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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Carson’

Mike writes:

We had a fun class. I always like this chapter because it creates so many questions and discussions.

The focus of last night’s lesson was the biblical story of creation and what it means to us today. The textbook has an abridged, plain English, version of the first chapter of Genesis. We read that and talked about it. We especially focused on the difference between this account and what the students have learned or will learn in their science classes. We pointed out that some people do believe in the absolute literal version of Genesis, but that most people do not. As Catholics, we are not required to believe that Genesis is the literal and only acceptable account of Creation.

We described how the first five books of the Bible were supposedly written by Moses in approximately 1,400 BCE for a people who were mostly illiterate nomadic shepherds. They had no concept of the solar system, the “Big Bang,” or anything remotely close. We also showed the ancient Hebrew concept of the world (below). They believed the world to be like one of those “snow domes” with a flat surface and an overhead dome. We discussed the obvious differences between that picture and what we know the Universe to be today.

The Hebrew concept of the world

The Hebrew concept of the world

With that in mind, we probed the students to try to justify the two different stories of the same series of events. We pointed out that Genesis says that God created the world and everything that is in it, but is a little vague on exactly how he did it. We also told them that the “days” in Genesis should be thought of as time periods, not necessarily 24 hour days.  The answer to the dilemma of the two versions is this.

Genesis says that God created the world; modern science tells us how he did it.

This may sound an awfully lot like “intelligent design,” and I guess it is. However, please remember, we are teaching religion,  not public school science. We also talked about why they would not hear about this in a public school.

We emphasized to the students that there are a few key messages they should get from Genesis.

1. God created the world and everything that is in it.

2. Everything God created is good.

3. It is our responsibility to care for God’s gifts of Creation.

To reinforce #3, we talked about the story of Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, and one of the first pioneers of the environmental movement. We finished off by asking the students to brainstorm about ways they can work to improve the environment in their own neighborhood. They came up with ideas like recycling and cleaning up trash.

All in all, it was a busy hour.  The class stayed engaged and active in the discussion. We’re looking forward to next week.

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