The topic for the 11th annual Jackson B. Davidson Memorial Lecture on Science and Religion will be “A Dwelling Place for God: Recovering the Forgotten Story of God, Humankind, Temple, and Creation.â€
Stanley Saunders, associate professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga., will deliver the lecture at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, 1051 Oak Ridge Turnpike (at Lafayette Drive).
Refreshments will be served after the lecture, and childcare will be provided during and after the free talk.
â€œModern, western Christians typically presume that Christian salvation entails escape from our bodies and this earth, so that we can dwell with God in an ethereal heavenly realm,â€ Saunders said. â€œThe New Testament, on the other hand, much more clearly affirms a vision of God coming to dwell with us.â€
In this lecture, Saunders said he will explore the outlines of this largely forgotten biblical storyline, especially as it comes to expression in the New Testament, where Jesus’ body is presented as “the temple,” and in early Christian art, where images of the resurrected Jesus and renewed creation predominate.
A scholar on the Gospel according to Matthew who has a Ph.D. degree in New Testament studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, Saunders wrote in the abstract for his lecture: â€œFrom Genesis to Revelation, the Bible tells the story not only of the redemption of humankind, but of the whole creation, â€˜heaven and earthâ€™ as one.â€ The ancient Jews and Christians, he added, regarded creation as the original “temple,” the dwelling place of God.
A native of Oregon, Saunders grew up with a keen sense of the wonders of nature. He also studied theology at two universities in Germanyâ€”Tuebingen and Heidelberg.
The annual lecture honors the late Jack Davidson, a church elder and award-winning researcher at the U.S. Department of Energyâ€™s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was intensely interested in the relationships between science and religion. He delivered sermons on these relationships at First Presbyterian Church.
The speakers in the annual lecture series explore these relationships and the ways that science help us better understand and appreciate Godâ€™s amazing creation, including humankind, so we can determine how best to protect, nurture, conserve, and sustain it.
For more information, visit the church website at www.fpcor.org or call the office at (865) 483-1318.