The Logos and Cosmos Initiative
Theology and the Sciences in Latin America and Francophone Africa
The Logos and Cosmos Initiative (LCI) is a five-year IFES program that will focus on mentoring students, staff, and academics in Latin America and Francophone Africa. The LCI will equip them and fund them to carry out projects in the University that foster dialogue between Theology and the Sciences (both social and natural). This initiative, which began in 2020, is part of IFES’ “Engaging the University ” ministry and an extension of our commitment to impact all of society for the glory of Christ.
The Gospel of John begins with the Word (logos) who was with God, who was God, and through whom the whole world (cosmos) was made.
The ideas behind the Greek words logos (λόγος) and cosmos (κόσμος) lie at the heart of both Christian theology and the University. By means of biblical mentoring, skills training and funding, the LCI will equip about 80 Catalysts over five years to plan and carry out projects that draw together theological and scientific perspectives, and contribute to IFES’s Gospel-calling to the university.
Alejandra Ortiz, a co-coordinator for the Logos and Cosmos Initiative in Latin America, was part of the team selecting the catalysts for her region. As a member of the Engaging the University team in Latin America, she encourages students and staff to connect their disciplines to their faith. Now through the LCI, she says this ministry will be emphasized in a strategic way:
“We hope the LCI will provide formation for key people in the national movements and subregions, that they may become resources and mentors for others in how they relate their disciplines to their faith. We aim to see staff, students and movements engage with the whole of the university and invest in key people to model and inspire.”
Although these projects will begin at the campus level, they are expected to expand to national and regional levels. Working in close partnership with IFES national movements, the LCI will nurture a new generation of Christian leaders to bring Theology to bear on major issues in their disciplines and produce relevant resources in their context.
Dr Klaingar Ngarial, Regional Secretary from Francophone Africa, writes,
“As the ETU website states, ‘We believe that the gospel has something essential to say in all disciplines, whether it be politics, economics and science, or ethics, education and the arts. We want to see the followers of Jesus authentically involved in all aspects of campus life and debate, so that the message of the gospel reaches and transforms all dimensions of the university’. The LCI will redefine and redesign the profile of the GBU of tomorrow. We see in the LCI a lot of promise for the development of national movements in Francophone Africa.”
The Logos and Cosmos Initiative is partly funded by the John Templeton Foundation, as the LCI vision is closely connected to their vision of ‘scientific and spiritual progress, in which all people aspire to attain a deeper understanding of the universe and their place in it’. The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind and they ‘encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians, as well as between such experts and the public at large’.
At the moment, funding for the Logos and Cosmos Initiative is only available for the two IFES regions of Francophone Africa and Latin America, but it is our hope and prayer that we will be able to expand into other IFES regions in the years to come.