Religion and Science


Scientific Theories

Cosmology and Evolution are the two sciences that have proposed thoeries of the origins of the world and humanity.

Cosmology = theories about the origin of the univers

Evolution = idea that plants and animals have developed over time

The Big Bang Theory suggests that a massive explosion led to the creation of the whole universe

Scientists have observed that the world is still expanding which supports the BBT

In 1965 cosmic background radiation was discovered which provides evidence for remnants of light from the very hot beginnings of the universe

Evolution - Charles Darwin explored the world and his discoveries are central to this theory.

Argued that life began with v. simple cells and later developed into different species due to environmental and other factors. - Survival of the fittest. Natural Selection. His theory stated that Humans had evolved from apes. 

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Christian Teachings about the origin of the world

The book of Genesis contains accounts of the creation of the world and humanity

'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' - Genesis 1:1

The creation of the world by God was designed to perfectly suit the needs of all forms of life

Creationist View is the literal understanding of creation taken directly from the Bible

  • Believe earth and everything in in was formed in six days (seventh day for rest)
  • Fossils put on earh by devil to test faith
  • Humans were made in the image of God (created day 6)
  • God was creator

Non - Literal View is the more liberal approach to the creation story

  • Believe God created the world, but not in six days - it is a simplified story, the world was created in six periods of time.
  • God as creator - Intelligent design
  • Accept Genesis, but do not take everything literally
  • Can accept Big Bang Theory and Evolution - God began the process
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Relationship Between Science and Religion

Creationists do not support scientific theories of how the world began, they support their views witg tge work of James Ussher who calculated the actual time of creation by working through all the dates in the Bible. He worked out it took place on 26 October 4004 BCE. Billions of years after the date given by science.

Non - Literal Christians can accept scientific theories of both the Big Bang and Evolution as they believe that God was the cause of both these events. They consider the creation story a myth with important truths within it - God was responsible for creation.

Religion represents HOW and science explains WHY

St Augustine stated that God must have invented time when he made the rest of creation, so therefore God's ceation happened outside of time as we understand it.

St Augustine said that in the beginning God only created germs or causes for the forms of life which afterwards would develop. - Believed the process was gradual - Evolution

Charles Darwin put forward the idea of natural selection.

Genesis viewed by some as an account that gives purpose and direction to the world - not how

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The Place of Humanity in Relation to Animals

According to Christians the following only apply to humans:

  • Created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27)
  • Have a soul that is eternal
  • Have been created to praise and serve God and to enjoy His company forever
  • Human life is special and unique
  • Have rights and duties
  • Reflect the nature of God
  • Relationship with God.

It is clear from Jesus' teaching that God cares about animals as well as people: 'Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, yet God feeds them' - Luke 12:24

In Genesis people are instructed to act as stewards 'Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and other every living creature' - Genesis 1:28 - can be interpreted to mean to care for the animals.

The Bible states that 'The seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall no do any work, or any of your animals' - Deuteronomy 5

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Attitudes to Animals and their Treatment

Christians believe that as rulers over animals it is acceptable to use animals for human benefit.

Humans also have a responsibility as stewards to ensure that animals are cared for and in acceptable conditions and are not abused or mistreated.

This is because they believe that everything in the world belongs to God 'The earth is the Lord's and everything in it' - Psalm 24 

Unnecessary or abusive use of animals is against this teaching, so many Xians will disagree with the use of animals for cosmetics testing or non-essential clothing 

All Church teachings reflect the concern for the environment and the care of animals 

Catholic Church believes 'medical and scientific experimentatiokn on animals is morally acceptable if it remains in reasonable limits and contributes to caring and saving human lives' It teaches that unnecessary suffering should never be inflicted.

Church of England believe humans have a responsibility of care for the welfare of animals even though it may be necessary to use them in experiments at times e.g. new drug/disease. Believes suffering should be kept to a minimum.

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Concept of Stewardship and Teachings related to en

Christians believe that the earth and everything on it belongs to God. He has given people the role on earth as stewards. This means acting as caretakers for both the earth and its inhabitants.

God gave humans dominion - authority and control over creation.

Overusing natural resources or destroying habitats is unacceptable to Christians. It is an abuse of God's trust.

Stewardship should mean that humans protect the environment and animals from EXPLOITATION, by caring for the world and preserving it for future generations.

Christians can act as good stewards in everyday lives by:

  • recycling as much of their waste as possible
  • choosing products that they consume carefully e.g. Fairtrade products + only whats's needed
  • efficient and eco-friendly energy sources in their homes e.g. solar panels for electricity.

Xians may get involved in conservation groups or environment campaigns for ex. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth - niether set up with Xianity in mind, but both reflect the Xian ideals

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