On a recent speaking trip, we had the opportunity to spend time with a 5-year old boy who is absolutely fascinated by dinosaurs. He builds dinosaur models with his grandpa, wears pajamas decorated with dinosaurs, and keeps his kindergarten teachers scrambling to find new dinosaur books. Unfortunately, with these books, he is getting a steady dose of evolution, and is being primed to question the Bible. That’s why we believe that it’s so important to begin early to teach children the truth about creation, science, and God’s Word. Hopefully the books we are sending him will help. Otherwise he could easily end up like so many of the university students that we spoke with on that same trip – skeptical, sarcastic, and antagonistic to Christians and the Bible.
So how do you teach kids about Creation, science, and the Bible? What are the foundational topics? First, it’s important to teach children at a very young age that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them and that the Bible is His true Word. As soon as they have some concept of time, they can learn the days of creation week and what God did on each day, and they can understand that at the end of that week, it was all “very good,” without any sickness or death. Then, as they study the fall, Flood, and Dispersion at Babel, they can learn about the consequences of sin, and God’s provision of a Savior. From there they can learn how these historical events relate to their own lives and their own need for a Savior.
However, there are many forces laying obstacles to faith – some unknowingly undermining the faith of children by compromising the clear teachings of Scripture; others actively seeking to indoctrinate them into pantheism, atheism, humanism, or agnosticism. Often the attack comes subtly by teaching a definition of science based upon the philosophy of naturalism or espousing an erroneous interpretation of “separation of church and state.” Other times, it comes as a frontal attack, openly ridiculing the Bible and anyone that believes in it. That’s why it’s important that children are not just taught Bible “stories,” but are also instructed in basic apologetics and in ways to defend their faith. They need a basic understanding of worldviews, bias, and presuppositions. In addition, they need to understand what science is – how it works, what it can do, and what it can’t. They need to learn to read carefully, to think critically, to ask the right questions, and to distinguish between data and interpretations, between facts and assumptions.
When children understand these things, they will be more likely to see for themselves that there is no conflict between true science or true history, and the Bible. They can learn to recognize design as evidence of creation by an intelligent Creator, and degeneration and death as a consequence of the Fall. Kids can also see how rock layers, fossils, and erosional features fit within the Biblical perspective of pre-Flood, Flood, and post-Flood events. They can understand the various “races” as reminders of the Dispersion at Babel. Along the way, they can discover that archeological evidence affirms the accuracy of the Bible.
Teaching kids to think does not happen overnight, but it is possible with consistency and determination.
Fortunately, there are now many good resources to help with this task. (Search the website for additional articles and suggestions.) We encourage you to do your part. Oh, yes – how do dinosaurs fit with the Bible? Ah … that’s a topic of another lecture. Stay tuned, visit our website to get recommended books or DVDs, or come to one of our camps or seminars.
Originally published in the January/February 2009 Think and Believe newsletter.