Conflict between science and religion is
epitomised in the debate between the Big Bang
Theory and Creationism.
The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory states that in the beginning
- There was a huge explosion of dense matter
- Gravity came into being
- The universe expanded- and is seems to be expanding today.
Big Bang Theory Conflicts...
- That God was the First Cause of the universe, in his role as creator.
- Providential Creation (intentional expression of the goodness of God).
- That species were not created separately or instantly, but evolved over a long period of time.
- The uniqueness of humankind.
- The authority of scripture and how we should interpret it.
- That the universe was created in 6 days (Genesis) but tells how it is over 13.7 billion years old.
Big Bang in supporting Theology...
- The Doctrine of creation ex-nihilo, scientists believe that nothing existed before the Big Bang.
- The accuracy of Genesis, that the first thing to be created was light.
- Scripture is the inerrant (not liable to error) word of God.
- It was literally inspired by God, and so we should place emphasis on the truth of the Bible, not on interpretations of it.
- This leads creationists to often oppose the Big Bang theory on the grounds that it is only a theory.
"The stories of the Bible, are setting out spiritual meanings of very great depth and significance. They are not meant to be literally true"
This is a liberalist approach, and one that many Christians take.
- God created the world in 6 days, ex nihilo.
- "In the beginning God creeated the heavens and earth"
- Everything God makes has a purpose for being, and in the 2nd Genesis account, humans were created before plants and animals.
- Belief in The Big Bang Theory:
- The creation accounts have higher spiritual meaning. They are myths that contain important truths that God was ultimately responsible for creation.
- Dyas in the Genesis account may be references to periods of time, where developments occured in the evolutionary process.
- Many Christians believe that Science explains how the world came into being and religion explains why. In this way, religion gives a purpose to life.
"Science asks how things happened, religion asks why. Genesis is not there to give short, technical answers about how the universe began. It gives us a big answer that things exist because of God's will. One can perfectly well believe in the Big Bang, but believe in it as well as the will of God the creator."
Do humans have a purpose?
"God created man in his own image"
This implies that humans were 'set apart' from th rest of creation, as the soul differentiates humans from animals.
"Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the Earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground"
"You appointed him ruler over everything, you placed him over all creation"
The Place of Humanity in relation to animals
- We were given responsibilty for looking after the whole of creation, and were also given free will, to be able to choose how to treat the world including animals.
- Jesus showed though his teachings that God cares about animals and that they will not be forgotten by God.
- God loved humanity so much he was willing to let hiis son die in order to restore a relationship with them, therefore human life is special and unique.
- St. Francis of Assisi was a Christian saint who believed animals had souls, and spoke out about animals and their treatment.
Treatment of Animals
- Both the Roman Catholic Church and Church of England recognize the need for animal testing in order to save human lives, however they agree that suffering must be kept to a minimum.
- Christian churches such as the CofE, Methodist church and Quakers have all spoken out against the way animals are treated.
"Developments in science, medecine and technology should be monitored in the light of Christian ethical principles" -Chruch of England
- Earth and all life on it is a gift from God to grow and develop not to dominate and exploit
- Our actions have consequences for the resources of the earth.
- The beauties of nature are to be enjoyed and celebrated as well as consumed.
- We have a responsibility as Christians, to create a balance between conservation and consumption.
- We must consider the welfare of future generations in utilising the earth's resources.
- The Pope clearly stated how Roman Catholics should behave in relation to the earth; of how the earth and all life are gifts from God and should be treated with respect.
- The Harvest Thanksgiving is on festival that promotes care for others.
- The World Council of Churches stated that Christians needed to demonstrate concern for the state of the environment.
- Christians might act as good stewards by recycling, buying fair-trade products, or using efficient eco friendly sources of energy suh as solar power.
- They might join conservation groups.