Mary and her new friend Sally were in the living room looking through a book. “Dad, take a look at this!” Mary called out, “It’s a picture of a guy holding up the earth!”
Mr. Jones looked at the picture in the book. Smiling, Mr. Jones replied, “That’s a picture of an ancient Greek myth about a so-called god named Atlas, Mary.”
“What’s a myth, Dad?” Mary asked.
“Many years ago, when people were confused or didn’t understand something, they would sometimes make up stories to answer their questions. These stories are called myths.”
“Are their stories true, Dad?” asked Mary.
“No. These stories could never give a real answer for things that take place in our universe.
“For example, in the past the Greeks did not understand how the Earth was held up in space, so they came up with a god named Atlas. Because of a crime he committed, Atlas was punished by being forced to hold the world on his shoulders,” explained Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones continued, “The Greeks were not the only ones to have myths about what held up the Earth. Some believed it was hanging from the heavens by means of a hefty chain. The Egyptians believed the earth was propped up by five huge poles.”
“Kind of like on the top of a tee-pee, Mr. Jones?” broke in Sally.
“I guess you could probably look at it that way, Sally,” Mr. Jones chuckled.
“What was holding up the poles or the chain?” asked Mary.
“They didn’t seem to have a myth to explain that, Mary. However, others thought the earth was floating in a huge ocean. The Hindu religion said that an enormous elephant or elephants carried the earth on its or their backs. The elephant was in turn standing upon the shell of a gigantic turtle that was floating in a cosmic sea. If the elephant or turtle moved it caused earthquakes.”
“Those all seem like pretty silly ideas, Dad!” exclaimed Mary.
“Today we know they are foolish, Mary, but some people in the past did not have the information we have now. In 1608, Sir Isaac Newton felt that the earth was suspended in outer space, being held in orbit by the gravitational force of the sun.
“It was not until recent times, when we began to send rockets into space, that man has proved Newton’s idea true …there is no huge man holding up the Earth!”
Mr. Jones went on, “Amazingly, the Bible said that the earth is hung in space upon nothing, 3600 years before scientists discovered it. In Job 26:7 it states, ‘… and hangeth the earth upon nothing.’ “
“Do you really believe the stories in the Bible, Mr. Jones?” asked Sally. “My uncle says evolution is true and the Bible is just filled with silly stories and myths.”
“Sally, there are many people today who believe what your uncle believes. You see, the Bible has answers for some things that no one can answer, even using science.”
“What kind of answers, Mr. Jones?” Sally asked.
“Well, the Bible states God created the Universe and everything in it, including the plants, animals, and humans, to name just a few,” Mr. Jones answered.
“The Bible also talks about many historical events, in detail. Every story in the Bible that can be tested by science or checked by archaeology has been shown to be true.
“On the other hand, evolution teaches that all animals changed from one kind of animal into another kind of animal by chance and accident … an idea or theory that has never been shown to be true.”
Mr. Jones concluded, “So, yes, Sally, I do believe everything in the Bible. The accounts (I like the word account better than story) in the Bible are not myths … they are not like the imaginary, made up and false ideas found in ancient mythology.”
Originally published in the September/October 2013 Kids Think & Believe Too! newsletter.