Emily looked up from the picture in her library book. “Mommy, did we come from monkeys? I thought God made me.”
Gulp. The “E-word.” Evolution. My daughter’s trusting gaze pierced me. I hadn’t expected to deal with this so soon. Now what?
No matter where a child is educated, questions about evolution can’t be escaped. How can Christian parents help their children make sense of this cultural hot button in a way that upholds Scripture and encourages them to search for truth about God’s creation? Kids deserve good answers.
Let’s face it.
Avoiding the topic isn’t realistic—or helpful. Peter instructs believers to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Parents don’t need to be rocket scientists to help their kids appreciate science in a way that honors the Creator. The best efforts involve a few simple elements.
1. Promote discussion and trust.
Foster an atmosphere at home that welcomes questions about faith and Scripture’s reliability by encouraging discussion and by speaking positively about science and scientists. We want to be the ones who coach our children on how to think through tricky topics like evolution.
2. Engage in science.
Most libraries and bookstores are filled with materials on scientific subjects kids find fascinating. Watch videos together. Take field trips to museums or zoos. Prepare your kids for the trip by researching together the things you expect to see on your visit. Along the way, if a few of these activities credit evolution for the wondrous natural world, look at it as an opportunity to awaken their senses to the Creator.
3. Model a respectful attitude.
Peter’s admonition also tells us that Christians’ attitudes when defending our faith should reflect “gentleness and respect.” Kids follow our cues. Parents can inadvertently vilify science by focusing on the negative aspects of evolution or attributing conspiratorial motives to scientists. Turn the conversation around by pointing out how scientific discoveries actually help build a positive case for the Bible’s accuracy.
4. Find a mentor.
Children learn by role modeling. Maybe there’s a scientist hiding in your church who would be thrilled by an invitation to mentor your child. Another source of inspiration could be testimonies of Christian scientists like those mentioned in the book Scientists Who Believe.
Equipping our kids to face evolution’s challenge to our understanding of the biblical creation account helps prepare them to explain rationally and respectfully their faith to nonbelievers and to bring hope to those who have none.