This lesson focuses on the issue of design in the creation. This concern has been foundational to arguments for the existence of God and for divine creation of the world. We want to explore the biblical material and scientific questions about order and design.
Relevant Biblical Passages:
- Gen 1 — creation of order out of chaos and being made in the “Image of God”
- Job 38-42 — God’s speech to Job about the mysteries of nature
- Ps 19 — orderly, expressive creation (vv 1-6) and perfect law (7-14)
- Ps 119 — orderliness of the divine law (expressed with acrostic poem)
- Ps 139 — wonderful works of God, in the world and in people
- Prov 8:22-36 — wisdom’s role in the orderly creation
- Eccl 3:1-11 — a time for everything and “curiosity” about time
- Isa 40:12-31 — order in creation and in people’s lives
- Rev 21-22 — restored order of creation
Issues for Discussion
We speak first of the Bible’s concern for order and design. Bible writers from Genesis to Revelation address this basic human need and utilize all kinds of metaphors and arguments to affirm human faith in the orderliness of God. Especially is this message one of encouragement to those whose lives are anything but orderly. It is particularly the wisdom literature in the Bible (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) which builds on the idea of order and design.
What about in nature? Where do we see design and order? Where is this apparently not the case? What examples would one use to answer both of the preceding questions? How do we engage the questions about order or lack of it in the world around us?
What theological issues are at stake in this discussion? What philosophical issues beg our attention? What are the scientific concerns to which we must be attentive? What ethical implications are there regarding, for example, the relationships between men and women or people and the natural world?
What Difference Does it Make?
What are the implications of order and design in the world around us? Implications for us as thinking Christians today and implications for our lives at the personal, devotional level?