by Gordon Nary
Gordon: You are a developmental biologist. For our readers who may not know what a developmental biologist is, please explain the profession.
Dr. Brun: A Developmental Biologist studies how a fertilized egg develops into an adult organism.
Gordon: When did you join the staff at Texas Christian University, and what courses do you teach?
Dr. Brun: I became a faculty at TCU in 1978. I Taught Developmental Biology, Histology, History of Biology, and (with a colleague from the Department of Religion), Religion and Science.
Gordon: Why did you leave the University of Geneva for Texas Christian University?
Dr. Brun: The University produced too many Ph.Ds. So the government of Geneva decided to limit the jobs of employed PH.Ds. to five years to make room for the younger PH.Ds. I got a job offer first at the University of Indiana Bloomington, and soon after that, I obtained a faculty job at TCU.
Gordon: Who was your mentor, and what did you learn from him?
Dr. Brun: I studied at the University of Basel, Switzerland. I had two mentors: for my doctoral thesis: Professor Adolf Portmann. Also, I became a member of the philosophy/theology study groups founded by the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. Both mentors emphasized the term “Gestalt” (Unity in Diversity) as a foundation of their life-work. Gordon: How can general evolution be integrated into an updated Christian theology of nature? Dr. Brun: The fundamental revelation of Christianity is that God is Love (Papal Encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (Pope Benedict XVI, 25 December 2005). God is Love; therefore, creation must be God’s gift. Christianity also knows that creation is created through God’s Word: God speaks, and creation (the world, nature) becomes (Gn 1, 1-26). Christianity also holds that the Word of God is God, Jesus Christ (Jn 1, 3: see also Rm 11, 36: 1Cor 8, 6: Col 1, 16: Heb 1,2). This Word that God speaks is spoken OUT, away from God into that which is not God but creation. God gives away His Son, Jesus Christ, to creation; He gives away His Son present to creation. It is thanks to this present really given away, that the world, the universe, nature is capable of freely becoming itself. (God not only gives away His Son to create creation but also to save it!) That creation (theological language) or nature (scientific writing) is free to become itself, however, is the main result of modern science.
Gordon: What are some of the principal challenges between Christianity and Science, and how can they be resolved?
Dr. Brun: The principle challenge between Christianity science is the Paradox that the Word of God that is God can become that, which is not God; this is the case in creation, where the Word of God becomes the creative center of creation, of that, which is not God. This Paradox is not unique to creation; it is also the central illogicality in the Eucharist. Here, bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Yet neither bread is flesh nor wine blood. There is a third manifestation that God can be God in that which is not God, the Christmas event. Here, God becomes a human being; yet human beings are certainly not God. For our logic, “something cannot be that which it is not.” For God’s “logic” of incarnation, it is not! In conclusion: God proves in creation, in the Eucharist, and the Christmas event that He can be God in that which is not God.
In closing, I suggest that our readers check out your website and well as your book Creation and Cosmology: Attempt at Sketching a Modern Christian Theology of Nature which I found fascinating and which was also reviewed by Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight.