**The following is an outline of a Bible study I lead for a group of college students.**
(Ask to the whole group) Does anyone know what the Shema is? It begins: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. (Deut. 6.4)"
(Have the students ask one another in small groups) What is your major, and how did you choose it?
Ask what everyone's major is, and plot it on a chalkboard, along an axis labeled "Foundational" to "Comprehensive". The plot should look roughly like this, or this, or perhaps like this if your group somehow consists mostly of physics grad students. Typically, it would contain the following items in the following order:
Where is God on this graph? Where is God in academia? Or more generally, Where is God in the sum of all human disciplines?
He is exactly where he says he is.
(Ask someone to read Rev. 22:13) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
All disciplines are based on something more fundamental. Chemistry is based on physics, which is in turn based on mathematics, for example. If we trace this back, and ask "what is the most fundamental subject?", we probably come to philosophy, by human reckoning. After all, it's not a coincidence that you nearly always get to philosophy by clicking on the trail of first links in Wikipedia articles. But what lies behind philosophy? All true philosophy is based on God. Thus, God is the "alpha", the beginning of all things.
When we move in the other direction - when we move towards more comprehensive subjects which cover more complex things, we probably arrive at something like big history as the most comprehensive subject, by human reckoning. But what lies beyond history? All that happens in history is for the glory of God, and the acts of God encompass the entirety of all that happens in the universe. Thus, God is the "omega", the end of all things.
Now, some of you may be thinking, "Well, that's great, but I study something in the middle. Are we saying that God isn't in anything in between the two extremes?"
God IS found in the middle, because a fundamental truth will be found in everything else that's built on it. Let's take mathematics as an example of a relatively "foundational" discipline, which everyone is at least a little familiar with.
(Draw an exponential curve) Do you guys recognize this? It is a mathematical function, with the formula e^(kx). But it comes up everywhere, not just in math. It governs: (perhaps have the students brainstorm to come up with something like the following list) Radioactive decay in physics
God is like that, except he's even more foundational than math. So God, being the foundation on which everything else is built, comes up in all the disciplines.
On the other end of the spectrum, let's take history as an example of a relatively "comprehensive" discipline. A "comprehensive" discipline will include all the discipline that it's built on. Even if we take a relatively narrow historical topic, such as the history of World War II, we find that it encompasses all the "smaller" disciplines. In the history of WWII, we find: (again, consider having the students brainstorm up examples like these)
God is like history - except he's even more comprehensive. So the knowledge of God, being the biggest, most comprehensive thing, includes all the other disciplines.
Thus, God is the one which all truths - all the subjects of human study - are based on, and the one which all truths are about. He can therefore be found in any field of study. This is why the Bible says that the following about God: (Look these up with the group)
And that is what (to me, in this context) is meant by "the LORD is one". There isn't a separate god of the sun, a god of nature, a god of mathematics, a god of morality, a god of logic, a god of beauty, a god of art, and a hundred other subjects we can name. There is one God who is above all and in all and through all. What is our response to this? The verses of the Shema go on to describe it (read on with the group). "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength". We are to love God with the entirety of our being, because God the one God over everything. And you are to love the Lord your God in your studies as a part of loving him with our whole being.
So, no matter what your field of study is, it is based on God, and it is about God. It says something about God, and God says something about it. Your job, as a Christian who is in your particular field, is to find out what these "something"s are so that you may love God more perfectly.
That, then, is the understanding with which you should approach your studies.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: