Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Of Dinosaurs and Creation

As I knew that would happen with the prospect of homeschooling, I knew that there would be topics that I would need to discuss and teach my kids that would require a firm stance, a way of believing and also a way of teaching that could rile some people but also prepare my kids for real questions that they might encounter. I just didn't think that it would happen this soon.

Here are my two examples:

First, dinosaurs. Frankly, J loves 'em. Can't get enough of looking at books and pictures of the things. Is even starting to be brave enough to visit some museums that have skeletons (although they are still pretty big and scary.) In my opinion this is one time that I am glad that he can't read, because I am not ready to explain all this stuff.

But here's how I stand on all of that. First, I believe that there really were dinosaurs. I have seen their bone in rock and fully believe that God created them. I fully believe that God created this world with his Hand. It is a beautiful creation and I am thankful for that. But what I don't know is the history of that creation. We have been given a story that explains it to us in Genesis, but I am not convinced that it is a literal telling of God's creative acts for a few reasons. First, the earth is old. Rocks and mountains and valleys and oceans--they are old. How old? I can't answer that. Second, It is mentioned in the New Testament that God's understanding of time is vastly different than our very limited human one.

(You know the old joke, a man asks God what a million dollars is worth. God replies, "a penny." Man then asks, how long is a million years? God answers, "a minute." Man asks, thoughtfully, "can I have a penny?" God answers with a smile, "in a minute.")

But I have a very hard time swallowing the years that are given for approximate lifetimes of said dinosaurs. 350 million years is just a conceptually tough thing for me. And there are lots of things that we don't know--so it just seems like wallowing in the unknown. But I am not sure how quite to explain all of that that is God honoring, not stupid-ifying, and comprehendable to the kids. Thankfully, I haven't had the questions yet.

The second example of something I have encountered that I wasn't prepared for is:

Popular "Greenism" I don't know if this is what it should be called, but you all know exactly what I am talking about. My kids have heard some pretty harmless stuff (that I have supervised and know about) that comes from an environmentalist perspective. I thought it was all okay until one of them said to me. "Mommy, we can't chop down any trees or else we will all die." This raised serious alarms for me.

In all things I want our attitudes, actions and reactions to be God honoring. But I don't think this is it. I have long been thinking about what a Godly approach to our environment should be and the other night my dad helped me hit it on the head. The environmentalist thought thinks, "We are harming the world. We need to save it." While yes, humanity has done great damage to God's gifts to us, I can't find anything scripturally that calls us to save the world. Instead we are called to be carers, responsible stewards, this theme is repeated in a few places that I can thing of. While some actions may be the same, the thought process behind the actions has shifted signifigantly.

An aside: if we begin to think of the world and our corporate Christian responsibility to be stewardly of all God's resources to us, it is a shame that it is scientists leading us towards these thoughts and not the churches.

So, I have been started to think seriously about how to begin to shift the kid's thoughts on God's creation, so they aren't caught up in the consumerism (and built in panic and fear) of it, but instead in the stewardship and responsibility of living fully as God's redeemed people who honor Him and reflect His love on the whole world. I haven't yet come up with any great ideas, but I will be sure to let you know when I do.


Meika said...

These sound like good coffee questions!

My word verification for this comment is "trish". Maybe that's a sign and she's figured out all the answers already!

Marcy said...

I whole heartedly agree with what you said about the whole "green" movement. What our media, Hollywood, and government have made of it is sickening. Especially the way they are brain washing our children with it. I've had to turn off Curious George now on PBS because that appears to be their whole agenda. And I don't want our kids to be brainwashed by that stuff either. It is one thing to be a good steward of God's creation, and all His gifts He gives us. But we have taken it too far now, and its just going to get worse.

As far as creationism and Genesis, check out the ministry Answers in Genesis. They recently opened a Creation Museum in Kentucky that I have heard is quite amazing. Maybe visiting their site will answer some questions for you. And then you'll know where I stand on the issue as well. (That the earth is about 6000 years old, not millions of years) :)