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Resources for Small Groups

The issues of evolution and creation can take a while to work through, and it’s good to have friends with you along the way. We encourage you to get together with others to discuss your questions. What does Genesis really teach? How strong is the scientific evidence? How does God go about creating? Does what I think about evolution make a difference in my life? The following resources are great for small groups, whether a group on campus, a youth group at church, a Sunday school class, a prayer group, a book club, or friends in your dorm.

We would appreciate your feedback at smallgroups@biologos.org. Let us know what materials you’re using and in what context. Which resources have worked well and what new resources would you like to see?

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin.

  • Start the meeting by asking each person to share something they’re learning about the topic or something that has been particularly meaningful to them.
  • Allow everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts rather than one or two people dominating the discussion, and invite quiet participants to give their input.
  • Be sensitive to the conversation getting bogged down on one issue and use a new discussion question to steer participants in a fresh direction.
  • When necessary, remind participants to critique ideas, not people. Try to uphold other believers as part of the community of faith though you may disagree with their views.
  • End with prayer and praise to God for his handiwork and our unity in Christ.
  • Encourage everyone to keep up with the reading for the next session (when applicable) to get the most out of the discussion.

(adapted from Origins by Deborah & Loren Haarsma)

Resources for Adults Show resources

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006)

How have Christians responded to scientific claims and what can be done to bring harmony where there may appear to be discord? Dr. Francis Collins, geneticist and founder of The BioLogos Foundation, shares his journey from atheism to a faith which embraces scientific discovery, including evolutionary biology. He writes, “I do not believe that the God who created all the universe, and who communes with His people through prayer and spiritual insight, would expect us to deny the obvious truths of the natural world that science has revealed to us, in order to prove our love for Him.” Discussion questions and supplemental materials have been produced to help individuals and small groups engage the text as part of a BioLogos Book Club.

Origins Today: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes, DVD (2012).

This 4-part video is ideal for church groups just beginning to consider questions of creation and evolution. Dr. John Walton (Wheaton College) emphasizes that Christians today need to take the Bible seriously, which means exploring what Genesis 1-2 meant to the first people who heard it. The four short lectures are accompanied by fun interviews with Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. Groups can follow up on these ideas by also reading Walton’s recent BioLogos blog posts where he answers common questions he faced when speaking at churches and colleges or by reading Walton’s popular book: The Lost World of Genesis One (IVP Academic, 2009).

“Maker of Heaven and Earth” BioLogos blog series, 2011

Why does it seem that science and our Christian faith are at odds? This 5 part series takes a poignant and powerful sermon given by Pastor David Swaim of Highrock Church, Arlington, MA, and divides it into portions to help small groups and individuals think carefully and deeply about the truths of Scripture which point to our God as the “Maker of Heaven and Earth”. In an engaging way, Swaim suggests that Christians have simply asked the wrong questions about the early chapters of Genesis, which has led to seeming contradictions with science. Swaim concludes by upholding these foundational truths: there is an all-powerful God, he has a perfect plan, and he has given us his love through Jesus Christ.

The Spirituality of Science: How Science Strengthens Faith in God (2010)

This 5-session resource from Q Ideas includes a DVD and a participant’s guide. Hear from Christian thinkers Louie Giglio, Francis Collins, Catherine Crouch and others who claim that Christians “should be mindful and informed, rather than skeptical or even fearful, of science.” A great resource for groups ready to discuss, what can be for some, challenging intersections between our faith, science, and the culture in which we live. Journaling space is included to allow participants to reflect on, digest, and make plans to act on what they are learning. Gabe Lyons hosts.

Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (FaithAlive, 2011).

What do God’s Word and God’s world teaches us about creation, evolution, and intelligent design? The church doesn’t have just one answer on origins. Drs. Deborah and Loren Haarsma introduce readers to multiple views held by Christians on topics like the interpretation of Genesis 1 and intelligent design. From high school students to pastors, readers have found this book to be an ideal guide to considering the various positions for themselves. The book contains 14 chapters that can be discussed one at a time or grouped into 6 or 7 sessions, each with discussion questions, reading recommendations, and online supplements. Deborah Haarsma serves as the president of BioLogos and her husband Loren Haarsma is a physics professor at Calvin College.

A new six-session video is now available as a companion to the book or for use as a standalone resource. Each 9 – 11 minute video comes with discussion questions and includes a list of related material found in the Origins book.

This book will be featured in the upcoming BioLogos Book Club, scheduled to begin on September 12!

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (2008).

This book, by respected pastor Dr. Tim Keller, helps believers think through the challenges of defending Christian faith to those who may be skeptical. A DVD and small group discussion guide is also available which can be used in conjunction with the book or as a standalone resource. The DVD includes six sessions with Pastor Keller exploring topics such as “Isn’t the Bible a Myth?” and “Hasn’t Science Disproved Christianity?”

“Science and the Bible: Five Approaches” BioLogos blog series (2012).

In this series of 22 blog posts, Dr. Edward Davis explains 5 approaches Christians historically have taken to understanding the Bible and origins: Creationism, Concordism, the Framework View, Theistic Evolution, and Intelligent Design. Davis clearly explains the biblical, theological, philosophical and cultural underpinnings of the origins controversy. Many blog posts include discussion questions and readers can still view the comments section where Davis interacted with the online audience. Groups could discuss one blog post a week for 22 sessions, or follow the series format online which groups the posts into 7 or 8 sessions (note that some series are much longer than others). Davis is the BioLogos Senior Fellow for the History of Science.

Scientists in Congregations

Scientists in Congregations was a recent grant program designed to catalyze dialogue on faith and science in local churches. Visit their site to access many newly produced resources including videos, audio recordings, PowerPoint slides and curricula. Find material for children, youth, and adults on various topics including evolution and creation, the history of theology and science, and cosmology.

From the Dust: Conversations in Creation, DVD (2012)

Looking for a fresh way to engage the current controversy surrounding evolution and faith? This 4 part DVD, produced in conjunction with BioLogos, welcomes renowned theologians, scientists, authors, and educators such as John Polkinghorne, N.T. Wright, Alistar McGrath, and Ard Louis. In an accessible way, they reexamine the debate, express new insights, and uphold the desire for truth. Some of the questions addressed are: Does the Bible provide a narrative of mankind’s material origins? And how do we reconcile scientific discovery with a loving, universal, Creator-God? Small group study materials for a 6 week study are available.

Test of Faith: Does Science Threaten Belief in God? DVD (2008).

This three-part documentary explores many issues currently at the forefront of the discussion of faith and science including brain science, multiverse theories, free will, and bioethics. (Minimal time is spent on interpretations of Genesis and the age of the earth.) Viewers hear from scientists and theologians who are at the top of their academic fields and who also have a deep commitment to the Christian faith. The study has built in flexibility for groups so that it could be used for a 3 week, 4-6 week or 7-8 week study. Numerous useful supplemental materials are also available. Suitable for both believing and secular audiences, it is an ideal discussion starter on university campuses. Dr. David Vosburg, an associate professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd College, has been involved with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship for many years and has led numerous campus groups on faith & science issues using both the From the Dust and Test of Faith videos. Read about his experiences here.

Resources for Middle and High School Show resources

Discover Creation and Science (2006)

This 4 session Sunday school/small group curriculum is designed for middle school students. In an engaging way, it reinforces the idea that both the Bible and science can tell us true things about the universe around us. We don’t need to fear hard questions. The more we learn about creation, the more awe we can have of our God. Christians may hold different views about how creation happened, but we can discuss these things in respectful ways and in unity confess the central teachings of Scripture.

The Author of Life

A biology instructor, school chaplain, and a scientist are producing a free downloadable multimedia curriculum for Christian high school students. Four videos (and two leader’s guides) are now available on the site, with more being added in the coming months. Their goal is to produce 8 videos with leader’s guides which, “reassure students that the study of science is compatible with their faith and it can enhance and deepen their relationship with God.”

Fossils and Faith: Finding Our Way through the Creation Controversy (2005).

This 4 session Sunday school/small group curriculum is designed for high school and young adult groups. Rather than taking one position on the creation/evolution debate, this resource helps students examine multiple Christian views. Students receive colorful newspapers in each session, filled with stories, articles, and activities that explore how science and the Bible are not at war. Christians can reconcile disagreements and come together as a community which affirms the core truths of our One God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Dr. Deborah Haarsma, President of BioLogos, wrote about the value of this resource and others like it in the BioLogos blog post “Engaging Science in the Life of Your Congregation.”

GC Science: Wrestling with Science and Faith

“Wrestling with Science and Faith” was a 4 week course for youth held at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts. The series was taught by faithful scientists who attend the church (as part of their “GC Science” group) who are committed to presenting the harmony between science and faith. [Check out their highly popular Facebook page]. Videos of each of the youth sessions are now available. Topics include: Are Atheism and Young Earth Creationism the Only Options? Theological Perspectives on How to Read Genesis; Astronomy, Geology and Christian faith; and Biology and Christian Faith. A high school senior who attended the course commented, “For many years I have had a very hard time accepting parts of the Bible because I love science and the logic of it. These classes have allowed me to see how science and faith can coexist, and as a result I am going to be baptized knowing that I don't have to pick either science or faith.”

Test of Faith: Does Science Threaten Belief in God? DVD (2008).

Details about this resource are found in the “Resources for Adults” section above. A Youth Leader’s Guide is available for leading groups of young people ages 11-14 and 14-18. Each session creates space for young people to explore the issues, express their thoughts, and learn about how the Bible relates to the issues. A free downloadable homeschool curriculum, “Science and Christianity: An Introductory Course for Homeschoolers” is also available that uses key portions of the Test of Faith video. The curriculum can be used in a 3-8 week session format and defends belief in God against claims that modern science eliminates the plausibility of religious faith.

If you know of other resources not listed here, please let us know at smallgroups@biologos.org.