Religious Studies: Religion and Science

Religious Studies: Philosophy 2: 'religion and Science'

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  • Created by: Jamie
  • Created on: 11-04-11 10:42

Scientific Theories about the Origins of the World

There are two main types of theory concerned with the creation of the world and humanity, these are:

  • Cosmological theories - Concerned with the beginning of the universe and everything in it. The most famous example is: The Big Bang Theory
  • Evolutionary Theories - Concerned with how humans and life forms came about and have developed over time. The most famous example is: Darwinism
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The Origins of the Universe: Cosmological Theories

The Big Bang is the most widely accepted theory for the creation of the world. The theory claims that the entire universe was formed about 14 billion years ago by a huge explosion of matter and energy. This was the point at which all matter in the universe began; space and time began then too. Over time the universe that we know, and human and animal life, emerged. The earth and our solar system did not develop until about 5 billion years ago.

According to the Big Bang Theory, the universe is still expanding today as a result of this explosion, an idea supported by scientific evidence.

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The Origins of The Universe: Evolutionary Theories

There are many different forms of evolutionary theories all based around the idea that humans, in our current form, are the result of a long period of development.

Charles Darwin came up with the most well known form of evolutionary theory in his book 'The origin of the species' in the 19th century. He claims that plant, animal and human life has been subject to natural selection over millions of years where living things have adapted to the conditions around them. The characteristics best suited to the environment at the time therefore went on to survive while others did not.

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The Origins of The Universe: Christian Beliefs: Ge

Christians believe the world was created from nothing by God.

An account of how the world was created is found in the first book of the Bible: Genesis 1 and Christians have different interpretations of how exactly this story relates to reality.

Key Quote:

'In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth' Genesis 1:1

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The Origins of The Universe: Christian Beliefs: Ge

Genesis 1 tells of the Creation Story of a period of seven 'days' and what God created on each day.

Genesis 1:
Day 1: Night and Day
Day 2: Sky and Water
Day 3: Land and Vegetation
Day 4: Sun, Moon and Stars
Day 5: Creatures of the Sea and Sky
Day 6: Other Living Creatures and Humans
Day 7: God Rested and saw that his Creation was Good.

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The Origins of The Universe: Christian Beliefs: Ge

According to Christian belief, God created the world for humans to live in. Humans are created last and seen as the climax of God's creation.

Genesis 2 is a slightly different account of how the world was made but goes into more detail about how the first humans, Adam and Eve, were made. According to the story, God made Adam from the dust and 'breathed life into his nostrils' and then made Eve by removing one of Adam's ribs.

'God created man in his own image'
Genesis 1:27

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The Origins of The Universe: Christian Beliefs: Di

Within Christianity, there are different schools of thought as to how literally the Genesis account should be taken.

The following are just three of the ways in which the story can be interpreted.

  • Fundamentalist Christians
  • Conservative Christians
  • Liberal (Free) Christians
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The Origins of The Universe: Christian Beliefs: Fu

Fundamentalist Christians take the Bible as literally true and the exactly recorded word of God. The Genesis story should be taken as an exact account of what happened at the beginning of time.

For Fundamentalist Christians, Scientific Theories are wrong.

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The Origins of The Universe: Christian Beliefs: Co

Conservative Christians take the Bible as the inspired word of God but that it may be subject to human error or misinterpretation.

For Conservative Christians, the order of the creation story is right but rather that 7 days it may have been over millions of years and the term 'days' were not a 24 hour day.

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The Origins of The Universe: Christian Beliefs: Li

Liberal (free) Christians agree with scientific theories but they were caused and designed by God.

According to Liberal Christians, the Bible is an important book, that records the thoughts of people trying to understand God, but should not be taken as inspired by God himself.

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Cristian Treatment: People and Animals

According to Christian teachings animals do not have souls. In the book of Genesis this is highlighted when God 'breaths life' into man and man only and we are the only creation made in 'God's image'. (Genesis 1:27)

Animals are created to be ruled over by humans:

'Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and of every living creature that moves on the ground.'
Genesis 1:28

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Cristian Treatment: Dominion and Stewardship

As humans are made in God's image they are seen as special and are in charge of God's creation, an idea known as Dominion.

Humans are given a duty to keep the world in order, an idea known as Stewardship.

Therefore, when it comes to the treatment of animals, they are very much seen as inferior and less important than humans. However, we should not mistreat any part of God's creation.

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Cristian Treatment: The Environment

Christians believe that humans have a responsibility to be good stewards and look after the earth. The same ideas and quotes as listed before apply to the issue of the environment.

While we have dominion over the earth, we must treat all of God's creation with respect.

Many Christians choose to do volunteer work or join support charities in order to show their stewardship to God and those around them.

Humans have already damaged God's creation a lot. This issue is far greater now than it was in the past.

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Exam Success: Basic Rules

There are some basic rules which you need to follow in an exam to reach the higher grades. These are:

  • Always write God with a capital 'G'
  • Always start points with 'Some Christians say...' or 'Some Christians believe...' this is because Christians don't all believe the same things.
  • Use Bible quotes and stories to back up your points, but you must explain them.
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Exam Success: Exam Questions

Example 1:

a) What is Stewardship? (1 Mark)

b) Give two examples of environmental issues. (2 Marks)

c) What are the main scientific theories concerning how the world and humanity came about? (3 Marks)

d) Explain why some Christians might not accept scientific theories about the origins of the world. (6 marks)

e) 'The world is ours to do as we wish'. (12 Marks)
Discuss this statement.

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Exam Success: Exam Questions

Example 2:

a) What is Evolution? (1 Mark)

b) Give two examples of how humans have damaged the environment. (2 Marks)

c) Describe the events in Genesis 1. (3 Marks)

d) Explain Christian beliefs about the origins of the world. (6 marks)

e) 'If Science is right, then religion must be wrong'.
 Discuss this statement. (12 Marks)  

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anna meakin

not bad

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