LEGO models. Cakes. Paper dolls.
The list could go on and on. These everyday examples embody a simple reality: Everything made needs a maker. From the opening words of Scripture to the earliest Christian creeds, the reality that God made everything has been foundational to our walk of faith. Unlike past generations, however, moms and dads can't assume their children will embrace this basic and obvious truth because children today are bombarded with a very different "creed" boldly proclaiming that chance, not God, made it all.
Perhaps more than ever, believing parents need to help their children become confident in the truth that God is their maker and Father. Two simple phrases can give kids a firm grasp of this essential concept:
1. God is the intelligent designer of the universe.
The "Creation versus evolution" debate used to be framed as a debate between religion and science — between Christians who believe the Genesis account and scientists who consider life a product of random chance. But the nature of this debate has changed as a growing number of scientists view recent discoveries in molecular biology as undeniable evidence of intelligent design. Exposing kids to key voices in this debate and describing God as the intelligent designer will help them connect the dots between ancient Christian teachings and cutting-edge science.
2. God is our almighty Father.
Science tells us we are incredibly complex organisms with more "code" than the most sophisticated software program. But Christian teaching provides an even more important truth our children need to understand: God is their almighty Father, the One from whom their lives proceed. Our children need to know they are not the product of chance — orphans in a meaningless world. They are instead the product of love — children of a purposeful Father.
— Kurt Bruner
The following activities and discussion questions are designed to help your children fully embrace the reality that God made the universe and everything in it — including them.
Help your child with a simple jigsaw puzzle. Emphasize that every piece has a place. Talk about who might have made the puzzle (a person or company). Then gather random objects from around the house and let your child try to arrange them into a perfect fit just as the puzzle pieces did. Demonstrate how the pieces won't fit together because no one had a plan. Point out that someone planned the jigsaw puzzle and made the pieces so that they would fit together. In the same way, God had a plan when He made the world. He knew what He was doing.
Then go for a walk with your child. Gather things from nature to feel, smell and see. Point out interesting colors and textures. Let your child be drawn into wonder as she explores the small things that have been collected.
Explain that God created all of nature: the things we see — such as plants, animals and people — and things we cannot see — such as the wind. Point to objects found in nature and ask, "Who made this?" The child can answer, "God made this." Extend this activity over several days while in the car or at the park.
— D'Arcy Maher
Gather alphabet letter magnets and spell out your child's name on the fridge. (You may also cut out paper letters and arrange them on a tabletop.) Surround his name with other random letters. Ask your child, "What do the letters spell? How did your name get on the fridge? Did the letters accidentally come together, or did someone arrange them to spell out your name?"
Now share this truth: Just like the letters didn't fall in place to create a word, everything you see in the world, from trees to animals to humans, didn't happen by accident either — it was all made by God. Nature reveals to us that there is a Creator. As an example, talk to your child about how his body works in amazing ways. Think of all the incredible things his body can do, such as eat, sleep, run, dance and jump.
Finish your time together by explaining that God created your child to love and serve Him. Continue by allowing your child to spell out simple words using the alphabet letters. Talk about how even our creativity and intelligence reflect our loving Creator.
— Suzanne Hadley Gosselin
You're enjoying a stroll along the beach. Salt mist floats in the air. Wind blows your hair. You glance to the side of the boardwalk and notice a pile of sand. You're certain you see Noah's ark. Not only that, Noah is standing in front of his boat beckoning the animals.
Wow, you think. Wind and rain are amazing! I wonder how many years it took for the wind to pile up this sand and for the rain to erode it to create these shapes.
OK, you probably aren't thinking that. Instead you're most likely thinking, What artist created this awesome sand sculpture?
If you're walking the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., the answer is Randy Hofman. For more than 35 years, Randy has been crafting Christian-themed sand sculptures.
As a family, visit randyhofman.com and click on "Sand Sculptures." Ask your children:
- Do you think it's possible for wind, rain and chance to create sand sculptures like Randy's? How can you see intelligence in Randy's designs?
- Do you see evidence of God's intelligence and design around you? How?
- Look at your fingerprints or the stars. What's more likely: These things happened by chance or God orchestrated them? What can you learn about God by looking at His creation?
— Jesse Florea
Time With Your Teens
Context can make all the difference when talking with your teens about our Creator, and concepts can become more tangible when you're surrounded by God's handiwork. Seize opportunities such as trips to the Grand Canyon, walks along the beach or stargazing strolls around the neighborhood to naturally raise questions such as "How did this get here?"
Use the following questions to open a dialogue:
- If I were to drop a deck of cards, what are the chances that they would form a house of cards?
- How long would it take for them to become a house of cards? Why wouldn't they become a house of cards? What if I left them on the floor for hours or even years?
- Is there anything in our world that doesn't reflect a need for a maker?
- What do your science classes teach about how life began? How do those views fit with your beliefs about God? [Give your teens room to wrestle with and express their views. Ask your teens to compare their views on Creation to what happens when cards are dropped.]
- What do teachings about "chance" imply about the value of life? [Ask teens to consider their values, priorities and purpose in life based on this one fact. Compare that to teachings about a Creator who made it all. Once again, have teens consider this in light of values, priorities and purpose.] How do these differences affect your view of both God and yourself?
Consider reviewing the list of intelligent design resources included on the previous page. Together with your teens, embark on the adventure of studying the opposing worldviews.
— Jeremy V. Jones
The theory of evolution may dominate biology instruction in public schools today, but you can equip your kids to defend their faith in God as the Creator.
A strong spiritual foundation coupled with a solid understanding of God will prepare your child to resist a Darwinian worldview.
Ask your child:
- If I dump a box of LEGO pieces on the floor, what do you think the LEGOs will make? Why wouldn't they fall out in the shape of a robot?
- If I put the LEGO blocks and the robot directions together for a few days, would I eventually find an amazing creation? Why not? What do you need in order to make something?
- What would you think if someone told you that everything in the world is here because all the building blocks had been dumped together? Can things be built by chance? Think of everything that exists — from a bug to an iPod to a person. Does anything exist that wasn't made by someone?
- Who is our creator? [Read Ephesians 2:10 together.] Why is it important to know that God created you and has a plan for you?
Review our list of resources on intelligent design, and study this topic with your kids so together you're equipped to defend your faith.