Many teens struggle with the creation story. Once they start learning science and history in school, things no longer add up. We are living in the information age and teenagers have that information at their fingertips. So, it is our job to help them know how to filter all that information to find truths. It is also VITAL for us, as people who live and work with young people, to give them space to explore their thoughts on faith and life. Providing a safe place for teens and young adults to see how faith, science, history and life in general collide. If we don’t clear away time for this, there is a high probability they will walk away from their faith.
So, why not start in the beginning. Below you will find some resources below to help you walk through a small group discussion. Remember to give space for questions and don’t feel you have to have ALL the answers!
Student Learning Outcomes:
- Students will understand that there are two creation stories in the Bible
- Students will learn the value of both stories
Scripture Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:3; Genesis 2:4-25
- First, acknowledge that there are two creation narratives. They are completely different and demonstrate very different attributes of God. They cannot both have literally happened.
- The first narrative is organize and poetic. On each successive day, God calls elements of the created world into order out of the existing chaos. It point us to a God who is organized, calculated, and in control. It is worth noting that this is a story about bringing order out of chaos, not a story about creating the world out of nothing. In this story, male and female are created at the same time, as the culmination of the creative process.
- The second narrative is less organized and much less poetic. It jumps from subject to subject and from creative process to creative process. In it, the male human is the very first creative act.
- There were many, many creation narratives being told at this time in history. Most of them involved a god (or gods) who created the earth or elements of the earth by slaughtering/conquering other gods. It is notable that in both of the narratives in the Bible, God is portrayed as peaceful, non-violent, and is perfectly capable of being creative without being destructive or threatened by other deities.
- What have you learned in school about creation/evolution?
- Why did the biblical authors include two creation narratives? Why be confusion? Why not just pick one?
- What is valuable and instructive about each of these creation myths?
- Are there any dangers in over-literalizing these stories?
- What might it mean for us to let go of the notion that these stories happened and start viewing these as stories that happen on an ongoing basis?
- Is there anything helpful or empowering about considering that God might be persistent, creative in overcoming obstacles, adaptable, or some of the other qualities we see in these stories?
- Exploring the Bible by Rev. Anne Robertson
- In the Beginning by Karen Armstrong
- Inspired by Rachel Held Evans
- Understanding the Bible by Adam Hamilton