When we were in the office last week, Kathryn’s friend was doing the teaching for her kids and they came across the Big Bang in science. Even with all of Kathryn’s history at BioLogos, her daughter wondered whether she could believe both science and the Bible.
I looking back at when my kids were small, I think I and my wife handled it by trying to show them the spiritual truths in the stories in the Bible, and letting them know that the stories were about more than the words on the page. That knowledge of abstract meaning being present, even when they were concrete thinkers and really did not understand the abstraction, helped them see beyond the literal text when they matured enough to understand.
I think their struggle as they aged was more in dealing with their peers and church leaders who did not hold the same position, and unfortunately, the default position was one of silence to cope. As was mine, and still is to some extent. When to remain silent and when to not do so is still a major issue in my life.
One of my daughters attended Baylor, and stated that kids that were still in the YEC type understanding of Genesis were shaken when exposed to literary criticism and different interpretations. The failure of our churches to discuss such issues seems to lead to outright rejection of faith when that faith is deconstructed with no foundation for rebuilding.
So, be confident in the path you are following in teaching your children well.
That thought about foundations is key, I think. Or to continue with your thought (perhaps what you were already saying…) there will be trouble when something (whether of straw or gold) built on the foundation is mistaken for being itself the foundation. Certain hermeneutics or understandings of science and scripture reading might be unintentionally represented by us to our children as being foundational rather than something we are building with on our true foundation: Christ and the testimonies about Him from the apostles. Such additions on top of our true foundation can be remodeled or sometimes even torn down for something else as we learn and grow.
And yet this is an example where the theists turned out to be right and the scientists found they were wrong. The scientists had assumed that the universe was always existing (i.e. steady state). The Big Bang is the result when they found out they were wrong. The universe had a beginning, after all.
Some of us would add, don’t they all?
I don’t want to pull out my books by Piaget because I have a dust allergy, so have no comments about kids and abstractions. However, it may be helpful to point out that the Big Bang Theory was first proposed by a Christian clergyman, who obviously did not see it as a threat to his Christian Faith. His name was Father Georges Lemaitre and he lived in Belgium. See here: Georges Lemaître - Wikipedia