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Union University Center for Faculty Development
Center for Faculty Development


Teaching & Learning Grants > Interviews

Interview with Troy Riggs, Mathematics - recipient of the Teaching and Learning Grant-Conference Attendance

Troy Riggs

1. Briefly describe what you did with your Teaching and Learning Grant.

Last November I attended the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Francisco. My primary interest was to interact with members of the Evangelical Philosophical Society on issues related to epistemology and Bayesian logic. I was also interested in new insights from Pauline studies and cultural studies of the Ancient Near East and the value of these insights for biblical interpretation. While I attended talks along these lines, I was also inspired to pick up a topic that I have previously written on, but left behind. One of the presenters spoke about the roles of Chaos as it is presented in the Psalms. I realized that in Genesis, Psalms, Job and other passages we see that God has not removed Chaos from creation, but utilizes it to accomplish His purposes.

I will be giving a talk in October in a departmental colloquium that considers scriptural, physical and mathematical evidence that God may use randomness to serve His purposes in creation. I have begun to further pursue this topic with colleagues at Union, including applying for a grant to support this work.

2. How was your teaching and your students’ learning enhanced by this grant?

I briefly discuss historical, philosophical and theological issues related to probability when we study this topic. Most students naively assume that order and randomness are polar opposites. In class we see how the relationship between patterns and randomness are often subtle and complex.

3. How did (or might) this grant award lead to other opportunities to further develop your teaching and enhance learning?

I intend to continue this line of inquiry into the future.


"Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment 'as to the Lord.' It is our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done and any grace received."
-C.S. Lewis; Learning in Wartime, The Weight of Glory