Big idea: Christians hold different views on how Genesis fits with science, but we can agree on some important theological principles.
Ready for Impact (5 mins)
Take time to welcome any newcomers and catch up on the past week (over drinks or snacks if possible).
Pray a short prayer, asking for the wisdom and insight to have a helpful discussion that informs our lives on campus.
Impacted by the Word, part 1 (10 mins)
Read the following quote:
It's a big book, full of big stories with big characters. They have big ideas (not least about themselves) and make big mistakes. It's about God and greed and grace; about life, lust, laughter and loneliness; it's about birth, beginnings and betrayal; about siblings, squabbles and sex; about power and prayer and prison and passion, and that's only Genesis.
Discuss: How many Biblical passages can you think of that speak about the origin of the created order?
(Hint: it's not just Genesis! Think Psalms, the gospels, Paul's letters...)
Impacted by the Word, part 2 (15 mins)
Read: Genesis 1.
Then watch the following video from the Bible Project:
Reflect individually, then discuss: what are the most important theological ideas in Genesis 1?
(Hints: What does it say about God? About God’s relationship with the universe? About God’s relationship with humankind?)
Impacting Our Hearts (15 mins)
Read through the three following common interpretations of Genesis 1.
1. Young Earth
Genesis 1 is a historical and scientific, common-sense statement of the facts. The six days in Genesis are twenty-four hours long, so in total God created the world in 144 hours, about 10,000 years ago. Advocates of this view look for scientific evidence that the earth is young, and that evolution cannot have happened.
2. Days = Ages
The ‘days’ of Genesis 1 refer to long periods of time. The events of natural history happened in the order given in Genesis 1, but were stretched out over much longer periods of time. This is consistent with the billions-of-years time frame of evolution, but the order of events is somewhat different.
3. Genesis as theology, not science
Genesis is not a scientific text. We should look first at what the text meant to the first audience to understand its theology (largely the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of creation), then at modern science to understand (mostly) ‘how’ and ‘when’ God created the universe, the earth and life.
Discuss: If we use the theological ideas we laid out in the last section as common ground for all Christians, how does that leave room for different views about how this fits in with science?
If time, watch this video where biologist Francis Collins and theologian NT Wright sing Genesis!
Impacting the University (10 mins)
Discuss: How can we express these different views on how Genesis 1 fits in with science in a way that is helpful to scientists who might be exploring faith?
Wrap up (5 mins)
If time, discuss: what questions remain for you about the topic of creation and evolution?
Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
If you want to explore this week's topic further, take a look at:
Tackling difficult questions
Yes, you can be a Christian and accept evolution
Faraday Churches 'Hot Topics'
Biologos resources on biblical interpretation