Eden

Painting the World’s Portrait of God to Students

South Pacific

Integrating faith and learning can sometimes be difficult in the science classroom, but God’s creation can be used to paint a beautiful portrait of God as the creator, sustainer, and loving Father.

When I am teaching Geography, for example, one of the topics that I find naturally shows this view of God is the story of creation. Last semester, I assigned Genesis 1 as the reading for my senior class. Before teaching the topic, I prayed for inspiration on ways to show students this view of God through creation.

I decided to emphasize the fact that God demonstrated His care and love for animal life and humans by creating all of earth’s natural life support systems and processes before the creation of animal life and human beings.

This is illustrated in the order of the creation week.

In our class discussion, we considered this question: “What is the significance of this order of creation in the relationship of different species of life forms and human beings?” I pointed out that God created an inter-dependent relationship between nature, animal life, and humans. For example, in order to survive, humans and animals depend on a variety of different species of plants for food and for clean air, and those plants depend on sunlight and water. For this reason, God created sky, land, water, and sunlight before creating plants, and created plants before creating humans and animals.

Next, I connected the order of creation to the food chain. At the base of the food chain are primary producers called autotrophs, organisms that make their own food from sunlight or chemical energy or both from deep sea vents. I noted that our wise and caring Creator God had already created energy and mass earlier in the week before animal life or producers and consumers.

Many other spiritual lessons can be learnt from creation’s scientific explanations of the world. God created our food sources, drinking water, sunlight, and the other resources we use before creating us humans as stewards and beneficiaries of the world’s bounty. He created the Sabbath as a memorial of God’s creation (Exodus 20:11; Exodus 31:17), and gave the Sabbath to Adam (Mark 2:27, Genesis 2: 1-3) and through him, to all nations (Acts 17:26). Therefore, “the biblical Sabbath law of Exodus 20:8-11 is for all humans to observe, not just Jews or Seventh day Adventists” (100 Facts About the Sabbath and Sunday). In keeping the 4th commandment, we worship and show reverence to the true creator God.

By teaching this view of God through creation, I have seen students changed. One day in class, a non-Adventist student said, “Creation is the beginning of the science of geography and God is the creator.” Since that encounter, the student has continued to demonstrate a transformation of habits and attitude. God the creator can work through our teaching and learning activities to re-create and transform the lives of young people if we as Adventist educators are unashamed to prayerfully and rightly share the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Author

Dr Jennifer Litau, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities, Education and Theology, Pacific Adventist University, Papua New Guinea.

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