If, as the Bible says, “the invisible things of [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,” (Romans 1:20) then why do so many people – even Christians – reject the biblical account of creation? How is it that seemingly intelligent people adopt absurd theories of the origin of life and remain blinded to the obvious understanding that the very existence of that which is attests to the existence of its creator? There are many who debate this issue much more effectively than me, but let me present one perspective that has been impressed on my mind lately. Imagine the following scenario with me.
A young couple is expecting their first child. They have purchased a home and are delighted that the room that will become the baby’s room has a colorful mural painted on one wall. They marvel that it is perfectly suited to the color scheme they have selected for the room. Soon the baby is born, and as he grows they spend much time in the room – rocking him to sleep, playing with toys, listening to music, etc. Of course, the mural is observed and is ever-present in the day’s activities, but it is never discussed. Until the child hits the stage of curiosity, that is. Then, of course, he must know “why” about everything!
The parents do their best to provide understandable answers for their boy, but when he asks where the mural came from, they merely respond that it has been there since they moved in. Someone in the distant past painted it, but they don’t go into detail about the artist or the work. The boy accepts the answer without further question. His mental capacities do not yet permit him to analyze information or form hypotheses; he is merely gathering information. Nevertheless, this information forms the framework for his view and understanding of life.
Time passes all too quickly and the first day of school arrives. The parents enthusiastically tell their son about all the great things he will do and learn, and hug him goodbye with a reminder to be good and listen to his teachers. And listen he does. He sees and hears new things all the time; his teachers seem to know the answers to everything! As he learns to read, he is fascinated to find that many books contain pictures of rooms with murals similar to the one on his wall. But the authors of these books explain the phenomenon much more fully: over a period of time, the natural dyes in the wood and brick of the houses seep through the walls to form the images that now adorn them. Aha! His parents had thought that someone painted the murals, but this explanation is much more complex and intriguing. Plus, his science lessons explore the properties of wood and brick and how long it would take them to seep through sheetrock to form images; his spelling lists contain words pertaining to houses and murals; his language assignments sometimes require him to do research on other murals and write about them. In short, the gap of knowledge that formerly existed concerning the mural in his room has been neatly filled and he is given no cause to doubt the veracity of the claims he is now led to believe.
The boy has been led to believe an aberration of what is true and naturally understood, not because it is a more plausible explanation, but because nearly everything in his experience and education has been designed to lead him to that belief. Why should he not believe something that to us seems so silly and obviously not in touch with reality? Indeed, the absence of any intentional instruction to the contrary by his parents has left the understanding gap wide open to be filled by all manner of absurdities.
The earliest years of a child’s life are rife with opportunities for building on the clear and natural understanding of creation and the world God created – an understanding that is in harmony with reality. In his excellent article, It’s Never Too Early, Ken Ham discusses specific ways that they did this with their children. He also highlights the shocking statistic that “before college, over 80% [of young people in the church] were ‘already gone’ from the church in their hearts and minds.” I have yet to read his new book, Already Gone, but I think it is safe to point out that few parents realize that godless philosophies permeate our government education system. This is something that I address in more detail in my book, Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate, based on things I observed when I was teaching in our local schools. If there is one thing that our public schools do well, it is provide an environment where students “learn” day-in and day-out to live their lives completely divorced from God.
Psalm 10:4 declares “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” The converse of this, then, is that “The righteous, through the humility of his countenance, will seek after God: God is in all his thoughts.” Parents have the incredible responsibility and privilege of providing an environment for their children where they can grow in righteousness and humility and a constant awareness of God. This is first modeled and then instilled throughout the daily course of the life of a family. Perhaps some evaluation is in order. Are your thoughts full of God? Are your children’s thoughts full of God? Do you see Him in every facet of life? Do they see His handiwork in the creation that surrounds them? Do they recognize His work in history and in the daily events that transpire?
Yes, it takes conscientious effort to sift through the philosophies and theories of our day and throw out that which is false and inconsistent with reality. But the only way we can do this is if we are working from a framework of truth – a framework that can be effectively built conversation by conversation as parents instill truth in the hearts and minds of their children. And if parents consistently do this with their children beginning at a young age, they will find the task much simpler because they are merely affirming what God has created us to clearly see and understand.