Re: Children of YEC's in Sunday School (WAS: How to discuss evolution with friends

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Feb 13 2002 - 13:38:45 EST

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    "Freeman, Louise Margaret" wrote:

    > George,
    > Thank you for the thoughtful advice. A variation... how would you adapt this
    > advice for talking to children? I teach a Sunday School class of 1st and 2nd
    > graders, and, although the pastoral leadership of the church is very
    > supportive of theistic evolution, the parents of several of my children are
    > committed YECs. The subject hasn't come up in my class yet but I'm sure it
    > will... in nothing more than the typical "were dinosaurs on Noah's ark?" type
    > questions.
    > Is there a way to explain to small children that they don't have to choose
    > between the Bible and science without offending the beliefs of their parents?

            With this age it's probably best to deal with questions as they arise.
    Any attempt at a systematic comparison between what science says about origins &
    Genesis is likely just to be confusing. But you might have an exchange like this.

            "Were dinosaurs on Noah's ark?"
            "Probably not. People who study dinosaurs think that they all died a long
    time before the flood."
            If the response is just, "Oh" then let it ride. But you might get, e.g.,
    "Why did they die?" & you could talk briefly about asteroid impact. At some
    point the question of whether dinosaurs & people lived at the same time may come
    up, & then the whole question of time scale comes in.
            You could say that creation story in Genesis 1 is a story that tells us
    that God created the world but that it doesn't have all the details about how God
    did it. For this age I don't object to some modest concordism as a kind of
    temporary resting place. The days might be much longer than 24 hours & the other
    land animals were created before human beings (in the 1st account!) The "day-age"
    thing doesn't really work on close examination & I wouldn't "teach it", but in
    this context it's okay to suggest it as one way of thinking about things.
            (For that matter, when talking with adults on whom the light is just
    beginning to dawn & who say, "Maybe the days were millions of years long", I don't
    try to introduce more sophisticated ideas - right then.)
            Of course it's a tremendous help to have supportive pastoral backing.
    Perhaps it would be helpful to discuss with the pastor the possibility of him or
    her addressing the issue in an adult class or in a sermon.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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