EDITOR’S NOTE: “From the Colleges” includes news releases of interest as written and edited from Southern Baptist-affiliated universities and colleges or state Baptist newsjournals.
Today’s From the Colleges includes:
North Greenville University
Louisiana College (from the Louisiana Baptist Message)
God and the Cosmos’ by Union’s Poe, Davis released
By Whitney Jones
JACKSON, Tenn. (Union University)–Professors Hal Poe and Jimmy Davis of Union University have published their fourth book together — “God and the Cosmos: Divine Activity in Space, Time and History” — further explaining the connection between faith and science.
Davis, vice president for Union’s regional campus at Germantown, Tenn., and university professor of chemistry, said the book, which was released in February, deals with issues brought up by new atheists and explains how God is involved in the universe and modern science.
“The nature that has been discovered by modern science reveals a universe that is open to activity and open to God,” Davis said. “It is not a closed system as some new atheists propose, and that activity is reflected in the findings of science.”
Poe, Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture at Union’s main campus in Jackson, Tenn., said the fact that people are able to manipulate science, whether it is transplanting a human heart or flying through the air, shows the universe is open to human involvement.
He added that if people are able to intervene, then God is as well.
“The more we do the more we realize the universe has every sign of being designed specifically to allow intelligent beings to monkey with it, and we’re simply saying that God is able to do at least as much as we can and more,” he said. “If we are free to carry out science, which is interference, intervention in the laws of nature… then there’s no logical reason why God cannot be involved in the universe.”
Davis said the biggest obstacle in writing “God and the Cosmos” with Poe was articulating the ideas in a scholarly way in the time period they were given. The two professors spent four years writing and researching, and during that time both dealt with significant illnesses, which Davis said made working on the book a long process.
Robert C. Fay, professor emeritus of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University, called the book a “wide-ranging, engaging and insightful study.”
“[Poe and Davis] argue that fine-tuning in cosmology, quantum phenomena and chaotic systems in physics, epigenetics in biology and the imaginative capabilities of the human person point to an open universe that invites interaction with cognitive agents, including God,” Fay said. “Their valuable study is rooted in a healthy respect for mainstream science and a solid knowledge of the biblical text.”
Poe said he and Davis wrote the book because they wanted to find and explain clues that showed God’s involvement and how modern science actually points to that intervention.
“What we were doing was showing that at every level of the universe there is — from the sub-atomic to molecules to cells to human life to human history — that at every level of organization, the universe is open to involvement,” Poe said.
Other books co-written by Poe and Davis have discussed the role of faith and science in the origin of the universe, the source of humanity and the evidence of a universe designed by God.
Published by IVP Academic, “God and the Cosmos” is available for purchase at LifeWay Christian Stores or at online retailers such as Amazon.com.
(Whitney Jones is a senior journalism major at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.)
North Greenville biology mission
trip to India plants life-giving seeds
By Rae Toadvine
TIGERVILLE, S.C. (North Greenville University)–While most North Greenville University students were at home spending time with family and friends, a group of students and professors from the NGU biology department were in India in December, working to help change the lives of thousands.
The 17-day trip was the biology department’s first mission trip, but according to lead researcher Christina Eddy, associate professor of biology, the trip had been in the works for years.
“I’ve worked here seven years, and I was praying about combining missions and research since before I accepted the job,” Eddy said.
Eddy found a way to combine two important aspects of her life three years ago when a missionary came and spoke at her church, sharing the news of what is known as the “miracle tree.”
Eddy was intrigued by the “miracle tree” and immediately began her own research.
The Moringa tree is an easily grown, drought-resistant plant native to India. It is valued for its leaves, which are nutritious. In comparisons based on weight, the leaves contain two times the protein of yogurt, three times the potassium of bananas, four times the vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk, and seven times the vitamin C of oranges.
The missionary who shared about the plant at Eddy’s church was in the process of taking the tree to Africa to battle malnutrition. But once Eddy began researching the tree, she found another use.
“What I found that’s even more amazing is that the seeds of the Moringa have water-purifying capabilities,” she said.
For the past three years, Eddy and NGU students have been developing faster and easier methods to purify water using the Moringa seed.
“We started to work on it, and I continued to pray about it,” said Eddy. The trip began to fall into place when Eddy’s pastor and India native Suyash Raiborde and his family got U.S. identity cards, which licensed them to take mission groups back to India. Along with Eddy, Raiborde and his wife organized the trip as an opportunity for students and professors to research the Moringa — while also sharing the love of Christ.
Eddy’s dream, years in the making, came to fruition on Dec. 7, when the group of 15 headed to India. Of the 15 team members, seven were NGU research students. The team spent the 17-day trip studying the seed and demonstrating its water-purifying capabilities to a local Hindu village.
“I wanted to use [the Moringa seed] in an area where there was no sort of clean water, not even running water,” Eddy explained. The team’s main objective was to show the villagers how to purify water and, in so doing, show them Christ.
When the team arrived, the villagers were living on river water much dirtier than what most Americans can begin to imagine.
Though not ignorant of the benefits of clean water, the villagers were unconcerned about the state of their water. One even remarked, “These people came all the way from the United States just to show us how to clean water?”
The group learned three Christian songs that they could perform for locals in the Hindu language. Once the people realized that they were being sung Christian songs, the mood changed completely.
“They were just about as interested in Christianity as they were in clean water,” Eddy said.
When the team departed, they left the villagers with the ability to purify water and with the good news of Christ.
Research student and mission member Jessica Frasure, a junior biology major from Fort Mill, reflected on the impact of the trip.
“I look at it now as more of a life-changing effect,” Frasure said, “seeing how [the seed] can change the lives of the people and seeing how it can affect them personally. There’s a Moringa tree in the heart of the village, and I think as they see it, they’ll think about what we showed them.”
Eddy hopes that with time, the villagers will accept the need for clean water — and for Christ. “I hope that eventually they use the clean water and realize that the people who showed it to them were Christians.”
Eddy has plans for another project in the near future. The Moringa seed can also desalinate water. Since well water in India is too salty to drink or cook with, Eddy is planning to develop the third use of the Moringa.
The protocol for desalinization with the Moringa seed is different than the protocol for purifying, which means that the biology department already has another mission project in the works.
(Rae Toadvine is a senior broadcast major at North Greenville University.)
Louisiana College, Korean official
explore exchange agreement
By Karen L. Willougby
PINEVILLE, La. (Louisiana Baptist Message)–Soccer players David Kam and Youngsup “Ron” Soh until recently were the only South Korean students at Louisiana College.
But in early February they were joined by 18 high school students and three teachers from South Korea, on campus for three weeks to practice their English and experience an American college.
On Feb. 13, they were joined by Man Chai Chang, governor of education in southwest South Korea.
“It was in God’s plan for these students to be here at the same time as the South Korean education governor,” said Justin McCain, Louisiana College’s director of international students. “It brought about a great opportunity for these [Korean] students to meet and talk with Dr. Chang. They had never met him before.”
It also showed the education governor that LC is serious in its interest in South Korea, McCain said.
Chang met with LC President Joe Aguillard and other campus and community leaders to discuss the possibility of an exchange agreement: South Korean students to LC to work on their master’s degrees, and LC students to South Korea to teach English.
The South Korean government already has allocated money to send students to LC, Chang said, adding that he hoped for two LC students to be sent to his nation for one year. Aguillard said he would make the need known, but that to begin with, it might be one student, and for just one semester.
“If I were a young teacher and I had the opportunity to go to Korea, I would jump at it,” Aguillard said by way of endorsing the concept. “Like all things that are new, it may start small and then grow, but the main thing is to get started.”
Getting started was how the 18 South Korean students got to be on campus. Their teacher, Joon Kil Ahn, met Jo Yong Seung, a pastor in New Orleans, last summer in South Korea. Seung suggested Ahn bring students to Louisiana for immersion in the American culture.
Ahn’s plan to take the students to a Natchitoches high school fell through. He read about Louisiana College on the internet, and when he called to see of the possibility for a campus visit, he was very impressed with what the college offered, he said.
“The students could stay in a dorm on campus, take their meals on campus and enroll in a three-week ESL program that Education Professor Anna Ngyuen teaches,” McCain said. “We took them on excursions to Houston, Galveston, Baton Rouge and NASA. We were able to incorporate their ESL learning with their American cultural experiences.”
LC had provided a similar experience last summer for 20 college students from China.
Local — Central Louisiana — excursions included Kent House, Fort Randolph, Fort Buhlow, Alexandria Zoo, Alexandria Mall and a worship service at Kingsville Ball.
“The time with their education governor, that was just a God-thing,” McCain said.
Chang had the students’ rapt attention as he spoke to them in a LC student center conference room.
“Many students come to the United States,” Chang told the Korean students, later translating his own words for the Baptist Message. “Why? Military power? No. Money? No. Knowledge? Purpose of education is to open eyes to see world. To be leader you have to have a good and right mind.”
Chang said he was impressed with the LC campus.
“It is very nice,” the South Korean education governor said. “Calm and peaceful is my feeling.”
As to the concept of South Korean students getting their master’s degrees in teaching at LC, and LC students teaching English in South Korea, LC has similar exchange agreements with China, Tanzania and Uganda.
(Karen Willoughby is managing editor of the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.)