How Do I Talk About Genesis With My Kids?

(system) #1

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Melissa) #2

I read the article and am so excited to get some guidance about this, especially since I spent so many years teaching them that Genesis was literal. I really appreciate the resources mentioned as well. Videos are so helpful to get ideas across and I am happy to see “the Bible Project” website. Thank you so much!! I wish I could read, learn, and study 24/7!

(Christopher Emerling) #3

Good thoughts. I do not have children (yet) but these are topics that I often go over in my mind for my hypothetical kids. Now I feel like I have a nice framework to work with. Thank you for your post!

(Christy Hemphill) #4

I have been really impressed by the Bible Project. I have studied the Bible for a long time and I always learn something new and interesting with those videos. But they are engaging enough that you can watch them as a family too. I appreciate that there is a high level of scholarship that goes into them, and they approach potentially divisive topics in a really sensitive way, so I feel like I can recommend them to people over a pretty wide spectrum of convictions and no one will find them offensive or overtly biased toward a particular “team.” They do a great job.

:slight_smile: You are so welcome.

(Randy) #5

Thank you. This helps me with finding the positives in the Bible to discuss with children. I sometimes get a bit discouraged with my own reactions to, and deconstruction of, the ANE creation and flood stories. My own church is very literalist, but I struggle with the cognitive dissonance, knowing the science from having gone to secular schools (they tell me they pray for me because I’m the only one who didn’t attend a Christian college!). Focusing on the spiritual principles can be common ground.

I’m from a missionary kid background and recently ran into difficulty with applying for mission work. The statement of faith was clearly that all pain and death came from Adam’s sin. I’m curious as to what your approach is in discussing the Bible with the peoples you live among. I just read a book by a missionary we have supported for long, and she recounts how she told the Africans that God judged us all by Adam’s sin. Rather understandably, they asked her what they had to do with Adam’s sin.

It’s very difficult. Sometimes, I think that we get into such a rote of memorizing our doctrines that we don’t really think what they mean: What does the son of God actually mean? Trinity? Washing in the blood?

Good start. Thanks.

(Laura) #6

I can relate to this too. Especially for those of us who grew up in traditional Christian homes – I know I had a good deal of “doctrine” in my head long before I was ever ready to study the Bible on my own, so when I got to that point it was really hard to study it without automatically transposing all of my already-learned doctrine onto it.

(Christy Hemphill) #7

I think sometimes those of us who have unlearned some things along the way sometimes may feel the need to provide our kids with tools they don’t necessarily need, because they aren’t being set up to experience the same conflicts. My kids will have different challenges than I had.

I know an organization that might take you :wink: PM me and I’ll try my best to recruit you.

In our particular work, we focus on translation and getting people from a variety of groups and denominations to engage with the Bible in the local language, we aren’t involved in directly teaching doctrine. That would be the job of the local pastors who are trained by specific denominations and decide what theological specifics get taught in their churches. In discussing how to approach the Bible, we help our translation team learn to use commentaries and other Bible study guides to understand the meaning of the text in its context. Obviously you have to do a certain amount of interpretation to understand a passage well enough to translate it, but the idea is a good translation doesn’t impose a favored interpretation on the text at the expense of another possible one.

(Laura) #8

That’s such an important thing to remember and keep an eye on. Because of my mom’s experiences, I grew up quite well versed (or so I thought) at defending against second-wave feminism. Turns out feminism has changed quite a bit since the 70s!

(Randy) #9

Good quote.
I am not sure. I think we all have a tendency to consider everything written to be exactly true–maybe an inborn fallacy. I grew up in a majority Muslim country. The reverence they have for the Qur’an probably exceeds even the most conservative Orthodox Presbyterian. A saying from the Qur’an is “Annabi Isa, ibnu Maryam, kalmatullahi, ruhuwallahi” (closest I can transliterate it)–that is to say, "The Prophet Jesus, the son of Mary, the word of God, the sprit of God. One of the local Christian evangelists uses to take away Muslims’ fears that we worshiped someone who God begat with a human (a shameful thing in their mind) that the kalma (word) is like God’s representative from Him to us–thus, much like the Qur’an. It’s that he is the son of, or essence of God, like the written word is to us, rather than like a sexually created being.

I guess what I am saying is that while my own prejudices do discourage me, and I hope that my children don’t have as much of a stumbling block as I do from my experience with A Beka Book’s YEC stance, don’t we all have a propensity to idolize the written word? However, I greatly appreciate your thoughts and hope that that will help. My 3 young children have a very literal teaching in the local Christian school and church. Rather than contradict them outright and confuse them, I’ll try to focus on similarities. Thanks.

I’m not sure how to PM, but maybe I can find out more about your and your husband’s mission sometime. I’ll talk about it with my wife, too. Thanks.

(Christy Hemphill) #10

Having your kids in an education setting where they are being proactively taught a YEC worldview is different than what my kids experience. That would be difficult and require an extra measure of discernment about what to address and what to let be for the time being.

(Randy) #11

Yes. I have spoken with a friend of mine who has the same EC views as I do, whose children also attend this school. We both tell our children that evolution isn’t necessarily incompatible with Christianity.
As my children are 10 and younger at this point, I’m not going into too much detail. Thanks.