Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Approaching origins

I wanted to start off with a little pastoral message from JD Greear (The Summit Church). In this sermon snippet, he gives his general interpretation of Gen 1-2 but also talks about being comfortable with not having all the answers.

It's easy to want this issue to be black & white, and often it is presented that way, as if there is only one valid way for Christians to think about origins.  I've read at least a few books from each of the 4 major perspectives on creation, in addition to geology and biology texts (not all recently, but over the past 20 years)...and I think each view has strengths and weaknesses. I personally find YEC less compelling that the other three views, but I see why many find it appealing. Regardless of view, it's helpful to consider Proverbs 18:17, "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him".

Throughout this seminar, I want to follow JD's encouragement and create a space for conversations that promote understanding. "In essentials unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity"

See also: Blog post summarizing this clip, full message.


Welcome to Perspectives on Creation!

In this 3-session seminar, we will discuss different ways Christians approach origins. Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different perspectives can help you understand why Christians come to different conclusions and why it's ok to admit we don't have all the answers. We will cover all 4 major categories of views (Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, Evolutionary Creationism, Intelligent Design).

We will read and discuss chapters 1-10 of Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (Deborah & Loren Haarsma) and the reading will be the only work outside of class.

Class schedule (these are the chapters we will discuss, please read them before we meet):
  • 5/8 - Chapters 1-4
    • Main topic: Methods for Studying God's Word & God's World
    • Views: Overview of 4 views
  • 5/15 - Chapters 5-7
    • Main topic: God's Word - Interpreting Genesis, God's World - Age of the Earth
    • Views: Young Earth Creationism (YEC), Old Earth Creationism (OEC) 
  • 5/22 - Chapters 8-10
    • Main topic: God's World - Evolution
    • Views: Evolutionary Creationism (EC), Intelligent Design (ID)

If there is interest, we will have an additional optional meeting to cover the remaining 4 chapters.  I felt that chapters 11-12 were more complex both in terms of theology and science (many participants have not yet taken biology and I think the theological issues are difficult even for adults to wrestle with).  Chapters 13-14 are more of a FAQ and wrap-up, so you can read those on your own.