Brenau Program Focuses on Universe’s Origins from Religious and Scientific Perspectives

Originally published on 11/10/09

Gerald L. Schroader

Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder, physicist and applied theologian, discusses his theories at Brenau forum.

Gerald L. Schroeder, the internationally renowned MIT-educated nuclear physicist who now focuses his studies on what he perceives to be an inherent relationship between science and spirituality, will anchor a discussion on the origins of the universe on the Brenau University campus on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Following a brief reception in the Trustee library at 6:30 p.m., the 7 p.m. presentation in Thurmond-McRae Lecture Hall, adjacent to the library at 625 Academy St. in Gainesville, will also feature two Brenau professors with expertise on the subject: James F. Sennett, an associate professor of philosophy who lectures and writes extensively on comparative religion issues, and S. Randolph May, the Richard and Phyllis Leet Distinguished Chair of Biological Science, a geneticist who is also a Baptist layman. The program is free and open to the public, students and Brenau faculty and staff.Following the program Schroeder will also greet the public in a reception and sign copies of his latest book, “God According to God: A Physicist Proves We’ve Been Wrong about God All Along.”

The program is sponsored by four Brenau student organizations, Brenau Spiritual Life Association, Servant Leadership Scholars Program, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

“We are very fortunate to have an individual of Dr. Schroeder’s caliber on campus to engage and, indeed, to be engaged by, our students,” said Dr. Jim Southerland, the university’s top academic officer. “At the same time, the event provides an opportunity for the university to showcase its talented faculty with two individuals who will contribute significantly to what I am certain will be a stimulating discussion of this often-debated issue.”

Schroeder is the author of four books which focus primarily on examining and explaining how the universe and earth were created. Among other things, Schroeder attempts to reconcile the Biblical account of a young earth that by best reckoning was created about 6,000 years ago with the scientific model of a world that is billions of years old. He expounds on the idea that the perceived flow of time for a given event in an expanding universe varies with the observer´s perspective of that event. He attempts to reconcile the two perspectives numerically, calculating the effect of the stretching of space-time, based on Einstein’s theories.

A professed Orthodox Jew, Schroeder attracted attention of fundamentalist Christians and others with the 1990 publication of his first book, “Genesis and the Big Bang.”

He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in nuclear physics and earth and planetary sciences in 1965 and was employed as a researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Volcani Research Institute, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem after emigrating to Israel in 1971. He also has been applied theologian at The College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

Sennett, who teaches world religions and philosophy courses at the university, has studied and lectured extensively on resolving the dichotomy between science and religion on the subject of creation of the universe and similar topics. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy, University of Nebraska and a Master of Divinity in Old Testament studies from Lincoln Christian Seminary. He also has served as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, University of California at Berkeley.

May earned a Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to coming to Brenau, he was a professor of surgical research at Hahnemann University Medical School in Philadelphia, at The Medical College of Georgia, and at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, an executive with the American Red Cross, and chief science officer with two major biotech firms.

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