The BIG IDEA
Science supports faith in God instead of calling it into question.
Some people find it difficult to believe in God because they think that belief doesn’t fit with scientific discoveries and theories.
Realize that science and faith complement each other and are not in contradiction.
Why THIS MATTERS
Many people face a crisis of belief when their thoughts about God seem to conflict with science. It’s critical to see that science actually supports and strengthens faith, not undermining it.
I WANT MY STUDENTS TO:
- KNOW: Science is actually a support to our Christian faith, not a threat to it.
- EXPERIENCE: Confidence to explore the relationship between science and faith and see how one supports the other; freedom from intimidation by those who hold different views.
- DO: Develop a security in knowing that faith and science fit together.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leaders like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
*WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Imagine you’ve been sitting with DeMarcus. He talks about his classes a lot. Everything DeMarcus has been hearing in his classes is giving him second thoughts about his faith. “It just seems like some of the things I hear in my classes contradict what I hear when I go to church or read my Bible.” What would you say to DeMarcus?
As you listen to responses from your group, look for a chance to talk about your own experience with this topic. This will help your group see that it’s OK to wrestle with these hard issues.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
*1. Read Psalm 19:1–6. Some may see our huge universe as pointless and without purpose. What does verse 1 say about God’s purpose for the heavens, the sky, and the rest of creation?
It declares God’s glory. In other words, it shows off how amazing he is.
*2. Think about how vast the universe is (at least 100 billion galaxies with some like our Milky Way galaxy having 300 billion stars, according to skyandtelescope.com). Or consider how intricate the human body is (about 37 trillion cells, according to smithsonianmag.com). Some would argue it’s possible these things are the result of random chance. But how do you think the writer of Psalm 19 would explain these things?
Allow the group to discuss. These things show God’s strength, wisdom, greatness, and care in creating all this and holding it all together (see Colossians 1:15–17).
3. Verses 2–3 say there’s no speech or words, but their voice goes out through all the earth. What do you think this means?
The heavens, sky, and the rest of God’s creation don’t literally talk, but they’re always “talking” everywhere about how awesome God is. In other words, the greatness and majesty of the heavens, sky, and the rest of God’s creation point to the greatness and majesty of God himself.
4. Verses 4–6 say the sun has an “excitement” about going through the sky each day to show off God’s awesomeness. It’s like a new husband jumping out of bed the morning after his honeymoon starts. What does this tell you about the way God has built his creation?
Allow the group to discuss. He’s built his creation to show off with excitement how great he is.
*5. Read Psalm 19:7–9. What do these verses say about the truth of God’s word?
It’s perfect, reliable, right, pure, true, and desirable.
*6. How are God’s creation and God’s word similar?
Allow the group to discuss. They show off how amazing God is in different ways.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
7. Based on these verses, how do God’s creation and his word relate?
They go together and both show off God’s glory in different ways. His creation shows his power, greatness, and wisdom. God’s word shows all these things but also points uniquely to his love, undeserved favor, and plan to rescue and lead us through Jesus Christ.
*8. How do you think the writer of verses 7–9 would encourage us to handle it when there’s a conflict between his word and what science suggests?
Allow the group to discuss. We should start with understanding the truth and reliability of God’s word and seek to line up what we know scientifically from there. (see Why you can Believe the Bible if you have questions about that topic). We should also realize that because we’re finite people dealing with an infinite God and a boundless universe, we’re not going to be able to reconcile everything. In addition, we should see that sometimes there’s a conflict we can’t resolve between God’s word and what a particular scientist says (e.g.: God created the world versus the claim that there is no God involved in creation. There are top scientists in many different fields who believe in God, and there are others who don’t). We shouldn’t assume that science is right just because it’s science.
9. How does good interpretation of the Bible and a good understanding of the scientific method help resolve some conflicts between Christianity and science?
Allow the group to discuss. Sometimes a conflict goes away when we understand a passage more accurately. For instance, the apparent conflict between those who date the earth as millions of years old and the six-day creation account in Genesis is resolved in part by realizing that we can either understand the word “day” in the Old Testament to be a literal 24-hour period, or to be an age. The conflict can also be resolved in part by realizing that the main purpose of Genesis is to encourage God’s people to trust and follow him, not to give a scientific explanation of creation.
A good understanding of the scientific method can also go a long way toward resolving conflicts between Christianity and science. The scientific method focuses on the realm of observable, repeatable phenomena. So questions like, “Did God create the world?” or “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” aren’t in conflict with science. They’re simply outside the realm of science since the scientific method isn’t equipped to answer these and other questions that arise from our study of the Bible.
10. Read Matthew 24:35. How does the relationship between science and Christianity ultimately depend on our view of Jesus and our trust in him?
Allow the group to discuss. Jesus said that his word will endure forever. It’s an anchor for our lives far more certain than anything science can give us. Since Jesus has proven he’s worthy of our trust through his perfect life, death for our sins, and resurrection, we can trust that what he says about the truth of his word is reliable.
If your group is wrestling with this topic, consider brainstorming a list of top questions with your group. Assign different people to research each one and report on your findings next week. If you choose to do this, make sure that you as a leader have a general sense of Christ-grounded responses to each topic.
*For additional input on the relationship between Christianity and science, check out the following from EveryStudent.com:
- “Is There a God?” (http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html), which shows how discoveries from science point to God’s existence.
- “Is God Real?” (http://www.everystudent.com/wires/Godreal.html), which shows how the DNA code points to God’s reality.
- “Did God Create the Universe?” (http://www.everystudent.com/wires/universe.html), which discusses the relationship between biblical and scientific claims about the beginning of the universe.
- “Scientists Baffled by Laws of Nature” (http://www.everystudent.com/wires/organized.html), which explores the laws of nature and how they point to God’s existence.
- “How Could Adam be the First Human?” (http://www.everystudent.com/forum/first.html), which gives biblical perspective on our earliest ancestors.
- “Did God Create the Universe in Six Days?” (http://www.everystudent.com/wires/sixdays.html), which explores the apparent tension between scientific claims that the universe is billions of years old and the biblical claim that God created the world in six days.
Here are a few science books for Christians who are trying to understand how science fits into a framework of the faith.
Books by Dr. Stephen Meyer et al.:
-Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design
-Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
-Darwinism, Design, and Public Education
Books by John Lennox:
Seven days that divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science
Website for Center for Science and Discovery:
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.