Welcome from the Dean
“Arts and Sciences at a Christian University” is a phrase full of apparent contradictions. Viewed from the twenty-first century, the relationship between academic inquiry and Christianity may appear tenuous. Some Christians seem to be suspicious of academic pursuits and might pursue university education as little more than vocational preparation. After all, aren’t Christians called to set their minds on things that are above, not things of this earth?
Conversely, much of the intellectual world spurns religious faith as superfluous at best. Human knowledge seems to have advanced to the point where “God” is no longer required, either to explain or to motivate. From this perspective university learning leads toward understanding an uncreated world to which meaning must be applied by the human mind, alone in the universe.
But Seattle Pacific University is a Christian community that has decided to embrace human learning and creativity. Here, the pursuits in the Arts and Sciences are an expression of faith in the One who made the world, the mind and the senses, who authored curiosity, contemplation, discovery and the passion for progress. We are willing to embrace the dialogs and controversies that have arisen when Christian faith intersects with human rationality and creativity. We seek to better understand both our historic faith and the new light shed on the nature of the world and humanity by the noble ventures of intellectual and creative vigor everywhere.
“Arts and Sciences at a Christian University” may appear superficially oxymoronic. But for the College of Arts and Sciences at Seattle Pacific it is the gateway to a rich exploration of the physical cosmos, human culture, the world of ideas, and the realm of the spirit of God upon which rests all of reality. Our learning community is based on our commitment to helping students grow in intellectual honesty and acuity, creativity, moral integrity, wisdom and compassion. In short, we are here to become more like Jesus Christ.
Bruce D. Congdon
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Biology
B.S., University of the Ozarks, Arkansas, 1979; M.S., Colorado State University, 1981; Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, 1985. At SPU since 1985.