5th November 2004 at 00:00

Some children are programmed to assume that "science has disproved the Bible" about creation. Underneath this is another assumption, that either we choose science or religion. The neat answer that RE teachers used to give, that science deals with the "How?" and religion deals with the "Why?"

is rather too neat. But these matters can be teased out for discussion and are likely to recur.

The book of Genesis has two creation accounts, 1.1 to 2.4 and 2.5 to 2.25, which happily contradict each other on the detail, but converge strongly on the faith statement that the universe is here because God wills it to be.

What came before the Big Bang? Classes can discuss the possibility that God was there - and the danger that by slotting God into a gap in human knowledge, we may just be creating another place where God can be pushed out when knowledge creeps forward a bit further. Today's scientific so-called proof for God may be tomorrow's agnosticism.

The Hebrew Psalms recall the realities that can't be touched and the feelings that the universe can inspire. Psalms 8, 19.1 to 6, 24 1 and 2, and 74.12 to 17 provide good examples for this. Students could then write a psalm for the world of the microscope or the Big Bang.

Terence Copley

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