The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me. — Martin Luther
The Bible frames the Christian life. It does not deal with only religious issues, but also addresses families, food, work, and politics (1 Timothy 2:1-2), as well as trades and farming (Leviticus 19:9-10). Because all of life is under God’s care, the Bible gives us a basic way of seeing, exploring, and investigating the whole world.
The Bible was never intended to be an encyclopedia or a place to look up the correct answer to any question, yet it does commend us to pay close attention to creation itself, observing and learning its patterns as way to gather wisdom (1 Kings 4:33-34). Delighting in the world that God has made is a part of wisdom (Proverbs 8:12-31). The entire world belongs to God and reveals him through its beauty and complexity (Psalm 24:1). The theologian and the physicist are engaged in the same work—exploring God’s world. Faith and reason are not opposed to each other—we are commanded to love God with all our minds, as well as our heart, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37). Many prominent scientists have been, and continue to be, Christians.
Learning about faith and science includes exploring the relationships and apparent tensions between the Bible’s invitation to see the world as belonging to God and exploring an unfolding understanding of the world that comes through the natural sciences. This means we must understand both approaches by studying how informed Bible scholars interpret the Bible and how current scientists interpret the world. Where we find apparent conflict, we must admit that we may have misunderstood one side or the other—or both. Poorly informed assumptions about either science or the Bible will not move us closer to the truth.
Teaching FASTly means taking the Bible seriously in its authority in the lives of Christians, as well as taking science seriously as a response to God’s call for us to explore and delight in his creation. It means helping students learn how to read the Bible responsibly and avoid misusing it. This includes helping students see that the relationship between faith and science is rich and complex and cannot be limited to a few chapters in Genesis. Texts that call us to seek peace, to love our enemies, to delight in the beauty and order of what has been made, and to be diligent in seeking truth are as relevant to living at the intersection of faith and science as the contested passages about origins.
As you explore the FASTly activities, consider how and when the Bible is used. How are students encouraged to read it carefully on its own terms? How do passages that might not immediately occur to them relate to learning about faith and science? What are students encouraged to do with the Bible?
The following examples are worthwhile examples and helpful starting places for your consideration and use in discovering how to read the Bible responsibly: