The Linked Parishes of Pope John XXIII & Christ The King
2020-21 Faith Formation Program
Session 8 - Care For God's Creation
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In the beginning
No doubt, you are familiar with the story of creation in the book of Genesis, the first book of the bible. It is filled with a lot of imagery and symbolisms that point to deeper meanings and insights. It was a way that the ancient Hebrews, who had little scientific knowledge, explained how the world, and humanity came into existence.
At first glance, the creation story just does not seem to add up or agree with the modern scientific theories of THE BIG BANG, and EVOLUTION, which we will get into later in this lesson.
But first, let’s go over the key points of the creation story, as presented in Genesis.
“I believe in God, the father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth."
The most important point of the Genesis Creation Story is that God is the originator of all that exists. God willed everything into being. In fact, the very first sentence of the CREED (lesson 1) states:
“I BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.”
So our faith takes very seriously that God has his creative hand in both the physical world and the spiritual world. Notice too, that this declaration of our belief does not state that this creative force remains in the past. God is continually creating, and through millions- billions of years His creation has gone through drastic changes; it is not stagnant, but constantly moving in different directions.
The book of Genesis was written about 2700 years ago, around the time when the ancient people of Judah were under Babylonian control. The ancient authors could not have imagined that before 13.8 billion years ago, our universe was basically a vast void. They could only understand what they could experience- night, day; sun, moon and stars; all plant life and animals. The idea of time was limited also by their immediate experiences and the stories that were handed down.
Today, through very sophisticated calculations, and observations scientists believe that everything that exists began when a very small, highly condensed particle called a singularity, exploded. And what an explosion it was!
This particle was incredibly hot. Once the explosion occurred individual, nonspecific energy particles mixed with light, formed. Once these particles were released they expanded into the void of space where they cooled down. It took millions of years, but particles came together forming atoms, and these atoms eventually came together forming elements and compounds and then stars and galaxies, and in time, planets. The stars, galaxies and solar systems in our universe are continuing to expand, and evolve and there is no end in sight!
Soooo…… everything that exists in the material world started from a single particle and a REALLY BIG BANG!
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE SINGULARITY PARTICLE?
THINK ABOUT IT!!!
A QUICK LESSON ON THE FORMATION OF THE EARTH
STAGES OF LIFE ON EARTH
How do these two videos compare with the Creation Narratives in Genesis?
What is obvious at first glance is that the narratives in Genesis are an over simplification of the development of the universe, planet Earth and life on Earth. It was never meant to be a scientific document. However, look again.
The narratives in Genesis recognize that there must have been distinct stages in the creation of the Universe, planet Earth and life on Earth. There are also some sequences of events in this creation that are in agreement and not in agreement with science.
What areas can you find agreement between science & Genesis story?
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The earth originally was barren
Waters first appeared
Life in the oceans appeared
What areas are there disagreement between science & Genesis story?
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The sky is not a physical dome that contains water and releases it through “doors”.
The sun and moon appeared during the formation of the solar system, not after the earth was formed.
Did you know that the Catholic Church embraces science?
The Catholic Church is often portrayed as being anti-education, anti-reason, and anti-science.
SCIENCE, like religion is nothing more than the pursuit of truth. Through science, we come to know about the details of God’s creation, right down to the atomic level.
THERE ARE MANY CATHOLIC SCIENTISTS
There are many famous Catholic priests, religious*,and lay* scientists that have been credited with the advancement in many areas of scientific knowledge. In fact, the Vatican has its own astronomical observatories - one outside Rome, Italy and the other in Arizona.
* Religious - people who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and who live according to a distinctive rule with others
* Lay - non clergy or Part of a religious order
Jesuit Father Gabriele Gionti, an astronomer, at the Vatican observatory at the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo, Italy