Developing a Worldview that Accepts the Supernatural

February 14, 2023

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How do we develop in our children a Worldview that accepts the supernatural? We live in a world that often discounts anything that cannot be proven through the scientific method. In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz explores what what we mean by supernatural and offers practical ways to help our children to have an understanding of the supernatural within a biblical worldview.


Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the children God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical Worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm thrilled you've joined me for another episode today. Today's question says, "how do we begin opening up our kids to the supernatural? We've talked about Bible stories of the supernatural, but how do we make this real for our children and not only existing in Bible stories?" Great question because we know that we live in a world that many times just discounts anything that cannot be proven through the scientific method. So thinking through, okay, how do we make sure that we're actually developing in our children a Worldview that accepts the supernatural? So the first question that I would respond to this questioner with is what do we mean by supernatural?

We really have to dive down deep and understand when we say opening up our children to the supernatural, what do we mean? Now, there's a couple possibilities here. We could mean anything that's metaphysical, meaning anything that's not physical, anything that's beyond the physical realm. So first we could mean anything that's metaphysical. Another thing we could mean is belief in God because God is metaphysical. He is not physical. And so we mean how do we open up our children to belief in God? Or are we more talking about the miraculous like miracles, stuff that defies the laws of nature? Is that what we're wanting to open up our kids to the possibility of? Or are we kind of more talking about sensing God's presence in a mystical, metaphysical, spiritual kind of way? Because depending on what we're talking about, what we're going to need to do is different for each of these.

So I'm going to just go through what my advice would be for all four of these and how we can make sure that we're opening up our kids to a Worldview that actually includes the supernatural. So if we're talking about just opening up our kids to the metaphysical realm, to belief in something beyond just what we can see here, taste, smell, touch, and feel, I would argue that we all already believe in the metaphysical. Even people who claim that they don't, even people who claim to be naturalist or physicalist or atheist, I think we actually all do believe in the metaphysical just thinking about things that we all kind of believe are real, that aren't physical. Think about your thoughts. Okay, Greg Cocal from Stand Reason always gives us example, and he says, imagine your mother at the kitchen sink washing dishes when you were a child and says, picture that in your mind.

What color shirt was she wearing? Where is the sink located? All these kind of things. And once you have that picture in your mind, then he says, okay, so where was that picture located? Was that picture physically actually located inside your brain? No. Different parts of your brain are stimulated to draw up that memory, but that memory actually isn't located physically anywhere. It's not like scientists could go and dig around in your brain and could actually find that memory physically located in your brain. And all of our thoughts are like that. Yes, we use our mind, we use our brain to develop those thoughts, but those thoughts aren't actually physically located there, that our memories are thoughts. These are things that are metaphysical. They're not things that are actually physical. Then when we also think of virtues and intangibles, those are things that are metaphysical as well.

Think about love, okay? Love is not something that you can hold in your hand. You can't experiment with it, you can't see it. You can see the effects of love, but you can't actually hold love and see it and smell it and hear it and taste it and touch it. Love is not physical. Love is something that is meta physical. Same with something like justice. Okay, we can see the effects of justice, but we can't actually hold justice in our hands. So if we're talking about opening up our kids to the supernatural, and what we mean by that is the metaphysical realm. Our kids already know that the metaphysical realm exists just as we already know that it exists. Even if we're not talking about God, when we're just talking about things like thoughts, when we're talking about things like virtues or vices, those are things that are intangible, that are metaphysical realities that we all understand genuinely exists.

So if the questionnaire, if that's what you were asking about, I would say we can just point out to our kids all of these things that we already know are real in our Early Childhood Worldview Curriculum here at Foundation Worldview, we actually do an activity with little kids where we're trying to help them see that there are certain things that they cannot see with their eyes, but they still know are real. So we actually play a game with them where I'll say a word, and if that word is something that they can see, they just take their fingers and put them around their eyes like glasses, and they say, see. And then if it's something that they cannot see but they know is real, they take their fingers and they put them up in front of their eyes and cover their eyes and say cannot see.

And so we'll go through things, we'll go through things like a book or a toy, and then some of these intangible things like love and kindness and fairness and our thoughts, things like that, just so that they understand, "oh wow, there's a whole bunch of things that I cannot see with my eyes that I still know are real." So we can just play a simple like that with our kids. If we're working with older kids, we can just have them make a list of things. What are some things that are not physical, but we actually live as if they are real.

Now, the second thing, if we're talking about opening up our kids to belief in God, if we're talking about opening up our kids to belief that God exists, so God who is part of the metaphysical realm, if we look at the first chapter of Romans in Romans chapter one, verse 20, it says, "since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made so that people are without excuse."

So in this first in Romans, we see that God's invisible qualities, specifically his power and his divine nature are seen in creation, that when we take an honest look at creation, we see that creation points to a designer. Those of you who have gone through Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum with your children, you know that we have an entire unit where we go through that looking at how the clues in life and the world around us point to a designer. And so Romans one makes clear that we already know as humans that God exists, and research has actually backed this up, that research on the beliefs of children have found that children have a natural predisposition to belief in God, that even when they're not taught about God by their parents, that they just have this natural predisposition, that what actually has to be directly taught to be believed is atheism, not theism.

So you can go and you can look at the research findings on that, that multiple studies have found that children have a natural disposition towards belief in God. And so from Romans one, and then being Romans one, supported by what we find in scientific findings, simply talking with our children about God, reading scripture and praying together will continue forming this belief in them, this natural predisposition that they already have toward belief in the supernatural. If we're taking our job seriously and we're actually continuing to talk about God and talk about his word just in the everyday moments in life, we're going to continue forming this belief in God.

Now, the third thing I mentioned, if we're thinking about how do we open up our kids to belief in miracles? Miracles are any act that goes outside of the laws of nature that defies the laws of nature.

Now, we know from both scripture and from experience that God is capable of doing miracles, and he still chooses to miracles at sometimes today. But if we're talking about how do we get our children to experience a miracle, really, there's nothing in scripture that gives us a guarantee that a miracle is going to happen. And sometimes when we read scripture, we come away with an incorrect understanding of what our expectation should be for the miraculous. Now, we should expect that God can do whatever he pleases and that God will answer our prayers. Sometimes he'll answer those prayers and the affirmative, and he'll come in and he'll use natural means to answer those prayers. Sometimes he'll come in and he'll use supernatural. Miraculous means. Sometimes he'll say no to prayers that we pray because we're not praying according to His will in what he knows is best.

And sometimes when we read scripture, we tend to think, oh my goodness, miracles were just happening all of the time. We're, when you think about the timeline of when scripture was written, you know that the first books of the Bible were written more than a thousand years before Jesus came, and they cover several thousand years of history in the Old Testament. We see several thousand years of history than the New Testament was written in a relatively short amount of time in less than a century, and it covers a relatively short amount of time. And so when we look at the Old Testament covering thousands of years, we do not see miracles happening at every single part in history in the Old Testament that yes, there were times when God did come in and miraculously intervene on behalf of his people, but we see these miraculous interventions mostly limited to certain time periods during the time of Moses when he was leading the people out of Egypt through the wilderness into the Promised land.

We see many miracles happening then as God was turning his people from just this group of people that were enslaved in Egypt, actually into a nation, into his people, we see many miracles happening. Then also during the time of Elijah and Elisha, when God was about to send his people into captivity and he was calling them back to himself to repent, we see that during the time of Elijah and Elisha, there were many miracles taking place. Then the third time period in which we see this happening is during the ministry of Jesus. So during his three years of ministering on earth and then directly after that, his ascension when the early church was being built up, we see many miracles happening. But when we look at the entirety of scripture, there's nothing in there to lead us to believe that we should expect miracles to be happening all the time.

There's also nothing in there that should lead us to believe that miracles have ceased at some point. So we should have this belief that God can still do the miraculous. There's many evidences of times when God has done the miraculous, but we shouldn't lead our children to the false belief that it's only when we experience a miracle that we can believe the truth of the Bible or the truth of God's existence, that the biggest miracle, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, that is well attested, that if you actually look into it, that the historical evidence, the best explanation, the most plausible explanation for all of the facts that we have is that Jesus actually rose from the dead. And because of that miracle, we can put our trust in Jesus in who he claimed to be in the scriptures, that he affirmed the Word of God.

So we want to make sure that our kids know, that yes, God still does miracles, and God can choose to do miracles whenever he likes, but we should not live with this expectation that we're going to be seeing miracles left and right, because that's not even a biblical expectation when we look at the Bible as a whole.

Then the fourth thing that I mentioned at the beginning is if by experiencing the supernatural, we're talking about sensing God's presence, I know that probably everyone who is watching and who has been redeemed by Jesus reconciled in their relationship to God has at times because we're in dwelt by the Holy Spirit, has at times sensed God's presence. And that is a gift. It's a blessing to be able to sense the closeness of God. However, we need to be careful and making sure that we are not grounding our children's understanding of God and trust in him with some personal subjective feeling. Because our feelings about God and towards God, they're going to go up and down throughout our entire lifetime.

There's going to be times when we sense God's closeness, and that's actually an actual sense of God's closeness. And there's also times when our emotions can just trick us because we are fallen image bearers, and we don't always have an accurate understanding of ourselves, of our emotions and of reality that we need to make sure that we're training our kids that everything that they think that they experience, that they're testing it against scripture, this thing that I just sensed from God, does this actually align with scripture? And we need to be very careful that we're not training our kids to read scripture in a way where they're just like, "oh, holy Spirit illuminates something to me." Can God's Holy Spirit illuminate something to us from His word? Yes, but we need to make sure that we are having an accurate understanding of the text, and we're not just putting our own feelings into this.

Now, I saw this recently at a conference that I attended. Recently, I went to a conference, a women's conference, and it was put on by a great organization, very biblically based biblically sound. They had wonderful speakers there, but there was one speaker who gave a keynote address, and in her address I saw this very problem that I'm describing. She was talking about going on walks and meditating on scripture, a really good thing to do, a really good thing to do. But then she mentioned this one part in one of her walks where she said The Holy Spirit just illuminated something to her in the text. And my mom and I were at both at the conference together and we both looked at one another and we were like, that's not at all what this text says, that she had attributed someone in the text saying something that it wasn't that person in the text that was saying it at all.

And her whole point was based on that, and she was just like, oh, the Holy Spirit just illuminated that to me. And that's a very clear example of someone with very good intentions, someone who really loves God, but she thought the Holy Spirit had illuminated something to her that very clearly the Holy Spirit did not illuminate to her because it was an incorrect understanding of the text. So we need to make sure that we're not training our kids to base their understanding of God's existence on some personal subjective experience. We need to make sure that we're training them to soundly, read, interpret, and apply God's Word, and we're giving them opportunities to pray and see God answer prayers very clearly in the way we pray for them at times, and then at other times see him say, no. This was for me as a child growing up, one of the most powerful experiences that I had.

There was many times in my life where I would pray for things and it just didn't seem like God was answering them, and I would get so discouraged. And then there was other times where God very clearly answered a prayer. I remember when I was in seventh grade it was that time when you're starting to become a little bit more independent, and I was starting to do more things with friends, and I actually needed a little bit of money to be able to go out and do things with friends. And so I wanted to get a job, but I knew my parents wouldn't allow me to actually get a real job. So I needed something like babysitting or something else that was just a little bit here and there. And so one night I just prayed, God, I really could use a job. Can you have someone actually approach me about a job that I could have?

And the next two days, two different people approached me about babysitting, and I was like, whoa. That was a very clear answer to prayer. And then I also saw other times where my prayers were answered with negatives, but both of those experiences pointed me towards the truth and the goodness of God. So just as a reminder, no matter what you're thinking of when you're talking about opening up our kids to the supernatural, whether you're talking about just the metaphysical realm in general, belief in God, miracles, sensing God's presence, that our children have a natural disposition towards the supernatural, all of us know that the metaphysical realm exists because we all believe in things that are not physical, things like our thoughts, things like love, things like justice, like kindness. So we have this understanding that the metaphysical exists. Our kids have this natural predisposition towards belief in God, which science has shown and which the Bible speaks to.

We need to make sure that we're just rooting our kids in scripture that they have a biblical understanding of who God is and what they should expect as they live their lives seeking and serving the God of the universe.

Well, that's a wrap for this episode. As always, if you have found this content beneficial, we would ask that you would just consider liking subscribing, writing a review, and even just sharing this content with those that God has placed in your sphere of influence. We really want to get this into as many hands as possible so that we can equip as many children as we can to understand the truth of the biblical Worldview as we leave our time together. My prayer for you today, as always, is that God would richly bless you as you continue to faithfully disciple the children he's placed in your care. I'll see you next time.

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