Talking to Kids About Dinosaurs and Creation
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On this episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast, host Elizabeth Urbanowicz welcomes you into a deep dive into the mysteries of biblical creation and the fascinating existence of dinosaurs. Drawing from the well of scripture, Elizabeth addresses an important question from a listener – how do dinosaurs fit into the Genesis narrative? From young earth creationism to old earth creationism, Elizabeth navigates this complex topic with grace, encouraging listeners to ground their children in scripture while equipping them with critical thinking skills. For parents or educators interested in Christianity and science, this is an episode you cannot miss. Listen in to learn how you can nurture your child's curiosity about God's creation without compromising your faith. Don't forget to check the show notes for helpful resources!
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 that 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 that you've joined me for another episode today.
Today's question says, "my son is six and crazy about dinosaurs. I allow him to check out nonfiction books about them from the library and have allowed him to watch a BBC documentary about them. They are, of course, filled with narratives about life prior to human existence, et cetera. I don't want to promote non-Christian accounts of creation, but I also don't want to shelter him from information or hinder a very genuine interest in part of God's creation. I myself do not understand how dinosaurs fit into the Genesis narrative or how to help him evaluate the information about creation that he is getting from books and documentaries. Any guidance is greatly appreciated."
I think this is a situation that a lot of us find ourselves in, and we're just wondering, okay, how do we faithfully navigate differing accounts of how the Earth started, about how the universe started, about how life on Earth started, about how dinosaurs came to be, and how do we navigate this in a way that is aligning with the biblical view and also teaching our children how to think? Well? So that's what we're going to dive into today.
But before we do that, if you found the content of this podcast beneficial, would ask that you like and subscribe to make sure that you don't miss any future episodes, and also ask that you would write a review and share this content with those in your sphere of influence so that we can equip as many children as possible to understand the truth of the biblical worldview.
Now, when I first read this question, I really just appreciated the thoughtfulness of it that this person is trying to be very intentional about how they're raising this child in their care. And if you know anything about different accounts of creation and specifically about dinosaurs, you know that Christians disagree over this topic of the age of the earth, and what is Genesis 1 actually saying? And what I find most sad about this debate is that often Christians are not very charitable in their debate over this. I often find or hear from people who hold very strictly to a young earth view that anyone who is not holding to that same young earth view is compromising the gospel. That the suggestion that there was any animal death before the fall of mankind is just compromising the gospel. And then what I often hear from people who hold to an older earth creation view is that rather than listening to what a young earth creationist has to say, they'll just say, oh, you're closing your eyes to the science. Nothing that you say has any weight because you're not seriously considering the science.
And so I think that it's really important that as we're talking to our children about these topics, whether they're talking with them about dinosaurs or the age of the earth or the start of human life, or the age of the universe, any of these topics, I think the first thing that we need to make sure that we're doing is that we are being charitable in our explanation of these things and that our kids understand that there are Christians who genuinely love God and believed in the authority of scripture who hold to differing views. Now, in this short 15 minute podcast, I can't possibly go into all the ins and outs of dinosaurs and the different views of them. But what my goal here is in this podcast is to model how we can guide our kids through secondary and tertiary doctrines or issues of the faith over which Christians disagree.
Now, I say secondary and tertiary because these are not the things that we are hanging our hats on. They're not the gospel. They're not the things that unify Christians, doctrines over which Christians have to agree. Doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, through Jesus alone, things like that, that these are secondary or tertiary issues. Now, I think as we're guiding our kids through these secondary and tertiary issues, our goal should be to ground our kids in scripture and to equip them to think well, okay, I'll say that one more time. That our goal as we're walking our kids through these secondary and tertiary issues should be to ground them in scripture and equip them to think well. So in this particular case, when we're thinking about dinosaurs and the age of the earth, the first thing that I think we need to do is we need to research different views so that we know what the different views are.
Because if we're going to be guiding our kids, we need to have some semblance of an idea. And as this person wrote in the question, I'm not even sure how dinosaurs fit into the narrative of Genesis. So the person is saying, I don't, I'm not sure how this goes. And so the first thing we need to do is we need to research the different views so that we know what they are. Again, I don't have time in the short podcast to go into the details of young earth creationism versus old earth creationism. However, in the show notes for this episode, we will link helpful articles describing young earth creationism and old earth creationism. So those are articles that you can read just to ground yourself in a basic understanding of what do different Christians believe about these two different models of creation?
Once we've grounded ourself in an understanding of the different views, the second thing that I think we need to do is we need to read scripture passages with our kids that speak to this topic. So we need to actually immerse them in the scripture that speaks to this topic and have them then note what truths are revealed in this passage. So if we're talking about the creation account specifically dinosaurs, we're going to need to read through Genesis chapters one and two with our kids. And so we'll read through those chapters with them and then say, okay, what truths are revealed that specifically relate to this question that we're asking ourselves? So that way we're grounding them in God's Word.
Now, notice that I mentioned asking them what truths are revealed because if we just lecture our kids, we're not equipping them to think well. So as we walk them through these passages of scripture, we want to ask them what truths are revealed. Now, if they say something off the wall that's completely not there, we can ask a further question. "Really, that's interesting. What verse are you getting that from?" So that we're asking them, okay, where are you actually getting this from? And then if they are continuing to persist in an incorrect idea or an incorrect understanding of scripture, then we can gently offer correction.
So the first thing, we need to research different views so that we ourselves understand them. Second thing, we need to read through passages of scripture with our kids and ask them the question, "okay, what truths are revealed in this passage?" Then the third thing we need to do is we need to present the different views to our kids. What do different Christians believe about how this passage of scripture fits in with the scientific data? Now, I think a great model for this, if you've ever read the book, Keeping Your Kids On God's Side by Natasha Crane, she has a whole chapter where she walks through what are the differing views of creation that different Christians hold? How can we present these views to our kids? And what kind of questions do we need to ask them in this process? So again, that book is Keeping Your Kids On God's Side by Natasha Crane. Highly recommend that you check that out. Specifically if you're working through this question of the age of the Earth and how do dinosaurs fit into this?
Now, I think it's really important for our kids to know that there are Christians who believe in the authority, the inspiration, and the inerrancy of scripture that hold differing beliefs here. Because one of the dangers is when we take a secondary or tertiary issue and we say, "okay, Bible believing Christians only believe X about this," and then we say, "anybody who doesn't hold to this position is no longer a Bible believing Christian." If we say that what we're doing is we're potentially setting them up for failure in the future.
Because what happens if when they grow up, let's say we're teaching old earth creationism to them, and we're saying like "all Bible believe in Christians, Christians who are serious about thinking and about scripture, they believe in this," and then they grow up and they think, "you know what? When I look at the scientific data and I look at scripture, I actually think this presents a young earth" or just the opposite. If we tell them only Christians who believe in a young earth creation are holding to the authority, inspiration, and errancy of scripture, and then they grow up and they think, "you know what? I actually think that the evidence in science points to a much older earth than what I was taught," then they're going to be tempted to believe that they have to throw out the entirety of scripture just because we've presented them with this one view.
So we need to make sure that we're saying, "you know what? There are Christians who believe in the authority, the inspiration, and the inerrancy of scripture, and they hold different beliefs on this topic." And then something that's really, really important to do in this step is to model how to research. So if you're wanting to research this with your kids, you know, can take them to the different articles that we have linked in the show notes on this topic and say, "okay, this is how we would do research on this." And then read through the articles, talk through what was discussed, what were the author's main points, what was the evidence they used to support those points? And then what does do your children find more convincing?
Now, modeling for our children how to research is so much more important than presenting ourselves as the expert to every topic. Because if every time our kids have a question about something, we do all the research and we then present it to them, and we've done all the work for them, we're actually leaving them ill-equipped to do research on these types of topics on their own in the future. And if we leave them ill-equipped to do that, they're just going to have to rely on some other expert who may be a friend, maybe a secular college professor, maybe a YouTube or TikTok star. We want to equip our kids to research and to think well, and if you're thinking, "I'm really not sure how to do this," I would highly recommend you check out our Careful Thinking curriculum at Foundation Worldview, because that is a 30 lesson curriculum that systematically walks kids through, how do we take an idea, how do we research it, how do we determine whether or not what this person is claiming is true and the weight of their evidence? So highly recommend that you check out that curriculum.
Now, the fourth thing that is so important for us to do is if we hold a certain view. Now, you may be watching this, and you may hold very strongly to young earth creationism, or you may hold very strongly to old earth creationism. If we hold a certain position, we need to then after we've equipped our kids to research, to then to present our position to them and the evidence that has convinced us. So we need to help them understand, Hey, this is the position that I hold. This is what I think is most biblical, and this is why I think it. And then provide them with the evidence so that they understand, o"h, this is what mom believes, or this is what Dad believes, and this is why."
And then the fifth thing that I think we need to do is we need to continue this conversation as we encounter different claims about this topic. As you continue to watch documentaries or take out books from the library and read about different things, if it mentions millions of years ago, say, "okay, so what position is this person taking? This person is taking that the earth is older than 6,000 years old. So people who believe the Bible, who believe that the Earth is older than 6,000 years old, what is that called? Do you remember what that is called?" "Oh, yeah. That's called Old Earth creationism." Or if you're reading a book from Answers in Genesis, answers in Genesis has a lot of great picture books for kids on dinosaurs when they're talking about dinosaurs existing at the same time as humans. Talk about, "okay, so you know, what view is this author taking? This author is taking the view that the earth is a lot younger, that the earth is 6,000 years old or younger, and that dinosaurs and humans coexist on at the same time on planet Earth. So what view is that called? Oh yeah, that's called Young Earth Creationism."
And as you go through these steps with your kids, remember that our goal is twofold in this and any other situation where we're walking them through a secondary or tertiary issue that we're grounding them in scripture and equipping them to think well, grounding them in scripture and equipping them to think well, and this will prepare them for the day that they face different issues that they will need to research on their own and determine what they believe is true.
So just as a reminder of the things that I recommended, first, recommended that you research different views on the topic so that you have an understanding of them. Then read passages of scripture with that. Speak to this topic and note what truths are revealed. Then present the different views to your kids and model for them how to research these different views. Then if you hold a certain position, present your position and the evidence to your child, and then continue the conversation every time they encounter a claim about this topic, because we want to make sure that we are grounding our kids in scripture and equipping them to think well.
Well, that's a wrap for today's episode. If you have a question that you would like me to answer on a future Foundation Worldview podcast, you can submit that question by going to Foundation Worldview.com/podcast. And as we leave our time together, my prayer for you is that no matter the situation in which you and the kids in your care find yourselves, you would trust that God is working all things together for good by using those circumstances to conform you more into the image of His Son. I'll see you next time.
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