Creation

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  • Created by: evie
  • Created on: 11-05-13 17:43

The Medieval world-view

  • the accepted structure of the universe was based on observation and mathematics.
  • any irregularities in the universe were put down to movement of the heavenly bodies, because scientific reasoning had to be within the Christian faith.
  • It was accepted that God created the universe and was maintaining and controlling it still.
  • The accepted world view was that the universe was geocentric; earth was flat and motionless in the center of the universe, and the planets orbited it, God put humans on earth, at the centre of creation and gave them dominance over all living things.
  • The Christian church taught that a persons present existence didn't matter and all that mattered was their eternal fate after death.
  • All the scholars were theologians, who were more concerned with how to achieve heaven, than how the universe functioned.
  • There was no concept of natural laws because everything that happened was explained as work of God. God was the first and final cause of everything.
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Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas

  • Aristotle made observations and concluded that there was an 'unmoved mover' who moved the heavenly bodies in perfect circles.
  • Aquinas wrote commentaries on Aristotle's unmoved mover, and concluded that it was God.
  • He rejected Aristotle's assertion that the world was eternal.
  • The God of the old testament was much more personal and involved in the creation of the universe than Aristotle's unmoved mover.
  • God had created the universe in a fixed time and on the sixth day, he placed human life on earth at the centre of creation.
  • The earth which God created was changing, and could be corrupted by sin.
  • Above the earth there was the incorruptible realm of God, in which the heavenly bodies moved in circles.
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The discoveries of Galileo Galeli and Isaac Newton

  • Galileo Galilei was the first astronomer to make systematic observations of the universe through a telescope.
  • He realised that we didn't live in a closed, earth-centered universe, but an immeasurable space.
  • Galileo's observations supported a heliocentric universe in which the heavenly bodies were not made of a substance superior to the earth.
  • He proved that the heavenly bodies were not unchanging or infinite, and that the movement of planets was natural and was not the result of a mover. 

  • he believed that the scripture must be metaphorical, but still accepted that by studying the universe, we would find out more about God.
  • Isaac Newton based his findings on a Christian world-view.
  • He believed that because man was made in the image of God, he had a perception of God's creation.
  • Newton discovered the laws of gravity and motion, and demonstrated that the same physical laws we know today are applicable throughout the whole universe.
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Religion and science seperate

  • Newton developed a new kind of reflecting telescope, essentially inventing modern techniques of scientific investigation. Science no longer depended on observation alone, ideas had to be tested and hypothesis backed up with evidence and fact.
  • Scientific developments had proved that the planets orbited the sun according to strict patterns, everything was seen as governed by a set of unbreakable, natural laws, which could be discovered by scientific inquiries.
  • Experiments, rather than philosophy, became the source of truth.
  • Many were able to accept this 'new philosophy' without loosing their faith, whilst others saw it as a reason to abandon faith all together. 
  • Human life was no longer regarded as unique, as a heliocentric universe was proved.
  • scientists no longer had to refer to God in order to explain how the physical world worked.
  • For many, religion became a thing to 'fall back on', it was only referred to when science had no answers (God of the Gaps)
  • God was no longer seen as the controller of everything, the universe controlled itself. This lead to the development of Deism, the belief that once God 'set things off' the universe was left to run itself
  • the medieval world-view was proved wrong resulting in many taking a skeptical approach to scripture. Many scientists dismissed religion all together
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The Big Bang Theory

  • The Big Bang Theory is an explination for the origin of the universe.
  • It was developed in the 1940's and is said to have taken 14 billion years ago.
  • The theory states that all matter in the universe was created from a giant explosion called the 'Big Bang', before this there was nothing but singularity.
  • Less than a second after the explosion, time and space began. 
  • The theory supports an ever-changing universe, because it states that the universe is still evolving. 
  • It's proved that the universe is continually expanding.
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The evolutionary ladder

  • life has evolved by natural mechanistic processes
  • the first life-form of a single organism arose from inanimate matter
  • All life-forms originated from this simple organism.
  • There was a gradual development of increasingly complex life-forms.
  • There is unlimited variation in nature, and evolution is continuing
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck believed that organisms changed and adapted to suit their environment. At the bottom of the 'evolutionary ladder' were microscopic organisms and from these, complex life-forms had developed.
  • The organs that a life-form uses frequently will increase in size and strength to meet the needs of their species. The organs that aren't needed for survival will grow smaller and smaller, until they disappear.
  • individuals acquire characteristics from their ancestors e.g the long neck of the giraffe was a result of many, many generations of stretching to reach leaves, the giraffes with the longer necks survived because they could reach food, and the giraffes with the shorter necks died, so eventually, only long-necked giraffes were left. 
  • Natural selection :the characteristics that aid survival will lead to more members of that species acquiring the characteristic, because those that do not have it will die before they can reproduce.Characteristics that help the species survive will be passed on from generation to generation, until all members of the species have inherrited it.
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Charles Darwin and Survival of the fittest

  • Until Charles Darwin put forward his evolutionary theories, religious believers were able to challenge athiests by asking how chance alone could create such an intricate world - and the athiests had no good answer.
  • Darwins theory was to provide athiests with a credible mechanism by which life could arise without the need of a creator. 
  • Darwin travelled on the HMS beagle and collected samples of species of animals, it was here where he discovered that Finches that live in different areas have different shaped beaks, that are suited to their environment.
  • He soon realised and developed his theory of evolution, but delayed publishing his work in fear that he would be rejected by the church, eventually he published his findings in On the Origin of species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. 
  • His observations led him to conclude that organisms produce more offspring than can survive, the offspring have variations and depending on the environment, some of these variations will help some offspring survive better than others.
  • The ospring that prosper will go on to produce more offspring, increasing the number with this particular variation. Therefore, this variation will assist the survival of the species; this is knows as Survival of The Fittest.
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Darwins effect on creationism

  • Darwins theory of evolution undermined religion in a number of ways:
    • he showed how living things developed in small steps, and how this could be the result of chance. 
    • he showed that life-forms were not in their final form at the time of creation
    • things changed to suit the environment, this conflicted with the bible which said that God created the environment for living things.
    • nature was red in tooth and claw, this didn't match the idea of a gentle, loving God. 
  • In 1871, Darwin published his finding on human origins in The Descent of Man. He accounted for all human characterists by natural selection from other life-forms, and concluded that humans descended from ape-like creatures.
  • This had attacked the Christian concept that humans were unique and made in 'Gods image'. 
  • Christians believed that humans had a soul and this distinguished them from animals, but if humans evolved from ape-like creatures, there is no such soul.
  • Darwin had cast doubt over the biblical account of creation, especially the story of Adam and Eve.

 

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Different Christian views on science and creation

  • Fundamental Christians
    • the Bible is the inspired word of God, and is there for literal truth.
    • any science that conflicts with the Biblical account of creation is wrong.  
    • life was created by God
    • plants, animals and had all their characteristics when created.
    • This has led to the development of scientific creationism.
  • Conservative Christians
    • scripture was written by divinely inspired humans
    • inerrancy; biblical accounts were of the writers time and may be outdated.
    • In the Bible there are spiritual truths, but parts need to be interprated because of how much our knowledge has developed.
  • Liberal Christians
    • creation accounts are not to be taken literally, writers use myth to convey the message.
    • The Bible was written by individuals who were influenced by the time and the culture they lived in.
    • The messages of the Bible are more powerfully put across is story form

 

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Creationism

  • Young Earth Creationism
    • claims a literal interpretation of the Bible believing that the Earth is 6000 years old
    • life was created in six 24-hour days and decay came as a result of Adam and Eve's fall
    • Geology must be interperated in terms of Noahs flood. 
    • They accept a heliocentric universe and argue that God made the earth look old, when in fact it's not.
  • Old Earth Creationism
    • Old Earth Creationists accept the great age of the earth, some view the 6 days in genesis and 6 time periods of great length. 
    • There are two types of Old Earth Creationism; Progressive and Gap:
  • Progressive Creationism
    • Progressive creationists accept the scientific age of the earth, but new species of plants and animals that have appeared proves that God directly interviens to create new species.
  • Gap Creationism
    • Gap Creationists suggest that certain accounts of human past have been ommited from the bible, and there are gaps in between stories of the bible. E.g inbetween the 6 days of creation and the fall of man, there was a gap that perhaps lasted tens of thousands of years.
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Intelligent Design Theory/Irreducible Complexity

  • Intelligent design is the claim that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause
  • Not everyone who accepts this theory thinks the intelligent being is God, although the intelligent designer is often described to intervien in ways which only a god could intervien.
  • Micheal Behe argues that some structures at the biochemical level are too complex to be adequatley explained by evolution alone.
  • Several structures needed to develop at the same time for the development to have taken place and could not therefore be the result of natural selection.
  • Behe calls this development irreducible complexity and believes that an intelligent designer is the only valid explanation for these complex structures.
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Is God a sustainer?

  • God as a 'sustainer'
    • If God is transcendent then God is seperate and superior to the physical, material world.
    • however, most Christians believe God sustains the world and accept that God came into the world in the form of Jesus.
    • God is for most Christians both transcendent and immanent.God is wholly involved in his creation as both 'creator' and 'sustainer' of all things.
    • John Polkinghorne
      • Polkinghorne argues that God is the sustainer of the physical world we live in
      • he states that no experiment can prove this point, it's all a matter of faith and this faith can be supported by insights provided by science.
      • patterns seen in the universe are far too beautiful to appear by random chance, or one initial act of creation
  • God as a creator not a sustainer
    • Deists argue that the act of creation was a single event, after God had created, he left the universe to evolve on its own accord without any interfierence.
    • Deists assert that God does not interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. They can accept the Big Bang as how God started the process of creation, but for a Deist, God definatley does not sustain the universe.
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Theories for the end of the universe.

  • The Big Crunch
    • The Big Crunch is a developing theory that the universe will eventually stop expanding and collapse inwards on itself, destroying everything until it reaches the same state at which it began.
    • Oscillating Universe supporters would then go on to say that another big bang will occur to start off a new universe. In this way, the universe would go on forever but would be a never ending cycle of big bangs and big crunches. 
    • The Big Crunch is an acceptable theory for christians as they believe that God will bring the world to an end on the Day of Judgement. Science is left wondering, as they cant figure out what would make the big bang occur again, but theists just believe it would be the work of God.
  • Heat Death Theory
    • The universe will continue to expand until it reaches a point of total thermal equilibrium (entropy)
    • there won't be enough energy for reactions to occur, the world as we know it will end and the universe will just be in a super-cold state of nothingness.
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Is God a sustainer?

  • God as a 'sustainer'
    • If God is transcendent then God is seperate and superior to the physical, material world.
    • however, most Christians believe God sustains the world and accept that God came into the world in the form of Jesus.
    • God is for most Christians both transcendent and immanent.God is wholly involved in his creation as both 'creator' and 'sustainer' of all things.
    • John Polkinghorne
      • Polkinghorne argues that God is the sustainer of the physical world we live in
      • he states that no experiment can prove this point, it's all a matter of faith and this faith can be supported by insights provided by science.
      • patterns seen in the universe are far too beautiful to appear by random chance, or one initial act of creation
  • God as a creator not a sustainer
    • Deists argue that the act of creation was a single event, after God had created, he left the universe to evolve on its own accord without any interfierence.
    • Deists assert that God does not interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. They can accept the Big Bang as how God started the process of creation, but for a Deist, God definatley does not sustain the universe.
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Creationism

  • Young Earth Creationism
    • claims a literal interpretation of the Bible believing that the Earth is 6000 years old
    • life was created in six 24-hour days and decay came as a result of Adam and Eve's fall
    • Geology must be interperated in terms of Noahs flood. 
    • They accept a heliocentric universe and argue that God made the earth look old, when in fact it's not.
  • Old Earth Creationism
    • Old Earth Creationists accept the great age of the earth, some view the 6 days in genesis and 6 time periods of great length. 
    • There are two types of Old Earth Creationism; Progressive and Gap:
  • Progressive Creationism
    • Progressive creationists accept the scientific age of the earth, but new species of plants and animals that have appeared proves that God directly interviens to create new species.
  • Gap Creationism
    • Gap Creationists suggest that certain accounts of human past have been ommited from the bible, and there are gaps in between stories of the bible. E.g inbetween the 6 days of creation and the fall of man, there was a gap that perhaps lasted tens of thousands of years.
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