Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Youth Sunday School - Nov. 11 (Creation week 2)

This week we finished with the topic of creation for the youth Sunday school class. The previous week we studied Genesis 1-2 in detail and had group discussions about what we learned. This week, I went over the four main schools of thought regarding God's creation technique. Students were then asked to identify where they stood and were then put in groups for a friendly debate about how God may have created.

The great thing about learning about creation is that is is an open-handed issue... many Christians believe God created in 6 literal days and many others believe that's a metaphor for something else. All Christians believe that God is the only God, who created everything out of nothing not because he needed us but because it was a free and loving act. Believing that Genesis 1-2 may not be a literal explanation of HOW God created the universe is okay and doesn't impact our salvation! It made for an easygoing debate with the kids.

Here are the main points from the lesson:

Young Earth Creationism:

  • While the Biblical account isn't a scientific run-down, we can trust it as being accurate, meaning God brought the entire universe into existence in a quick and dramatic fashion in 6 literal days.
  • Math shows that the world would be approximately 6000-8000 years old
  • Belief in a world without a creator or in a world with evolution is too mathematically implausible
  • Creation science seeks to explain why world looks old when it is young (e.g. theories about flood, God creating world in a mature fashion, etc.)
  • This view is the least willing to dialogue with science

Old Earth Creationism:

  • Belief that world may be old but still in agreement with Genesis 1-2
  • Major theory #1: Time-Gap theory - Genesis 1:1 doesn't specify a certain length of time, only that world was formless and empty BEFORE God created life on it - allows for perhaps billions of years between earth's form and formation
  • Major theory #2: days are metaphorical for eras
  • Doesn't generally support theistic evolution but sees merit in other beliefs as well - more willing to dialogue with science

Progressive Creationism:

  • Divine creation is ongoing; God is still creating new life and adapting previous creations
  • Microevolution fits this category
  • Emphasis on creation, not evolution, but no direct opposition to evolution theory either
  • People thought to be a new creation - even if God is adapting other creations, we are not the product of a previous life form

Theistic Evolution:

  • Evolution was part of God's creative purposes; he created slowly
  • God originally created out of nothing and now just adapts previous matter
  • Evolution not seen as a product of chance, but rather a reflection of God's creativity and mystery
  • Not an alternative to creation but part of it
  • Humans seen as culmination of God's creative purposes
  • Mystery remains as to when humans were evolved enough to have souls

Just FYI, nearly all students fell under the Old Earth Creationism category, and none firmly believed theistic evolution. Most students said understanding God's methods weren't their priority but rather their faith in God and his love are... these kids are awesome!

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