Bethany College professor receives BioLogos Foundation grant

LINDSBORG, KAN., January 14, 2013—Bethany College Associate Professor of Philosophy John Mullen has received a three-year grant from The BioLogos Foundation for a series of articles arguing that gradual creation via evolution is not contrary to Christianity.

The title of Mullen’s project is “Divine Hiddenness and Constraints on Creation: Should We Expect God to Create Gradually?” He hopes to carry out the discussion over four to five academic papers that will also be published as a book for a wider audience. He will also attend the annual BioLogos Evolution and Christian Faith conferences over the next three years with the first this summer on June 23 to 28, 2013, in Boston.

Mullen will argue that believing in evolution and having Christian faith are not mutually exclusive and that denying evolution does harm to Christianity because it asks followers to ignore scientific works.

“I hope to dispel the common misperception that evolutionary biology and Christianity are incompatible,” says Mullen. “Denying evolution actually works against most Christian’s evangelistic intentions.”

Mullen will draw from the work of French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, who said that that God must remain hidden to a certain degree. According to Pascal, God provides enough evidence for Christians to have a rational basis for their beliefs so that it is not just blind faith. However, God does not provide so much evidence as to overwhelm those not inclined to believe. This leaves room for what Pascal called “reasons of the heart” to be the decisive factor in a person’s faith.

“The concept of hiddenness explains why we shouldn’t be surprised to find that God works gradually through evolution,” says Mullen.

According to BioLogos, Mullen’s work would “put the relationship between evolution and Christian faith on new ground, and also contribute to the growing literature on divine hiddenness.” The BioLogos Foundation is a community of evangelical Christians committed to exploring and celebrating the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith. BioLogos provides virtual and actual meeting places where the best Christian minds in the sciences, theology, biblical studies, philosophy, and other fields meet.

John Mullen, associate professor of philosophy, began at Bethany in 2012. A retired U.S. Naval Reserve Commander, he earned his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and specializes in epistemology and philosophies of religion and science. Mullen has previously taught at Oklahoma Baptist University, St. Gregory’s University, and Valparaiso University.

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