(The following is one of many posts intended to help discussion groups, or individuals, reading Let Mountains Hear: From a Galilean Preacher’s Faith To Modern Christianity use the book to share and deepen their ideas about the faith.)
As in our previous discussion guide, we tackle another chapter: Chapter 2, God Created.
1. Let’s begin with the inevitable question. The discussion shouldn’t be an occasion to convince anyone about anything. Which philosophical version of God — creator, prime mover or imaginary being — appeals to you or do you find most reasonable? Why?
2. Now let’s look at the religious versions of the divine, again without attempting to influence anyone’s particular view. Which of the broad religious versions of God — one God, many gods or a divine essence present in everything — appeals to you or do you find most reasonable? Why?
3. Do you agree, or are you completely comfortable, with the essential Judeo-Christian belief that God is the eternal necessary being, the only one whose essence is existence and who caused everything and everyone else to exist?
4. How does our modern use of the verb “create” for artistic or innovative ideas or devices differ from the biblical God making something out of nothing? How comfortable are you with the biblical idea of creating?
5. How would you rewrite, knowing what we now know, the passage in Genesis 1:1-10?
6. Discuss the differences — use a dictionary if necessary — between truth, myth and fact and apply these distinctions to the biblical creation story.
7. (Optional, there will be other opportunities to cover this.) Discuss differences — use a dictionary if necessary — between knowledge and belief; apply these distinctions to faith in the biblical creation story.