Christ College & Physics Symposium

We are honored to co-host Dr. Owen Gingerich with Christ College during their Fall 2009 Symposium series.

Thursday, September 10, at 6:30 PM in the Community Room of the Library


The Divine Handiwork: Evolution and the Wonder of Life

Dr. Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Centerfor Astrophysics

Thetitle derives from the 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who at the end of his wonderful cosmological chapter exclaimed, “So vast, without any question, is the divine handiwork of the almighty Creator.”  But Copernicus scarcely had a clue about the true vastness of the heavens, something that has become understood only in the20th century.  And this change from the closed world of the middle ages to the near infinite universe of today has forced a change in the way we look at our sacred scriptures, and in particular the book of Genesis with its vivid story of Adam and Eve.

Thestory the tree of good and evil is a powerful metaphor about the origin of conscience and becoming human.  With the God-given attribute of conscience, the understanding of right and wrong, comes responsibility, and the ability to make wrong choices.  What is important is to see the Bible taking as its starting point the emergence of our humanness, the origin of humanity.  If we keep this as a central issue in our understanding of why we are special in the cosmos, then we should have no trouble in accepting evolution as a major explanatory scheme in comprehending the natural world.