Science and Religion


The Big Bang Theory

- 1920s

- Edward Hubble observed that light from stars became redder the further they travelled from the earth

- From this he deduced that the universe is expanding outwards, and, be measuring the red shift, he calculated the speed they were travelling and the date this movement must have begun

- Its start was nicknamed the 'Big Bang' and postulates a cosmic explosion of enormous energy and heat from which all matter was formed


- Creationism is the belief that the universe and life originate from specific acts of divine creation

- Creationists believe the Bible gives a factual account of God's creation of the world in 6 days

- Features of the world can be explained as prematurely aged by God, or the product of past catastophes such as Noah's Flood

- Other Creationists maintain that creation is an ongoing process in which God plays a part

- The view doesn't negate God's role at the start of creation, but places greater emphasis on God's role in the daily life of humans

- The Genesis story isn't a literal account of creation, but a story designed to help people understand the relationship with God and the natural world


- Charles Darwin: 19th Century - 'On the Origin of Species': 1859

- A result of observations made during his voyage on HMS Beagle and a further 20 years of scientific study

- "I am almost convinced that species are not immutable"

- All life is related and has evolved from a common ancestor

- This challenged the Church's teaching that God created each species of animals and designed humans to be like himself

- The changes in species occur through Natural Selection

- Those species who are well adapted pass on their characteristics to the next generation. The inferior members of a species would eventually die out. This can be likened to animal breeding

- This idea conflicted with the account in Genesis that every being is created for a special purpose

- Darwin wasn't arguing for totally random creation, rather Natural Selection has a cause, but it lacks a controlling intelligence or sense of purpose

- Mill noted that the world is wasteful and cruel as species die out or are killed, and this links to Darwin's idea that there is no place in his world for a God


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