variation on Michelangelo's God-Adam hands in rainbow colors
By Karen James Cody

Biologos and the Center for Christogenesis might appear to be on opposite sides of the spirituality and science debate. Yet both organizations exist principally to help people of faith reconcile the two disciplines—positing that science and spirituality are not in opposition; but that they, in fact, complement each other. And that to understand the world in which we live, each must be taken into account. Both organizations describe this necessary reconciliation as “bridging.”

Biologos and the Center for Christogenesis are doing similar work but from different vantage points. Both ponder questions at the intersection of spirituality and science. Each believes in the compatibility of science and faith. But one is grounded in Christianity, while the other considers spirituality apart from religion and is open to all faiths.

Each organization is doing extraordinary work in this field of bridging and producing outstanding results. Or as Fetzer Senior Program Officer Mohammed Mohammed puts it, “This project encapsulates the nuances and promises of a collaborative exploration of reality.”

BioLogos was founded by Dr. Francis Collins, a biologist who once led the Human Genome Project and now directs the National Institutes of Health. With a vision stated as “science and faith working hand in hand,” BioLogos approaches scientific questions through the lens of Christianity.

One of BioLogos’ programs, Integrate, is an instructional framework to help educators and parents teach science in a way that helps devout Christians navigate the conflict many students experience when evolution is taught in the classroom.

They believe that evolution can be understood through the Christian lens without tension. And while accepting the Biblical creation story as a true account, they also consider it a “narrative” account, created as “a means to a theological end.” They embrace evolution as the work of God, easily reconciled with Biblical teachings about the origin of life.

The Center for Christogenesis, on the other hand, examines the question of spirituality not solely from the construct of religion but as “bridging faith, science, culture, and community.” They believe that while spirituality and religion are closely related, spirituality is available to everyone, at any time.

The Center, led by a Franciscan Sister, Dr. Ilia Delio, relates to spirituality as a state human beings can experience in everyday circumstances. We can grasp our spirituality in spontaneous flashes of inner understanding. Anything that provokes in us a response of awe or wonder may spark spirituality. When we stand at the base of a mountain, for example, or at the lip of the sea—any time we get a sudden sense of ourselves against the scale of the awe-inspiring majesty of nature may spark spirituality. Those moments when we finally comprehend ourselves as part of a much bigger picture may spark spirituality.

But a common thread between the Center’s offerings and those of Biologos is that both offer programs that help people navigate their faith by elevating their understanding of “how evolution works for religious systems, as physical reality and spiritual reality are intertwined,” to use the Center’s words. Both organizations center love as inspiration for their work, and create environments in which we can “transcend our divisions.”

The Fetzer Institute exists explicitly to advance human understanding of these topics. Its work is often centered in areas where we humans believe we disagree. But for Fetzer, it is critical also to uncover the intersections of our beliefs and the many, many points on which our values align.

Fetzer aims to support the exploration of human relationships both within and outside our respective faiths, because when communities come together and begin to understand each other, the world is forever changed.

Karen James is the founder of The Allyson Group. She writes out of Takoma Park, Maryland.


Biologos logo with bird perched on "B"

BioLogos explores God’s Word and God’s World to inspire authentic faith for today.
Our vision is faith and science working hand in hand.

No description.

The Center for Christogenesis is a spiritual organization that serves an axial role in our time, bridging faith, science, culture, and community.