Religion and Life: Christianity

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  • Created on: 24-04-21 15:39

The Origins of the Universe and Life: Non-religiou

Scientific Arguments:

Cosmological Theories - How the Universe Began

Big Bang Theory - says that the universe began in an explosion of matter and energy. Matter from this explosion eventually formed stars, planets and everything else. The universe still seems to be expanding - important evidence for this theory

Evolutionary Theories - How Living Things Changed

Charles Darwin argued that life on Earth originated from simple cells. Live evolved over millions of years into a huge variety of forms, and those best adapted survived - 'survival of the fittest'. According to this theory, people evolved from apes, not Adam and Eve

Universe and human life came about by change. Since people evolved from apes, they can't have been created by God

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The Origins of the Universe and Life: Christianity

  • Genesis chapter 1 and 2 says God created everything over six days. On the seventh day He rested. Genesis chapters 1 and 2 describe how God created people in his image, and made woman from man
  • Some believe the Bible gives a literal account of what happened. People who disagree with evolution claim there's a lack of proof backing up the theory - fossils don't show the full process of evolution
  • Lots of Christians view the creation story as symbolic and also believe in scientific theories. The Big Bang theory was actually first put forward by a Roman Catholic priest, Georges Lemaitre, so religion and science don't have to be completely separate
  • In fact, many believe that science and religious ideas can exist in harmony. Both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church have recognised the benefits of the two working together
  • 'Collaboration between religion and science is mutually beneficial...' - General Synod of the Church of England
  • 'Evolution in nature does not conflict with the notion of Creation...' - Pope Francis
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The Origins of the Universe and Life: Christianity

  • 'Then God said, 'And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small'
  • 'Then Gon took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live'
  • 'In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth'
  • 'God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light'
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The Environment and Stewardship

  • Christians appreciate the world and what's in it because it is God's creation. They feel that He reveals Himself constantly in the world through experiences that inspire awe and wonder, where someone can feel God's presence - e.g. a beautiful sunset might convince someone there must be a creator
  • Pollution: Contaminate the environment, sewage and chemicals can pollute lakes, rivers and seas. Harm plants and animals that live in and around water, including humans. Use toxic chemicals for farming, bury nuclear waste, dump waste in landfill sites. Smoke and gases from vehicles and industry can pollute the air, cause health problems and damage the ozone layer
  • Natural Resources: Fertile land for growing crops is also rapidly declining. Land = desert
  • Recycle, use public transport, walk, sustainable living, campaign to better inform others
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The Environment and Stewardship

  • Genesis 1, God said humans could 'rule over the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals'. This power is known as dominion. Masterhood over the world. 
  • Stewards, no right to abuse it, responsible for protecting it: 'The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it'. 'Humanity's dominion cannot be understood as licence to abuse, spoil, squander or destroy what God has made'
  • Some Christians believe that everything is interdependent, so making species extinct, eventually ends up harming people
  • Damage humans do to environment clashes with role as stewards. Christian organisations such as CAFOD, Christian Aid and Tearfund are concerned with putting this responsibility into practice. They put pressure on governments and industry to think more about how people are abusing the planet
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Animal Rights

  • Dominion = do what they want with animals
  • Stewardship = caring for God's creatures
  • Christianity teaches that animals should be treated with kindness, but that they can be used to benefit mankind (as long as their suffering is considered): 'the righteous care for the needs of their animals'. Many would say that only human life is sacred, as only humans were created in the image of God
  • Catholic Church tolerates animal testing, but only if it benefits mankind: 'Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable pratice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives. It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly'
  • Some Christians think it's always wrong to cause suffering to animals to increase our scientific knowledge, medicines don't always have same effect on humans as they do on animals. Quakers = against any ill treatment of animals 
  • Christianity has no specific food laws. The Bible talks about eating meat, so many Christians think it's fine 
  • Some Christians believe that the original Garden of Eden was vegetarian and we should be too, as it is bad for animals and the environment to eat meat.
  • One of the Ten Commandments is ‘Thou shalt not kill’
  • Everything that lives and moves will be food for you’ (Genesis 9:3).
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  • All life created by God. All life belongs to God and therefore is holy. People don't have right to intefere with when life ends or to prevent beginning of a new life. Quality of life may be taken into account by some. Christianity teaches abortion is undesirable as God 'created mankind in his own image'
  • Psalm 139 speaks of God seeing ‘my unformed body’, so from conception, the embryo is precious to God. Abortion is the wrongful destruction of a human being with potential
  • When Jesus was being crucified on the cross, we are told in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 15:23) that he refused the mixture of 'wine and gall' which could have eased his pain. Following this example, many Christians believe that suffering is an inevitable part of life that should be endured and offered up to God in union with Jesus's suffering
  • God cares a lot about children. Jesus said 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these'. Church of England believes permissable in certain circumstances, e.g. mother's life in danger. Quakers argues that unborn child's life cannot be valued above woman's. Many Christians agree that allowing a woman to choose is a way of showing Christian compassion - whether they agree with the choice made or not
  • Bible doesn't mention abortion - connects life with breath, e.g. in the creation of Adam, argued foetus is only alive when breathes independently. Didache against it. God has given us a conscience and free will to make our own decisions
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  • Roman Catholics most strongly opposed to euthanasia. Anything intentionally causes death = wrong. Even those unlikley to recover consciousness should be kept alive: 'an act or ommission which...causes death in order to eliminate suffeirng constitues a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his creator'
  • 'You shalt not kill' = goes against. Only God decide when die, as He gave life. Suffering = part of life. Job was made to suffer by Satan, refused to end his life: 'Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?'. Euthanasia ruin natural course of death, when soul starts to make its way to God. Care for sick, euthanasia goes against this. Hospice - allows a person to feel valued as reach end of their life
  • Life support machines not always best approach - passive euthanasia way of demonstrating Christian compassion
  • Only agree with euthanasia if dying person chooses it for themselves
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The Afterlife

  • Christianity teaches that people go to heaven or hell, depending on how God judges their actions - trying to live life according to Christians teachings and believing in Jesus will allow them to receive God's grace and go to heaven
  • 'God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus...For it is by grace you have been saved'
  • Arguments for life after death: Paranormal, things science can't explain. Some people, mediums, claim can talk to dead
  • Some people claim to have evidence of reincarnation. Lots of research carried out with young children, who claim to remember past lives
  • People say they've had a near death or out of body experience where they've spoken to a long-dead family member
  • Must be more after life on earth. Might see going to heaven or paradise as reward for people who have been good all their lives - must exist to compensate for unfairness of life on earth
  • Don't believe in life after death: you cease to exist. No concrete evidence that there is life after death, logical answer = not exist. People's memories of previous lives are not real, could have been suggested to the person. Believing in afterlife just way to comfort people about idea of death. Afterlife used by religions to put pressure on people to follow their teachings and live their lives in a certain way. Believers disagree with this, since own beliefs come from sacred texts
  • Christians might argue that Jesus's resurrection shows that there's life after death: 'He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit'. Non-believers might say that the stories of Jesus's resurrection are made up
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