For those who know Dr. Aresia Watson (Biology ’99), it’s easy to sense her passion for sharing her love of God’s creation with students. For more than twenty years, Dr. Watson has invested time and energy in making her instruction excellent, whether it is teaching a variety of college classes at Pensacola Christian College or volunteering in first- and second-grade Sunday school.
“When I see my students come to an understanding of the material, or when I see them personalize the importance of recognizing that the foundation of science, Christianity, and life itself is God as Creator, I am always excited and encouraged,” Dr. Watson said.
As a college instructor, Dr. Watson has spent much of her time researching, preparing lectures, meeting with students outside of class, and—of course—teaching. She has adjusted to many changes over the years, from students wanting to meet in person to students preferring e-mails and from teaching only live lectures to recording lectures for students unable to attend for health reasons. She has also noticed a cultural shift over the years; but with this shift, Dr. Watson has become more passionate about pointing her students to the Creator.
During the semester, Dr. Watson typically teaches a variety of biology classes as well as Origins (CR 370), a class that is required for all students obtaining their bachelor’s degree. Watson said, “In Origins, we are specifically studying what God has revealed as Truth regarding ‘In the beginning’ and the scientific evidence that supports what we already accept as true by faith.”
“I am constantly amazed at the intricate designs that God has placed within creation—designs that are so complex they defy the ideas of gradual evolution of the various kinds of life over vast eons of time,” said Dr. Watson. “While I do want my students to have an academic understanding of the various topics in biology and the origins of the universe, life, and the various kinds of living organisms, my deeper desire is that my students stand in awe of who God is, the Creator, and desire a deeper relationship with the One who made them and has a plan and purpose for them.”
Dr. Watson’s students can sense her enthusiasm for God’s creation as she mentions what she has recently been learning herself or as she brings in examples, such as fossilized fish and shells, to show in class. In Origins, she also helps students practice their own research and critical thinking skills through an apologia and some other small papers.
Nancy Osorio Boquin (Jr., Honduras) said concerning her experience with Origins, “Dr. Aresia Watson is a great teacher. As a student, I can notice that she cares for us; she tries to make the class easy to understand, but still teaches us all the information.”
Though Origins is a rigorous class partly because of the amount of information and scientific evidences students are learning, Dr. Watson is committed to helping students realize the value of what they are learning. Nancy explained, “I have never put so much thought into the scientific evidence since I was raised in a Christian home; she has helped me understand that [it] is important to know all the information—that way I’m able to help others who are in need of looking for Jesus.”
“While we do accept God’s Word as true by faith, we also have significant scientific evidences that support the truth revealed to us in those chapters. Matter and energy cannot explain their own existence or the laws that govern them. But, God’s revelation of His special creation can,” Dr. Watson said. “Recognizing God as Creator provides a foundation for science since it provides a foundation for knowledge, the laws of logic, and the laws of science.”
For both the Botany (BY 222) and Ecology (BY 323) classes, Dr. Watson has developed field studies where students can apply material they have learned in class as they observe the world around them. “This helps provide students with essential skills and knowledge that are essential to graduate studies and jobs in the arena of field biology. Plus, it is always fun to be outside and enjoy the beauty of creation!” Dr. Watson said.
While Dr. Aresia Watson thoroughly enjoys working with students studying natural sciences, she also enjoys teaching non-degree majors through general education science classes. “It is important for all of us to have an understanding of God’s creation since He has specifically given it to us for our use and for its care,” she said. While she acknowledges that God has given humans charge of His creation, Dr. Watson explained, “We should also understand that using God’s creation to meet our needs should be balanced with caring for God’s creation to help sustain and conserve that which God has created so that all we do brings honor and glory to Him.”
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.