This morning, my little loves awoke and my daughter immediately went to our resource shelf (this is a fancy name for the place I keep all the oddly shaped educational toys I’ve bought but don’t want the kids wrecking or losing) and pulled out a pack of Bible story cards. These cards are made of heavy cardboard and feature an illustration of a well-known Bible story on one side and a retelling of the story on the other. Fae delighted in the pictures and was very content pulling them out and placing them back in the little box over and over. Alex, however, surprised me by naming almost all of the stories by recognizing the illustration.
I was impressed at how many Bible stories he knows. He named off the creation, Jonah, Daniel, Moses, Jesus’ crucifixion, the Resurrection and others. (At one point, I explained we were looking at a picture of Peter telling people about Jesus. Fae said, “Wow. That Peter Pan loves Jesus.” Wonderful…) Something tickled in the back of my mind though; I’ve recently read an article by Ken Hamm (of Answers in Genesis) postulating that children in Sunday school who are taught Bible “stories” begin to believe that these stories are fairy tales and that they fall away at a greater rate than those who do not attend Sunday school. Hamm, according to the article, believes that these ‘Sunday school kids’ are being convinced that Scripture is just a bunch of fairy tales and that the Bible doesn’t answer real questions. They eventually find the Word irrelevant to their lives.
While I would want to read his book for myself, (I have questions about the way the research was conducted), I also wanted to be sure that Alex understands the difference between history and fantasy. I asked him if he knew the difference between the two, but he just stared at me blankly. So I asked if he knows the difference between stories that really happened and stories that are just pretend. He said, a little uncertainly, that he did. So I gave him an example by reminding him that Daddy and I tell him stories about history- we talk about the day we were married and the days he and Fae were born. These are real stories- the events really happened. These kinds of stories- and the stories in his book about William Penn and the stories in the Bible- are history. They are true and tell us about something that happened far away or a long time ago. Fantasy, I told him, is make-believe. Pegasus, Perseus, Andromeda, Snow White, Rose Red- these are all characters in make-believe stories. The people never lived, the action never really happened.
Alex took that in, nodded, and continued playing with Bible cards… Twenty minutes later, we were dressed and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Then, stopping me in my tracks, Alex asked, “Mommy, why aren’t there dinosaurs in the Bible?”
My sweet son is in love with animals, prehistoric and otherwise. His mind roams over the African plains, to the jungles of South America to the prairies of Kansas. If an animal lives there, his mind is there. So it’s not so surprising that he eventually wanted to know what the Bible has to say about dinosaurs.
Now, I believe that the Bible is to be taken literally at all points, so I believe that the world was created in seven literal days (when we start giving ourselves the authority to dismiss scripture as poetic, we give ourselves authority to judge ALL of Scripture including that concerning sin, Jesus, and the Lord’s will for us. I’m just not willing to set a foot on that slippery slope myself…). I believe that men co-existed with every animal that has ever lived and there are scientists who believe the same thing. So I hopped on the computer to do some quick research. I found a really wonderful site that shows where the Bible talks about animals that don’t fit the description of any animal we know except a dinosaur. Then I showed Alex the pictures of the dinosaurs the Bible writers were likely describing. It was ten minutes of research and sharing and it reaffirmed my son’s belief in God’s Word.
I believe that the Word says exactly what it means. It is not fantasy, it is not make-believe. We can trust those words because they are THE Word- our Lord reveals Himself to us in those pages. I want my children to have that kind of relationship to God’s Word- a relationship where they don’t give themselves authority to remake it after the world’s image and where they are willing to be careful & honest about what it does say.
I didn’t know when I woke up this morning that I would be giving my son lessons about the reliability of the Word, but that’s what happens when you homeschool- you get to be there to respond to all those little moments in which your child’s faith is built or torn down. I am so grateful and truly humbled- to have partnered with the Lord today in bringing Alex another step closer to relationship with Him.
What a joy this life is!