Teaching seventh and eighth graders about biblical creation is one thing, but hearing and answering their questions after the classes shows where they are. The unlimited energy and raw thought at these ages makes for unrelated and quick inquiries at first glance, but not really. The dominant naturalistic world view makes provision for some really odd explanations in books and media that lead to their questions. The Bible answers the questions on the basis of fundamentals: He created (Genesis 1 and 2); Adam and Eve ignored His instructions so sin and death entered the world (Genesis 3), and we have been doing poorly ever since because we are of the same lineage. However, as I tell them, most of the world holds to another premise: a God-deleted universe that self-creates, which yields some strange things in story telling.
“Do mermaids exist?” For one class, it was one of the first questions. “We have read reports that they do! Here is a notebook with pictures.” They show me a digital picture or reference a news report. So, I return the question. “Do they exist?” We take a vote. A substantial percentage says they exist. My answer follows: “They do not. Why?”
I begin to explain what was covered in a previous class to provide an answer: Genesis is clear about “kinds.” They don’t cross. Within kinds, reproduction generally can occur. One kind does not change into another. Speciation occurs, but that is not the same thing. But the answer yields more questions, like “why do the books say we came from apes?” I explain again: If God is deleted from the equation, everything we see must be explained by the naturalistic/evolution story: some sort of big bang and then gradual change during 18 billion years. The last tiny fraction of that period is when simple life emerges and eventually leads to the students in the class. Since people cannot find the “missing links” in the fossil record, they paint them in books as partially human and state that we must have come from “them” — whatever they are. Ultimately, it leads back to the “Bang.” Of course, they want to know about fossils, which were caused by the Genesis Flood but not eons of gradual burial. That issue gets deferred to another class on the Great Flood.
So, I explain, He created people with His imprint – fully functional, language capable, and like we are today. It’s the plain reading of Genesis. Apes are not human. Fish are fish. Birds are birds. And, guess what: a mermaid, which half fish and half person, is a whimsical part of an already unsubstantiated story. It might be great for movies and stories, but it has not and won’t happen. I watch them think about this explanation.
But, they jump to the stars quickly. The next question is about “falling stars.” I explain meteorites, or little rocks in space. “Why so many of them,” they ask. I talk to them about the estimated amount of space junk hitting the atmosphere then transition to talk about asteroids. Then I begin to talk about the young solar system, the decay of stars, and what happened just after the beginning when God subjected creation to decay after the tragedy of the man’s Fall, which is caused from his sin — that disobedience to God at the beginning. Things “went wrong” in the solar system, too, since it was subjected to decay like the rest of the universe. I paraphrase a revealing reference about decay: Hebrews 1:10-11.
Then, I get them to think about some pictures that are easy to find. The moon was obviously subjected to extreme violence. The asteroid belt shows a monstrous result of a failed planetary body. Stars fail. We have a decaying universe and earth. Some of that “little” garbage comes into the atmosphere and burns up (back to the “falling stars” question). Comets are short-lived and show pieces of something that did not hang together.
You can see them thinking as I go on. I tell them the obvious: History shows you in obvious terms that mankind is not getting better. There is a strong biblical case for saying we are getting worse. It is even born out in genetics. It’s all because of what happened at the beginning. On the other hand, evolution suggests we, in the long run, should get better. So, I ask them, “Think about your history books. Can you find where we are getting better? Are wars decreasing? Do we get along better? I think not. That is precisely why Jesus came — we need to be born again.”
The questions go on class after class. the material is relatively systematically presented, but the question and discussion periods show them thinking. They are sifting through what they have seen and heard. They are realizing that the biblical view is radically different, and the story of evolution (naturalism in a larger sense) is a story with big holes and a God-deleted story. That is why, I suggest, the timeline for naturalism is made so very long. After all, if you take the naturalistic view, there has to be some chance, no matter how small, the world around us can happen on its own! Is that true? After a couple of exercises, they have more doubts about the naturalistic framework.
From mermaids to meteorites may seem a bit unusual for a set of questions, but you have to think like a young person: fast and furious. One question after another gets spilled pretty quickly. The biblical view has answers that are firm and biblical history is plain about a short time line (a tad over 6000 years). Naturalism, on the other hand, where biblical God not permitted in any fashion, is a story to make everything happen on its own; and it is asserted to take eighteen billion years.
Are these common questions and issues? Absolutely. I have heard questions about mermaids, apes to humans, origins of the stars, comets, asteroids, and meteorites multiple times. So, I challenge them like I challenge the reader: find the equation representing processes to produce first life, to produce the first particles, to assemble the first star cluster, to make a galaxy…all without direction and using random undirected processes. Look in any book you want; they cannot be found. Find the concrete evidence of missing links…between hundreds of living things to get to a man in the end. None of these things can be found, but most books assume these things are true! One can, however, find plenty of artwork and assertions.
There is as better answer and one you can bank on: the Bible.
…Back to another class and more questions.
End note: a biblical creation curriculum for high school level is in its final draft and test stages that will become available a federation of Christian schools in the Philippines in a year or so. An elementary version will follow after that. Versions will be available to others eventually. In the meantime, anyone can go to the cwm4him.org site under courses and download the shorter bible study version of the material. If you want to research the topic, I highly recommend creation.com (a large site with lots of references). R. Beard