You can see that flight simulators have evolved nicely in the past 20 years. So much so that you can’t tell the difference between a real photo of the instrument panel, and one in a game. Games evolve. Cars evolve. Even animals evolve in what we see called micro-evolution, or small changes over time. Darwin’s famous finches are an example of small changes over time. But there is another example of evolution called macro-evolution that is another matter entirely.
Evolution. For some parents, this is the dreadful word that comes with junior high or high school, and initiates your child’s brain washing. If your child is in the public school system, you may have already begun to share with them how evolution is not true. Yet they are being taught by men and women who are bright, intelligent and persuasive.
Can you explain what is specifically wrong with evolution to your child? For years, you have heard from church and from your Christian friends that it is in error, but can you give good reasons for your belief? For some, the word evolution = anti Bible or anti God. If you believe in evolution, you can’t believe in God.
If you’re lucky, one fateful day, your child will come home asking questions about evolution. Keep in mind, most do not go to their parents if they have questions. Instead, they turn to their friends for answers. Their friends, who are learning the same things about evolution, and who may not even hold to the Christian world view.
You can appreciate my daughter Rebecca’s drawing if you have some doubts or questions about evolution, and how true it is. Then again, if she is given reasons to believe, or significant evidence to consider macro-evolution valid, then she may not have been willing to draw it for me. If your children’s friends are believing or participating in actions your child does not agree with, the child with ‘reasons’ for why they disagree will stand firm. The child who is only parroting their parents is much more easily swayed into doing or believing in something counter to how they are raised. This is only a common sense observation, because as adults we are no different.
If you do manage to ‘isolate’ them so that their blind faith will not be challenged, you are only delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later, they will hear something that challenges their faith. Unless you are raising children in the bayous of Louisiana, thirty miles from any town, odds are pretty good that some day, someone will give a thoughtful response to why evolution is true or God is not real.
Imagine the first time your child is taking a biology class which covers evolution, and the instructor asks the class, “Who does not believe in evolution?” Hesitantly, your child raises his/her hand. The instructor asks why, and he/she responds after a moment that the Bible says the earth was created in six days, not millions of years. The instructor might say, “I don’t believe everything in the Bible, and besides, Christians don’t even have a single ‘original’ manuscript, so how can you trust it?”
How would your teen respond to these questions? How would you respond?
Frankly, the whole idea of isolating your children from the theory of evolution, and other anti-God concepts, is mistaken. You should be, as Greg Koukl put it, inoculating you children, not isolating them.
How many of you just keep your child at home so they don’t get the the flu, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Polio, Tetanus, Pertussis, etc? None I hope. Most of you, I imagine, have your child vaccinated against these major diseases. Why? Because you can’t keep them in a sterile, plastic box all their life. At some point, usually around the age of 5 or 6, they begin to engage the world in the form of public school.
Sooner or later they will grow up, get a drivers license, a job, and begin to see and hear all the things from which you have been isolating them. So unless you have inoculated them, you may see some changes you don’t like when they are out on their own.
David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, noted of those that attend church who are 18-29 years of age, 36% feel they can’t ask their most pressing life questions at church. Nearly 25% have significant intellectual doubts about their faith, and 38% feel they have to choose between their faith and their friends.1 Why would someone feel they have to make that kind of choice? In part, it would due to a lack of answers, and answers are exactly what apologetics can give.
Parents can feel overwhelmed when trying to answer some of these tough questions, but it is never too late to start. Ask your teen what question or questions they have about their faith; maybe you have the same. If you are a youth pastor, ask your students what questions they struggle with, and write down what they say. It could be that you don’t have any response, and you will have to research an answer. If that is the case, then all of you will learn something.
So how can we trust the Bible if we don’t have the original manuscripts? Is that even true? Yes it is, but we don’t need the original manuscripts to know what the authors wrote in the Old and New Testament.
This is a common misconception which suggests the number of times it was copied would allow for a sizable number of errors to seep into the manuscripts. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek share that the New Testament has nearly 5,700 Greek manuscripts. You will also find more than 9,000 manuscripts in other languages, such as Latin and Arabic, creating a total of about 15,000 complete Bibles. 2
Imagine for a moment if your grandmother had a recipe for your favorite pie which she hand wrote. Then she gave it to each of her dozen or so grandchildren to copy. They in turn would then share and distribute other copies. After a few generations, the grandmother’s original copy was lost, but you still had several of the early copies from the grandchildren to the great grandchildren. You could carefully compare the list of ingredients in each copy and determine what is the correct recipe.
For example, if copy called for a ¼ cup of salt and a tablespoon of sugar, but others said a 1/4 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of salt, you could easily conclude which was correct because someone just transposed the numbers. This is a simple but precise example on how they determine what is accurate within the ancient scriptures. I will also add that the scribes who made the copies of the original documents did so with great care and attention to detail. The accuracy would be significantly greater when compared to how someone might copy a family recipe.
Nearly 15,000 manuscripts compared to the next most supported ancient document, the Iliad by Homer, with only 643 manuscripts, and the earliest surviving copy is over 500 years later than the original, while we have copies dating to the first century after the crucifixion.
Apologetics can provide answers to difficult questions. The questions may come from any direction and be related to not only evolution, but a wide variety of subjects.
Having a ready answer if you have studied the material and common arguments is great, but not necessary. If you don’t have an answer, then work together to find one. What is more important than having a ready answer is knowing you can find one. Romans 1:20
1. Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me – Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011. Print.
2. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004. Print.
I can’t wait for Evolution by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.knowingforsure.com/category/blog/.