Nieuws - 4 november 2009

Darwin meets Calvin

Forty students met on Monday to debate on creation and evolution.

By decorating the sculpture in front of the Forum, VGSW members brought attention to their anniversary debate.
That this is the year of Darwin should not have escaped the attention of anyone. It is also the year of the theologian Calvin who was born five hundred years ago. At first sight, they were two totally different persons coming from worlds seemingly miles apart.
But this is also the year of the society of reformed students in Wageningen (VGSW). The society celebrates its ninth anniversary this year and - not entirely by coincidence - organized a debate about religion and science on Monday, with the title: Evolution - powered by God?!.
Palmyre Oomen - biologist, theologian, philosopher and endowed professor of the Radboud University in Nijmegen - unfolded a theory in which creation and evolution are brought together, with God making it possible for organisms to develop and evolve. Darwin meets Calvin.
More than forty people - mostly students, and a handful of lecturers - were present at the debate in the Forum. Some brought the Bible along. Others were a little less familiar with the world of the reformed, such as first year biology student Annelien. Her curiosity aroused by the decorated 'grey tree' at the entrance to the Forum, she sat at the back of the lecture theatre hesitantly. 'I believe in God and I study biology. If the beginning of life is questioned in my study, I want an answer',  she explained. As to the story of creation stated in the Bible, she is somewhat uncertain. 'But for my belief, it doesn't matter whether God created the world in seven days, or seven years, or seven million years.'
A young man admitted that his belief suffered whenever something could be explained scientifically. For as long as knowledge did not get in the way, his belief in God stayed. But science had made it less and less. Others clung on to the classical story of creation. Because it was written in the Bible. Or because they thought that man in Oomen's theory were on equal footing with other organisms.
The debate continued in the café, the average student being a little better suited for his natural habitat than for the lecture theatre. Thanks to evolution. Or thanks to God. The question remained. ® AvG