Tag: Bible

Is it possible that God could have created the Universe? Higher Origins Essay Help

Is it possible that God could have created the Universe?

Higher Origins Essay Help

The VIEWS Structure

This guide will follow the VIEWS format; which is a good example of how to structure essay paragraphs.

Viewpoints

Interpretation

Example

Weaknesses

Strengths/ Rebuttal

Some may find it easier or more logical to switch the weaknesses and strengths around, finishing on the weakness. Or as I have done below started with a strength, given a weakness then given a rebuttal.  This will help you consider evaluation, analysis and knowledge points. Make sure you always answer the question and link back to the question.

Is it possible that God could have created the Universe? Discuss

There are many different approaches to this question and it is not as straightforward as it seems. This guide aims to look at four different responses to this argument.

  1. Yes, because the Bible says he did. (Creationists Christians)
  2. Yes, because the Bible says he did and this can be backed up with science. (Creation Scientists)
  3. Yes, because there are many scientific theories that are explained by God. (Liberal Christians)
  4. No, because there is scientific evidence to say God was not required to create the Universe. (Scientific Materialists)

Viewpoint 1 –  Creationists

Christians would look to the Bible for guidance and help in their life. However, it is up to personal faith and belief as to how you interpret the Bible. Many take a literal approach and believe every word of the Bible to be the truth. These people are called Creationists. They believe the bible is a Special Revelation from God and is his exact words and therefore the ultimate truth. This means that when they are looking at the Book of Genesis which details the creation stories they believe this to be a complete truth.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

Creationists would take the seven-day creation story literally and so believe that because the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it, this is the only evidence that they need. Some may say that the Bible is not enough evidence to prove God created the Universe, especially because it was written thousands of years ago and there has been scientific research that claims otherwise. However, by only looking at the Bible and discrediting any other theories or evidence requires a lot of faith and belief and so this could be seen as a strength. Therefore Creationists Christians believe that God is the only answer for the creator of the Universe.

 

Viewpoint 2 – Creation Scientists

Creation Scientists hold a similar belief in that they believe the Bible to be a literal account of the creation of the Universe, but they would also back this up with scientific evidence. This means that they believe the Universe is only a few thousand years old and it was created in 6 days. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is a research group set up by Dr. Henry Morris, sets out to find Scientific Evidence to back up the Creation story as found in the Bible. For Example, the ICR claims that Fossils cannot date back millions of years old as there is still soft tissue present in it. They also have used Science to back up their theory that the Universe is only several thousands of years old because of the lack of sodium in the world’s oceans. By taking the story from the Bible and backing it up with scientific findings that follow the scientific method, Creation Scientists are able to prove the possibility of God creating the Universe. Their hypothesis has been taken from the Bible and they have used testing and verification to conclude that their theory was correct. Many would argue a weakness of this viewpoint is that Creation Scientists are only taking into account the parts of science that fit their theory and discrediting other scientific ideas. Creation Scientists would rebut this saying that Atheists who discredit the idea of God are ignoring evidence such as the Bible and other ways in which God has revealed himself. Therefore Creationists Scientists would believe that it is fully possible to believe that God created the Universe.

Viewpoint 3 – Liberal Christians

There are many that believe that scientific theories such as the Big Bang Theory can work with the Biblical Account of Creation. Christians who interpret the Bible in a metaphorical way, believing the Bible to be a story to help explain God’s power, would believe that the creation story of Genesis and the Big Bang Theory could work together. For example, in Genesis 1 it says that there was immense darkness before God said: “Let there be Light”. This can be compared to the Light that was emitted when the Big Bang started and so it could be argued that God was the cause of the Big Bang. The process of the Big Bang could fit in with the process of the Big Bang and the 6-day creation story could instead be interpreted as 6 stages or time periods. A strength of this argument is that allows Christians or theists to believe in God and have their faith backed up with scientific theories. Scientists do not know for example what started the Big Bang and so for many Christians, this something is God. Scientist E. O Wilson who is an atheist agrees that it is possible that religion and science can work together. A weakness of this approach, however, is it is not clear as to how much of the Bible should be taken metaphorically. This could cause people to pick and choose parts of their own religions. However, Liberal Christians would argue this is all part of the free will that God has given them, the ability to make reasoned judgments based on his guidance. Overall Liberal Christians believe that it is entirely possible that God created the Universe.

Viewpoint 4 – Scientific Materialists

There are many who do not believe it is possible for a God to have created the Universe, these people are referred to as Scientific Materialists. They look to scientific theories to explain the origins of the universe. Scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins would argue that there is no need for a God. They would look at the Big Bang Theory and summarise that it does not require a God. There are many instances of spontaneous, unexplained actions that can happen in the Universe that can cause a chain of events. It is argued that one of these unexplained combustions could have caused the Big Bang and therefore requires no God. A strength of this is that it is using the evidence available to come to a conclusion and is not relying on faith or religious revelation, which cannot be verified. However, it could be argued that scientific theories such as the Big Bang Theory are only ever theories, based on the evidence available at that time. Science is continually changing and developing and so theories can change. However, for many atheists who do not believe in God, science seems to be the only logical approach to questions about the Origin of the Universe.  For Scientific Materialists, it is impossible for a God to have created the Universe.

Conclusion

In your Higher exam – it is recommended you bring together all of your ideas and summarise your arguments and answer the question. You can answer the question and add your personal opinion using phrases such as “in my opinion”,as an overall conclusion I would say that” or “I agree to a certain extent…”

When writing an essay, use the skills phrases to help you which are available on the https://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/RMPSCourseSpecN5.pdf

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Christianity – Living According to the Gospels

Christianity – Living According to the Gospels

In the National 5 or Higher Exam you could be asked about Living according to the gospels. You may be asked to describe what this means, explain why the gospels are important, the challenges or benefits of living according to the gospels amongst other things. So it is important to know what the Gospels are and be able to explain and evaluate their importance.

What are the Gospels?

The word gospel literally translates to meaning “Good News”. In the Bible this refers to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament. This is the section of the Bible where you would read about the life and teachings of Jesus.

What do they say?

The Gospels are stories and teachings of Jesus. His central theme was to teach about the Kingdom of God and how to obey God’s Law

God’s Law – Love One Another

Luke 10

25 A teacher of the Law came up and tried to trap Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to receive eternal life?’

26 Jesus answered him, ‘What do the Scriptures say? How do you interpret them?’

27 The man answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’

28 ‘You are right,’ Jesus replied; ‘do this and you will live.’

29 But the teacher of the Law wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbour?’

30 Jesus answered, ‘There was once a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him, and beat him up, leaving him half dead. 31 It so happened that a priest was going down that road; but when he saw the man, he walked on by, on the other side. 32 In the same way a Levite also came along, went over and looked at the man, and then walked on by, on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan who was travelling that way came upon the man, and when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity. 34 He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them; then he put the man on his own animal and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Take care of him’ he told the innkeeper, ‘and when I come back this way, I will pay you whatever else you spend on him.’

36 And Jesus concluded, ‘In your opinion, which one of these three acted like a neighbour towards the man attacked by the robbers?’

37 The teacher of the Law answered,  ‘The one who was kind to him.’ Jesus replied, ‘You go then and do the same.’

Source: Luke 10: 25–37

In both the Old and New Testament, love, along with ideas of kindness, grace, mercy, forgiveness and fidelity, shows God’s commitment to his people. God demands love not just for him but also for other people. It was God’s love for the world, that led him to send Jesus into the world. This love requires a dramatic human response. Human love should reflect the divine love.

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The love God demands from humanity is a love that brings everyone together. All human divisions (racial, social, sexual and personal) are overcome by this love. The deeds of love for God and neighbour are the aims of the Christian. Because of this Aquinas called love ‘the root and form of all virtues’. Augustine even said ‘love and do what you will’. He meant that if you make all your ethical decisions from the basis of Christian love you will not go far wrong.

How does Jesus show love?

Jesus expresses love for God and others in a number of ways throughout his ministry. He eats with tax collectors and sinners and touches social outcasts who, because of sin or uncleanness, everyone else avoids. Despite the harsh criticisms that these actions cause, Jesus never stops showing his open love for everyone. The gospels tell us that his final sacrifice, death, was also an act of love for others: ‘The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them’ (John 15: 13). Everyone must take up their cross and show love to neighbours, no matter what the cost to the self.

Jesus shows Christians how to live through telling parables or stories that people can apply to their own life.

The Kingdom of God

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1: 14-15

Christians believe that it is their duty to create a “Kingdom of God” – This means a land where God would be happy to live. A Land full of love, peace and harmony. Jesus taught this love will start small but it has to grow and start somewhere.

How to Live According to the Gospels.

Love Thy Neighbour

The Righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you? The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!’

(Matthew 25: 37–40)

It is easy to love the neighbour that is near, that you know personally and like. It is harder to love someone that you have never met, many miles away, or someone that you do not like. Actions could include

  • Helping someone in need
  • Donating to charity
  • Pray for someone.
  • Volunteer with a charity.

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Why are the Gospels so important?

The Gospels are so important as they are inspired by God and therefore a trustworthy source. They reveal the true nature of God and Jesus and contain his teachings. The Gospels reveal the Kingdom of God.

Christians feel that as they are a biographical account of Jesus by reading them they become closer to God and Jesus.

For Christians, the Gospels (and the Bible as a whole) are a source of guidance. They may use this to help them make decisions or understand what they should believe about the world. By studying the Bible Christians can enhance their own faith and get guidance on how to worship.