Searching for small group curriculum on faith and science

Hi all! Can anyone recommend material for an adult Bible study or small group discussion introducing the science and faith intersection? I’ve volunteered to lead a study on this topic it my church in the fall.
I hope to cover a basic “theology of science”, to give a framework for what the Bible teaches on God’s revelation in nature, and how the tools of science can help us live out our faith. I don’t plan to cover specific topic areas like creation or evolution, just starting with the basics.

It looks like Biologos Integrate has great content on this topic, but its format seems better suited for a different setting. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Greetings and welcome! That sounds like a great enterprise. I’ve been thinking about doing that with my church regarding the same subject, using the origins video by Deborah and Lauren Haarsma.

One thing Susanna Applegate recommended is to emphasize how much science can augments our ability to praise the Creator rather than to present it as a new idea.

I like the way the videos do that. In addition, they are pretty concise. However, for more depth, you might want some of the book or else also a book by Denis Lamoureux.

I am glad your church is so open!

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Hi, Michael - and welcome!

This is a great place to gather ideas around that. And in addition to Randy’s bit above, I bet others will chime in with more great resources yet.

I’ll just add this. If you aren’t wanting to necessarily tackle it head-on from the evolution side, you could probably find great online video resource with Kathrine Hayhoe and her series on “Global Weirding” as she addresses climate change. Of course, she’s a scientist and so nearly all of those videos are about the science, and not so much about Bible. She is a Christian and does address those religious concerns too, so if you look through the many videos available at the link above, you’ll see some down on the list where she does talk about what the Bible says. It could be good fodder for Bible study discussion.

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We are in the process of developing some small group studies but they won’t be ready for a year or so. You are right that Integrate is more for science classrooms, though some people have adapted it for adult small groups. It isn’t really a “Bible study” though.

Origins might work, though it does focus on certain issues (like the age of the earth, the flood, creation) and goes through what different Christian positions are and what the strengths and weaknesses are. The big pro is that it is set up for using with small groups and the book has lots of additional resources like a video series and discussion questions.

If you want to just touch on things like the “two books” idea (God reveals truth through his works, nature, and his words, the Bible, you might be able to find some articles on the BioLogos website to jump off from. You could talk about the Body and how Christian scientists can be an asset to the church when they are trusted not treated with suspicion. There are lots of profiles on BioLogos.org of Christians in science treating their work as a vocation that advances the Kingdom. Another interesting idea for people is jus basic epistemology stuff. How do we know truth from reading the Bible/listening to the Holy Spirit/discerning with other Christians and how do we know truth from studying the natural world? What kinds of questions can each kind of knowledge help us answer and what are the limitations? How are the processes of drawing conclusions in each area similar or different? What makes a theological or scientific claim trustworthy? Most people have never thought about how our theological understanding has developed over time as the church understands God better and has new situations to apply truth in, and our scientific understanding has developed over time as we understand nature better and come up with new ways to test, observe, and analyze what we find. In both cases there are processes for testing new ideas and valuing consensus, it’s not a free for all.

Katharine has a new series out with Tearfund that is explicitly Christian and addresses creation care from a Christian values/ Bible perspective. It’s here:

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If you are avoiding issues like evolution but still want to bring and science the stewardship/ creation care stuff is pretty good. The Bible talks about how humans are to help maintain and protect the garden / land. That includes caring for wildlife. We know that James says if we see someone hungry we don’t just say be well fed but help feed them. So we know when it says god cares for the poor one of the ways he does that is by having us care for them. That can all translate over to god caring for birds by having us look out for them. The theological principle can be built there.

Then we can look at science on how to care about birds? Such as if you live in a woodland that has been cut down science shows up that by adding native trees to the yards it gives more home opportunities for birds. Science shows us that by using native angiosperm forbs and woods shrubs that host native insects it results in way more caterpillars which means way more food for chicks. Science shows us that as urbanization fragments wildlife and add toxins to our waters , such as many puddles in yards are full of pesticides and nitrogen, that by adding and maintaining bird baths and ponds it helps them stay healthy. Science even shows us that feral cats and outdoor cats contribute to biodiversity decline ( and has even caused some extinctions ) and so by keeping your cats inside or having cat enclosures and enclosed cat walks the cat can move from inside to outside without a high risk of killing or being killed.

In the study you can easily even encourage a birdwatching hobby thst gets people and families outside to enjoy nature and wile birdwatching also pick up human trash. Tons of ways to link science and faith in stewardship. It’s also far less combative or challenging then evolution and bringing in myth literary tool used in the Bible.

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This is a great book, focuses more on the science end but would be a good reference text or resource for your study. It is more like a college textbook/

Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins: Cosmology, Geology, and Biology in Christian Perspective (BioLogos Books on Science and Christianity)

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One approach is to go with what you’re already passionate about. Is there anything that you are passionate about in science that maybe others can help link to a theological position that you can build off of? There is a wide range of passions in here.

Could be what science says about the marginalized and how the Bible teaches to care about them.

It could be what science teaches us about nature and nurture of things like emotional intelligence and how the Bible teaches us to develop love, mercy and compassion.

Could be what the Bible says about sanitary practices and how science teaches us to be more aware of the micro world.

With he emotional intelligence you could even head in the opposite direction and show what he Bible teaches about fear and anger and how science helps us understand the harm negatively can cause us mentally and physically.

Literally hundreds+ issues could be tied into science and faith and used as the lens to interpret the verses you’re working from.

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Interesting challenge. If I were to put something together for a five week trek on faith and science, I think I would structure it:

God’s intent and providence - Psalms and the idyllic pastoral

The presence of the fall - the curse and our days in the wilderness

Stewards of the earth - the importance of knowing and acting

Historical theology of science - Augustine and how to go about understanding

Historical theology of science - Galileo’s letter to the Grand Duchess Christina

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See the book Theology in the Context of Science by John Polkinghorne. Some time ago, Ted Davis led a study group of this book on this forum.

See also The Homepage of Denis Lamoureux He’s a science and religion professor at the University of Alberta, and writes for BioLogos. You’ll find a plethora of great science and religion material.

Finally, see A Catechism of Creation. It’s from an Episcopal perspective, very scholarly, and takes both Christian faith and science seriously.

The three broad areas it covers include:

  • Theology of Creation
  • Creation and Science
  • Caring for Creation

The only thing that will cost you anything is the book.

So good luck. Your students will be impressed! Hope this helps.

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This is great! Thank you all for the thoughtful and helpful suggestions. I’m certain these ideas and resources will shape our content in the right direction. :slight_smile: Thanks again!

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Neat. I wasn’t aware of this, and given my predilection for catechisms, am looking forward to digging into it. Thanks for sharing.

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