contemporary developments in theological anthropology, especially with regard to new conceptions of the doctrine of original sin. 

Brian Lugioyo (Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Azusa Pacific Seminary)
Exploring Exile and Yom Kippur: Why the "Fall" Might Mislead Us

This paper will explore the relationships between the Genesis 3-4 narrative, exile, Yom Kippur, and the doctrine of the atonement. By looking at the doctrine of the atonement and the practice of Yom Kippur, do we understand more clearly what Jews and early Christians saw as the key problems that the garden stories allude to? I believe that exploring these relations reveals that the theme of exile is essential within the Genesis 3-4 narrative, and thus the traditional problems of a hereditary moral flaw affecting humanity should be revised to allow for the themes of alienation, shame, and self-preservation to guide our understanding of the human dilemma. When reading this narrative with these emphases, I believe that the questions that evolutionary theories bring to the Genesis narrative shift toward more harmonious trajectories.

Hans Madueme (Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College)
The Evolution of Sin: The Contribution of Ted Peters

This paper examines the evolutionary hamartiology of the Lutheran systematic theologian Ted Peters. First, the central features of Peters’ project are laid out. Second, a number of his helpful contributions are summarized, and they clarify what Peters thinks is at stake theologically in the encounter between the doctrine of sin and biology; some critical questions will also be raised about the success of his overall project. Third, the paper concludes that—however we judge the merits of his answers—theologians are indebted to Peters for asking many of the right questions. In light of his work, any doctrine of sin in dialogue with science must give a careful assessment of three areas in the tradition that are rapidly losing their cultural plausibility, i.e., originating sin; originated sin; and anthropological dualism. This three-tiered question, a research agenda for Christian hamartiology, is both the problem and the opportunity of our present moment.

Andrew McCoy (Assistant Professor of Ministry Studies, Hope College)
Perfecting Incarnation: The Past, Present, and Future of Fallen Creation Held Together through the Redemption of Christ

This presentation will consider three ways that God’s work of creation and the subsequent sin of humanity are understood to “set the stage” in which God’s redemption through the incarnate person of Christ unfolds. Creation understood to originate fully realized in absolute perfection or to originate inherently sinful in absolute imperfection will be contrasted with a view of creation as relative perfection. This view affirms creation as originally oriented towards growth and change in the context of a pre-Fall perfection which is not a fully realized state, but rather a perfect, unimpeded relationship between creation and Creator which provides the original, intended context for creation’s development. I will argue that this view prioritizes Christ’s incarnation as the means by which to understand God’s relationship with creation while also providing resources for maintaining open conversation between scientific advances and scriptural and ecclesial positions on human origins.

David Opderbeck (Professor of Law, Seton Hall University Law School)
"Law" and the Fall of Humanity

This paper draws on St. Athanasius to argue that in some sense “law” is a constituent element of the human “soul.” The pattern of Genesis 2 seems to reflect this order: God creates the soul of Adam (“the breath of life”) and imprints on Adam’s soul the law of the Garden (“you shall not eat of it”). This pattern is discussed in St. Athanasius’ On the Incarnation. For Athanasius, when human beings turned against God and transgressed the law, they lost the gift of incorruptibility and were returned to their “natural state,” which in fact began to dissolve them as “human." The Fall as a turn from the law, then, for Athanasius, produced an ontological change in the human person in the loss of direct and full participation in God’s eternal being. But neither God’s first command in the garden nor humanity’s first decisive rejection of that command can appear in sources accessible to the natural sciences. They are known only by revelation, most particularly by the revelation of the fulfillment of the law of love in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, the true “Adam.”

Christopher Polachic (Staff Trainer, Power to Change Ministries, Canada)
Gospel and Human Evolutionary Narratives in Evangelistic Campus Ministry

Parachurch campus ministries typically employ “Gospel outlines” as evangelism tools. Through trickledown, many of these tools, such as Bill Bright’s The Four Spiritual Laws, have had significant influence on Evangelical culture as undergraduates are trained in their use and go on to church leadership. The assumed anthropology underlying these outlines has been an inherited Adamic sin nature with a historical Fall. I propose that an alternative Gospel outline grounded in an evolutionary anthropology could provide a helpful contextualization for Evangelicals to better internalize the narrative of human evolution, and an effective tool in communicating Good News to the unchurched. I will explore some starting points in the science-religion literature from which theologians and ministry staff might work together in such a project, as well as identify the organizational and cultural challenges that might arise in campus ministries.

Dan Rüdisill (PhD Student, Institute for Christian Studies, Canada)
"Let us make Man in our Image": Emergent Evolution and the Imago Dei

This paper seeks to give an account of how we can understand humans as made fully in the imago dei while also being creatures fully within the animal Kingdom. This will be done through examining the work on teleology in evolution by the Reformational philosopher Jacob Klapwijk and the Oxford paleontologist Simon Conway Morris. Finally, it shall discuss how we might understand Christians as a truly new creation by appropriating resources from the charismatic Christian tradition 

Scott Ventureyra (PhD Student, Dominican University College, Canada)
Dembski’s Theodicy in Dialogue with Domning’s and Hellwig’s Original Selfishness: A Potentially Fruitful Approach to Understanding the Intersection of Evolution, Sin and the Fall

In order for humans that originally bore the full image and likeness of God to have the ability to sin they would have to be morally self-reflective agents. So, how does one make sense of original sin and the Fall in light of the evolution? Regardless of the approach one chooses to adopt, these concepts when drawn together inevitably give rise to the problem of evil (natural and moral). It is indeed a problem for Christian theology that cannot be simply swept under the rug. I propose to bring into dialogue two recent positions that take the problem of sin, evil and the Fall seriously. The first, William Dembski’s theodicy as defended in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (2009) and the second, Daryl Domning’s and Monika Hellwig’s as examined in Original Selfishness: Original Sin and Evil in the Light of Evolution (2006). 

Benno van den Toren (Professor of Intercultural Theology, Protestant Theological University, Netherlands)
Human Evolution and a Cultural Understanding of Original Sin

In this paper, I intend to explore the interface between new understandings of human evolution and cultural understandings of original sin. According to recent understandings developed in evolutionary biology, the human being is essentially a ‘cultured’ being and open to live in different environments. This is a crucial difference between humans and other species, including other primates. Humans are therefore necessarily dependent on socialization by their community. Both the creative insights and the sin of the ancestors will therefore be inculcated in their descendants. This paper explores whether and how this can contribute to the understanding of the propagation of sin through the human population. This paper intends to show that new scientific understandings concerning the development of the human species do not only raise problems for Christian theology—they do—but also allow for new creative understandings that may deepen our understanding of classic doctrines.

John Wright (Professor of Theology and Christian Scripture, Point Loma Nazarene University)
The Trinitarian Ontology of God and Creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3

Genesis 1:1-2:3 establishes a setting for the chronology of creation that begins in Genesis 2:4. In Genesis 1 “create” names the distinction between the Divine and the “heavens and earth” even as it relates the word “God” to three words that belong on the “divine side” of the equation: the Origin, the Spirit, and the Word. The text defines “the heavens and earth” as creation of God – yet develops an earth from an absence from within the heavens that appear initially as water. Finally, humanity emerges as functionally, not ontologically unique within creation – God makes humans “to the image of God.” Rather than a “mythic” presentation of God making “order from chaos” to develop a “dwelling place of God,” Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a creation story. God creates from nothing a creation that emerges as a relationship to God who is simultaneously Origin, Spirit, and Word.



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Hotel Information

We have arranged a special discounted hotel room rate for conference guests at the two hotels nearest to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Hotel information and room rates are included below. You must provide the reservation code (whether placing your reservation online or over the telephone) in order to receive the discounted rate. Please note that these discounted rates are available for a limited time as specified below. Further, we have reserved a limited number of rooms at each hotel, so book early in order to guarantee your space.

Hilton Garden Inn – Chicago North Shore/Evanston
1818 Maple Ave., Evanston, IL 60201
Phone (Local): 847-475-6400
Phone (Toll-Free): 877-782-9444

Discounted Room Rate (King or Two Double Beds): $159.99/night + taxes/fees*
Rate includes full breakfast for one person (additional guest = $10.00)
Overnight parking = $13.00/day
A shuttle bus will be available to take guests from this hotel to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Group Booking Code: ECF (online) or ECF Conference (phone)

Reservation Cut Off Date: February 25, 2015

*Illinois hotel room tax rate = 13.5%

The Homestead Hotel
1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201
Phone (Local): 847-475-3300

Discounted Room Rate (Queen or Two Twin Beds): $99.00/night + taxes/fees*
Rate includes continental breakfast and free overnight parking (one block from hotel)

Group Booking Code: ecf15

Reservation Cut Off Date: February 26, 2015

*Illinois hotel room tax rate = 13.5%



Conference registration includes catered buffet lunches on Friday, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th. Lunches will include beverages and vegetarian options. We will make every attempt to accommodate other dietary restrictions. Please note such restrictions on the appropriate line during the registration process or email Andy Saur at

Additionally, Evanston offers a variety of fine and casual dining options for breakfast and dinner. For a list of restaurants in the downtown Evanston area click here.


Directions and Maps

The links below will help you make your way to Garrett-Evangelical, and help you find your way around once you arrive.





Garrett Visitor's Lot on Garrett PlaceYou will receive a magnetic card to access this lot. To pick up your card, please park in the circle drive in front of the main seminary building with your vehicle’s emergency flashers on and then come through the main to doors to the front desk to pick up a card. You may come and go as many times as you want that day, but the card must be returned at the end of the day as you leave the lot for the last time (slide the card into the return box on your way out). Cards will be locked out overnight and will not be good the next day.

Northwestern University Visitor's pass: In the event the Garrett Visitor's Lot is full, the Northwestern University Visitor's pass will be given to you. This is a yellow hangtag which you can get from our front desk, or from the Northwestern parking office. It is good for one day only and you must have the date scratched off or your car will be ticketed. This pass is not good for the big lot next to Garrett-Evangelical; if you recieve one of these you must park in any of the NU visitor lots, the nearest of which is across Sheridan Rd. Other lots are further away - about a 10 minute walk back to Garrett-Evangelical. See the Northwestern University parking maps here for more information.


We are no longer accepting registration for this event

Deacon Candidacy Formation Workshop

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Individual Price:

A deacon candidacy formation workshop will precede the Deacon Dialogue. It will be held on Wednesday evening, April 15, 2015 from 7pm-9pm and on Thursday morning, April 16, 2015 from 9am-11:30am.

This formation event is for people who are in candidacy on the deacon track. We will talk about discernment, the identity and ministries of deacons, and how to prepare for interviews with District Committees on Ministry and Board of Ordained Ministry.

For more information about this workshop, contact Victoria Rebeck at Registration cost is $10.

Registering for the deacon candidacy formation workshop DOES NOT register you for Deacon Dialogue 2015. To register for Deacon Dialogue 2015, click here.

Spring Colloquy of the Academy of Interns (Clergy)

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Individual Price:
Academy of Interns

April 25-26, 2015

The Spring Colloquy of the Academy of Interns, sponsored by The United Methodist Church's program Strengthening the Black Church in the 21st Century (SBC21), will meet on the campus of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on April 25-26, 2015. An opportunity is available for Black United Methodist Pastors (BUMP) in the area to join us for this unique learning experience. Space is limited to 10 clergypersons and we encourage you to register now. Below you will find the agenda and a link to register for the Colloquy.

If you are a student who would like to attend, please click here to go to the student registration page.


April 25 – Saturday            

8:30 a.m. – Welcome/Devotion

9:00 a.m. – Our Purpose/Community Building

9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. - Module #1: Worship and Sacraments in the African American Tradition  with Dr. Gennifer Brooks and Dr. Cynthia Wilson

10:45 a.m. – BREAK

11:00 a.m. – Module #1 continued

12:00 p.m. - LUNCH


1:00 p.m. – Module #2: Jesus and the Disinherited: Implications for African American Clergy with Dr. Reggie Williams (McCormick) and Dr. Angela Cowser

2:30 p.m. – BREAK

2:45 p.m. – Module #3: Taking Care of Self: Self-Care for African American Clergy with Bishop Linda Lee

4:00 p.m. – CLOSING

6:00 p.m. – DINNER

7:00 p.m. – Informal Conversation

UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.