The Bible

  • Created by: JennyCP
  • Created on: 28-04-18 16:17

The Bible

  • Believed by Christians to be God's word
  • Oral → Written → Collected & Organised
  • Made up of OT (Creation of Universe & God's r with I) and NT ( Life of J and Early C C)

Old Testament: 

  • Law - Instructions on how to live
  • Stories of Origins - Where life came from
  • History - Story of Israelites going to Promised Land
  • Prophecy - Those who spoke for God → tried to bring people to him
  • Wisdom - Teachings of life and how to live

New Testament:

  • Gospels - GN of Jesus' life & Salv of humanity
  • Historical - Found in Acts of the Apostles → How G was spread & Early Church formed
  • Letters - From CL → Christian communities to help them develop e.g, Paul
  • Apocalyptic - Enco & stren Church with the message that God = faithful & IC of history
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Interpreting the Bible

  • Not all Christians agree about how we should interpret the Bible

Catholic Christians:

  • Don't believe the Bible can be read literally.
  • Bible = result of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
  • Does not need to be read in context

Literalist Christians:

  • Majority of the time Bible is to be read as it is written
  • Exception - if it is clear that the story is a parable
  • Word of God → cannot be wrong.
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Creation - Genesis 1 & 2

  • Creation stories found in the Bible

Genesis 1:

  • God - Creates the world by a spoken command 'let there be... ' → transcendence.
  • God creates everything ready for humans (created on day 6) before He rests.

Genesis 2:

  •  God - Imposing order over chaos → calms the world and orders it.
  • Man created first → God made him from the earth and breathed life into him. 
  • Next, Animals created  → as companions. 
  • Then Woman is created.
  • God → presented as imminent
  •  Humans given responsibility over creation.


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Creation - Interpretations

Catholic Christians:

  • Bible → not written as a scientific or historical book.
  • Creation should not be read in this way → symbolic story.
  • Teaches that God is the source of life → He creates in an organised and loving way → His creation is good and has a purpose.

Literalist Christians:

  • Genesis account should be read literally
  • An account of creation as it happened
  • Word of God → Can't be wrong
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St Augustine & St Catherine of Siena

St Augustine - Creation ex Nihilo

  • God is eternal and transcendent → He can create out of nothing
  • The universe is made by God but is not the same as God
  • Before God created the universe, nothing except for Him existed.
  • God's ability to be able to create out of nothing highlights that He is omnipotent.

St Catherine of Siena - Imago Dei

  • We are created in God's image
  • We belong to God and come from God
  • However, compared to God, we realise we are not perfect
  • We have a dignity and value as a result of being made in God's image.
  • This means our lives are blessed and holy (sanctity of life).
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The Big Bang

The Big Bang

  • A scientific theory
  • Says that the universe stemmed from a point of singularity where energy and matter of the universe exploded.

Georges Lemaitre

  • Roman Catholic priest
  • First person to put forward theory
  • Many people tell how the universe was made but not why.
  • They may say religion gives the why answers that science can't give e.g. our purpose in life
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Pope John Paul II on Evolution

Pope John Paul II

  • The Bible should not be read in a simplistic way (literally)
  • What science tells about evolution can add to wisdom and understanding about life that the Church has.
  • Evolution → strong argument → deserves our attention
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What do the Genesis accounts teach us?

Genesis Creation stories teach that God is:

  • Omnipotent
  • Omnibenevolent
  • eternal
  • ineffable (can't be fully understood)
  • transcendent (Genesis 1)
  • immanent (Genesis 2)
  • God plans His Creation → creates for humans → has plans for human beings

Genesis Creation stories teach that humans are:

  • Created imago Dei → holy 
  • Stewards of creation
  • Have a purpose
  • Created as male and female
  • Have reason ( ability to think for themselves)
  • Humans → created with the ability to have a relationship with God and each other.
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Imago Dei - Abortion (UK law and Catholic view)

Abortion = terminating a pregnancy before the baby has been born.

UK →  Legal as long as:

  • Two doctors agree
  • Valid reason (e.g. mother's life at risk)
  • Occurs before 24 weeks
  • In some extreme cases, legal up until 40 weeks (e.g. saving mother's life or severe disability)

Catholic Christians

  • Abortion → morally wrong →  God gives life and blesses it → we can't end it through abortion
  • Unborn baby → independent life → has human rights of its own


  • Needs of the baby (to be protected from death)
  • The parents (from the suffering and sadness they might feel)
  • Wider society (to make sure the most vulnerable are cared for)
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Imago Dei - Abortion (Other Christian views and Hu

Other Christians:

  • Agree life is sacred
  • However, there may be times when abortion is the last resort
    • should only happen in very specific situations
      • e.g. to save mother's life it should be done as early as possible
  • Abortion is better avoided
  • Encourage better sex education
  • Adoption should be more commonly used

Humanist →  allow abortion

  • Doesn't believe in God so makes moral choices by considering the consequences of choices
  • Quality of life is more important than sanctity of life e.g. if baby is disabled
  • The time and cost of caring for mother and baby could be better used elsewhere.

Catholic response: A person is still a person born or not, regardless of disability or illness

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SVP (Saint Vincent de Paul Society)

  • Person to person care in local area
  • Seek to help people without judging them
  • Offer support to anyone who requires it
  • Examples: visiting people, helping people to get help, giving young carers a holiday.

CAFOD (Catholic Agency For Overseas Development)

  • Works overseas to provide emergency aid (food and shelter) when an emergency happens.
  • Provide long term support e.g. establishing clinics or building schools.


  • Jesus taught most important commandment was to love God and others
  • Parable of Good Samaritan → love others even if they are strangers
  • Parable of the Sheep and Goats → Caring for others is rewarded by God
  • Imago Dei → We should care for each other, responsibility to look after God's creation 
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Gaudium et Spes 29 and 78


  • Humans created Imago Dei → all humans are equal
  • Discrimination should not happen
  • Catholics should try to end discrimination of all kinds
  • All humans should make sure that other people are given their rights and fight slavery.


  • Peace comes from justice, love, and obeying the law that God gave to the world
  • Peace can't happen until
    • humans share with each other 
    • respect each other's dignity and worth
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Catholics beliefs about caring for the environment

Catholics would say

  • God made humans the stewards of creation
  • Gave them the job of caring for the world
  • World → God's gift to humanity → humans must care for this gift
  • Humans have the freedom and intelligence to be able to choose to care for the earth.
  • Not sharing the world's resources is like stealing → 10 Commandments 


  • Agree the environment is precious and needs to be looked after
  • Only have one world → we have to care for it
  • Human intelligence → understand importance of caring for environment; human responsibility 
  • Makes logical sense to look after the world as it is where we live
  • Important for human life to flourish and be successful
  • Don't believe responsibility comes from God, but for making world safe & pleasant for → gen
  • Encourage use of contraception → controlling population → enough resources for world atm
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The Catholic Church and interfaith dialogue

Church sees the value of being in a dialogue with other faiths and people of no faith.                       They see that this helps make relationships between groups in society and strengthen commun


  • Regularly meeting with representatives of other faiths to discuss big issues in the world 
    • e.g Pope meets with Muslim faith to discuss issues about religion today
    • Also happens locally in Loughborough, different faith groups meet together
  • Whilst the Church believes that Christianity has the whole truth, other faiths have truths too and they should be valued and respected
    • all created equally by God → no discrimination
  • Meet together to pray or respond to world issue, religious or not
    • Pope Francis asked for people to pray for Syria; organised by CAFOD in the UK
  • Catholic schools welcome students from other faiths or no faith
    • allows students to know people of different faiths and respect the way of life
  • Catholic schools teach about other religions
    • Church values and respects other religions / helps to understand each other better

Why? Build up commun to move towards peace, everyone's equal (ID), All S of C, respect

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Use of Art to show beliefs - Tree Of Life


  • Found in Basilica of San Clemente in Rome
  • Contains symbols to connect to the life and death of Jesus with the Genesis stories of Creation and was created to show that Jesus is like the new Adam.
  • The title 'Tree of Life' is referring to the Cross, which for Christians brings new life.
  • The pictures symbols all have deeper meanings behind them:
  • Chi Rho → Greek word for Christ begins with XP. "Christ" = anointed one, one with a special task.
  • Alpha and Omega → First & last letters of Greek alphabet, Christ = the beginning and the end
  • Lamb → Jesus = sacrifice. He is the centre lamb with halo to show His divinity. 12 Sheep = A
  • Doves → Holy Spirit = 12 represent A filled by it. Doves = peace that Jesus brought to us
  • Four Evangelists → M, M, L & J who wrote the Good News about Jesus
  • The Vine → In Gospels, vine shows we are connected to Jesus and that he can help us bear fruit e.g. develop good qualities. Also linked with Church = life of the Church, different people
  • The Cross → Jesus' death = brought new life. C believe J opened the gates of Heaven ad.
  • Jesus → Shown in the heavens at the top of the image. Shown as resurrected and overseeing the whole of creation and the whole of the church.
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Use of Art to show beliefs - Michelangelo's Creati

  • Part of a much larger piece of art showing Bible stories from the Book of Genesis
  • Show key ideas about God creating, punishing, and saving His people.
  • Painted on panels of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
  • Another piece of artwork in the Chapel is the image of Final Judgement, J judging humanity

This piece of art shows the idea of God as the creator of Adam and shows the relationship between God and humans. Creation of Adam → Imago Dei

What it shows about God:

  • Physically strong → reflects his omnipotence
  • Older man (appearance) → He is eternal and existed before the world was created
  • Reaching out to Adam (humankind) → He is keen to have a relationship with humans.
  • Surrounded by angels in heaven, which is shaped like a womb → God is where life comes from
  • Heaven also shaped like a brain → shows where consciousness comes from.
  • God is dressed simply → showing His desire to be accessible to humans
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Use of Art to show beliefs - Michelangelo's Creati

What it shows about humans:

  • Adam mirroring God's posture and physicality → Humans are created by God and in His image
  • Fingers aren't touching (epistemic distance) → Humans are at a distance from God 
  • Adam isn't trying to touch God → Humans don't always respond to God as they should
  • Adam is naked → innocence of humans when they were created before they disobeyed God
  • Adam = strong creation → has his eyes set on God who he knows has made him.

What it shows about creation:

  • Creation is from God
  • Creation is intimately watched over by God
  • Reminds Christians that God is the source of life
  • Christians depend on him
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Judaism in Origins and Meaning

  • Torah → first 5 books of Tenakh → holy and important source of teaching for Jews.
  • Jews believe the Torah was received by Moses on Mount Sinai
  • Many Orthodox Jews → words of Torah are not to be changed - only read literally
  • Reform & Liberal Jews → Torah needs to be interpreted to help more with everyday life
  • Oral Torah → spoken form → given to Moses and has been passed down
    • Orthodox = Source of Authority
    • Reform = Not Source of Authority

God the Creator

  • Life depends on God → The only creator → pray a prayer of thanks every day (modeh ani)
  • Same two creation stories as Christians → Shabbat → Sabbath & RH → Day G C t w
  • Orthodox → Creation story needs to be read literally → completely true
  • Reform → Liberal interpretation is better → story is not a historical account
  • Some → Accept theories of BB and E → way God created the world we now live in
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Judaism on abortion

  • Life = created by God → Sacred
  • Humans made in God's image → has a plan for every life
  • Abortion challenges God's command to populate the world → act of wounding another person
  • 10 Commandments → Taking life is forbidden → Talmud → when teaching can be put aside

- Most Jews → Unborn foetus not a person until born.

- Some Jews → Only God can take life → Pikuach Nefesh "saving of a life" → Destroying one life is like destroying the world.

- Many Reform Jews → Abortion can be allowed to save the mother's life and in other serious cases.

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Exam techniques

Knowledge and understanding → What do you know?

Impact → What does this mean for people's lives and beliefs?

Sources of Authority → Refer to anthologies, teachings

Specialist vocabulary → RE words

In evaluation question add in

Judgments → What do I think?

Other opinions → Atheists, Humanists, Other Christians, Jews.

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