THE BIG IDEA:
When viewed from the right perspective, 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.
Our culture says that real truth can be found in the science lab. Can beakers and microscopes tell us what life is really about?
- What I want the group to know and understand: Science is actually a support to our Christian faith, not a threat to it.
- What I want the group to 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.
- How I want the group to respond: With a growing sense of excitement about God’s creation and how it displays his beauty and genius.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Many people face a crisis of belief when their thoughts about God are seemingly contradicted by scientific explanations. It’s critical to see that science actually supports and strengthens faith, not undermines it.
Imagine you’ve been sitting with DeMarcus at lunch. He talks about his science class a lot since it’s right before lunch. Everything DeMarcus has been hearing in science class is giving him second thoughts about his faith. “It just seems like everything I hear in science contradicts 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.
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.
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 by trusting in the truth and reliability of God’s Word and seek to line up what we know scientifically from there. 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 scientist says (e.g.: God created the world versus the claim that there is no God involved in creation). But we shouldn’t assume that science is right just because it’s science. God is the only one we can make that assumption about.
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 raise 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.
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.