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Out of the stars in their flight, out of the dust of eternity, here have we come. — Robert T. Weston

Big Question: How did life begin?

Where are the youth who have never wondered why they exist, where life comes from, what lies beyond the first known causes? Session 4 applied faith and belief to the question of God's existence. This session applies science to the question of how life began. It explores the beauty of poetic answers from myth and story, then presents science as a probable source of more accurate information.

An optional timeline activity (Alternate Activity 7) helps youth find their own place in the development of life over millennia—a process stretching from the Big Bang to the present. In WIT time, youth respond to the Unitarian Universalist emphasis on what we do with our life over a preoccupation with life's ultimate cause. The session affirms Unitarian Universalism's position that our search for ultimate answers is unlikely to end.

Evolution is the subject of the story and informs other activities. To do more with the topic, use Alternate Activities 4, 5, 6 and/or 7.


This session will:

  • Pose the Big Question "How did life begin?" and explore Unitarian Universalist responses to it
  • Explore the idea of cause and effect
  • Offer myth and science as two responses to questions of ultimate cause
  • Emphasize the richness of the Unitarian Universalist Sources
  • Explore science and reason as a Source
  • Present the vast sweep of time
  • Challenge youth to express their own ideas about life's beginnings.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Play detective, tracing cause through effect
  • Experience a scientific explanation of life's beginnings
  • Weigh the relative value of humanistic teachings (science, reason) and other UU Sources in seeking the ultimate beginning of life
  • Take a stand on questions relating to first causes
  • Articulate and reflect on their own ideas concerning the beginning of life
  • Optional: Discover their place in deep history by making personal timelines.

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