SRSP 16-19 Topic 2 Unit 1a – Language in Science and Religion


Some Christians have always taken Genesis to be a literal account of the creation of the world, and in recent literalist thinking, as almost a scientific textbook. Others have interpreted it differently, as an allegorical or poetic account of a search for answers to ultimate questions: Why is there life at all? Why does anything exist? What is the significance of human life in relation to other forms of life? How does humanity relate to forces beyond its control?

In this unit, students will be given the opportunity to examine the creation narrative contained in Genesis 1-3 and look for some of these answers to ultimate questions that they contain. They will also use Blake’s Jerusalem and Edvard Munch’s The Scream as examples of how both poetry and art are vehicles for expressing important truths. In the final lesson, they will consider how both lyrics and music can, in the same way, express truths.

This unit consists of 4 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 16 to 19 years


Key Questions

  • What can we learn from the Genesis creation narrative?
  • What can we learn when looking at works of art or listening to well known lyrics with regard to Science and Religion?
  • To what extent do the messages expressed in literature and art get distorted when they are given a literal interpretation?
  • To what extent might a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 distort the religious and moral truths being expressed?

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Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)

Background 1: What is Evolution? (Word)

Background 1[LA]: What is Evolution? (Word)

Background 2: Modern Evolutionary Theory (Word)

Background 2[LA]: Modern Evolutionary Theory (Word)

Background 3: Evolution and Creationism (Word)

Background 3[LA]: Evolution and Creationism (Word)

Background 4: Can evolution and creationism be compatible? (Word)

Background 4[LA]: Can evolution and creationism be compatible? (Word)

How to read Genesis (Word)

How to read Genesis[LA] (Word)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Reading Genesis (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: Blake’s Jerusalem (Word)

Student Resource 1: Words of Blake’s Jerusalem (Word)

Student Resource 2: Key words to assist in interpretating Jerusalem (Word)

Student Resource 3: Article on background to Blake’s Jerusalem (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Edvard Munch’s The Scream (Word)

Student Resource 4: Copy of Edvard Munch’s The Scream (Word)

Student Resource 5: Article on Edvard Munch (Word)


Lesson 4

Lesson Plan: Songs and Lyrics (Word)

Student Resource 6: Words of Dies Irea from Verdi’s requim (Word)

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