Biblical worldview project for parents and grandparents

Parents and grandparents: A big-picture worldview project with your kids

Maddi and Grandad with her finished world timeline
Maddi and Grandad with her finished world timeline


Published: 3 September 2009 (GMT+10)

As my grandchildren reach upper primary-school I book a special day with them to carry out a specific project: we make a TIMELINE of human history since Creation—God’s way.

I love a big picture. I believe we are all helped by getting a practical, factual overview of history that we can “hang” everything else on as we get older, so why not get that big picture early?

Perhaps life can be likened to an enormous jigsaw puzzle: it’s easy to do when somebody gives you the picture to follow!

Thankfully God has given us His very clear picture of where we came from and how we can know Him and His will for our lives.

If we only had the atheistic evolutionist’s view of where we came from we would have confusion and gloom because there is no guiding picture. There is only a mess of theories that change regularly at the will of the many scientists who keep shuffling the pieces around.

While evolutionists are stuck like blind men turning the myriad pieces of the puzzle over and over and trying to make them fit, we have this huge advantage: WE’VE GOT THE BIG PICTURE STRAIGHT FROM GOD!

That’s why I believe it’s eternally valuable to make this special time with your kids. I relate best to 9–10 year olds and above—they mostly understand everything you share with them, their minds are open and they generally remember everything.

This is how I do it …

  • I make an appointment with each young person personally. I want them to know they are very special to me, and I hope it will be very significant and memorable to them. I believe I am helping lay a vital foundation, a frame of reference for all their decisions in their whole lives.
  • I take them out of their comfort zones to an unfamiliar place. Then we can’t fall into ho-hum routines; we’re not going to their place, my place, a theme park (again), watching TV or playing games. That’s for other times. I have their full attention.
  • I like to start with a cooked breakfast at an eating place on the way. As we drive and over breakfast I share some basics, like how and why I came to the Lord … that there are many make-believe things around us, but today I’m going to share the most important things in the world … that they’ll hear lots of opposing things at school and in life, but I want them to know what their Grandad believes because they’re going to have to decide what they are going to believe too, and then stand up for it.
  • I let them know it all comes from God’s word, not mine. The only thing they need to bring with them is their Bible.
  • How I prepare

    1. I arrange for a place to operate in. In my case a business friend allowed me to use a vacant office with a big table.
    2. I obtain a roll of fax paper, but any such paper of a similar size would work.
    3. I download Ussher’s timeline up to Christ from a past Creation Magazine for reference.
    4. I obtain a Timeline Of World History (large edition), cut out the relevant pictures and keep them together in an envelope.

    I put everything in a cardboard box, which I produce when we arrive. As I empty the contents onto the table I explain our TIMELINE project. To begin with I outline the idea quickly by scribbling a rough timeline on a piece of paper.

    What I found

    1. I have to move quickly because of the amount there is to get through, and to keep their attention.
    2. I have the young person do everything they can. It’s not always perfect but it is generally neat and attractive. There’s a little maths, some lettering and presentation skills, but we work together and enjoy the project.
    Maddi busy at work
    Maddi busy at work

    Step by step

    1. We measured and cut off 1.8m of paper from the roll.
    2. We made 1mm equal 4 years. 2.5 cm will therefore equal 100 years, and 6000 years (the approximate time since God said He created) takes about 1.5 metres. We measure it out with a tape measure and the young person rules it with a black marking pen, 3 cm up from the bottom.
    3. From the start of the line we use the black pen to mark off every 100 years—every 2.5 cm. We quickly write all the dates underneath the line starting at 2000AD: 2000, 1900, 1800, 1700 … down to “1” (there is no year 0) … then 100, 200, 300 … all the way to 4000. We talk about BC and AD and how all our dates look forward to Christ or back to Him.
      We write in ‘ BC’ and ‘ AD with the black marker.
    4. We put in a decent-sized cross at 33AD (8mm past 1) and label it “CHRIST DIED FOR US”.
    5. We mark in my grandchild’s personal lifeline so far, and print their name on it.
      For speed and neatness I sometimes print the wording in pencil and my grandchild will go over it with the black marking pen. We work together.
    6. I have them check Genesis 1 in their Bible and print Genesis 1:1 above 4000BC.
    7. Closely followed by THE FALL OF MAN
    8. I have them read from Genesis 5 and have them mark the first 10 people on the TIMELINE so they can understand the genius of God’s way of letting us know how many years elapsed. We draw in the lifelines accurately with a ruler leaving 2 cm between each, and use different coloured markers for each lifeline to brighten it up. We print the names on each line in black. E.g. ADAM lived 930 years altogether so we mark off 23.2 cm; he had SETH when he was 130 years old, so we mark that on his lifeline 3.2 cm along; and so on down to NOAH.
    9. We mark in THE GREAT FLOOD when NOAH was 600 (and see it was the same year METHUSELAH died … I hope he didn’t drown!)

      I take time to dramatise this cataclysmic event. This changed everything!

      # It had never rained like this before …
      # God’s judgment was horrendous, changing the face of the earth totally (I get them to read quickly Genesis 6:5–14 7:13–24 Read more thoroughly another time).
      # Monstrous rain, underground water erupting, earthquake and volcanic action we cannot imagine, fierce storms and tsunamis …
      # Incredible forests all over the world—even where the north and south poles are now—were swept away into massive deposits that quickly became the enormous oil and coal deposits we use today …
      # All humans, animals and birds that weren’t safe on the Ark were washed away so producing most of the incredible number of fossils we discover today (some in huge piles, obviously washed there by flood waters we cannot imagine) …
      # And from a beautiful contoured world, the high points of which were covered by at least 6 metres of water (Genesis 7:20), tormented earth movements punched up huge mountain ranges all over the world, some having fossils of sea creatures found near their top …
      # In fact, there is evidence all over the world for this worldwide catastrophe!

      I use whatever I know to get their attention with the awe of God as He started all over again with 8 people. Even people’s ages diminished radically after that, perhaps due to some genetic “bottleneck” effect that acted on the greatly reduced population.

      THE WORLD WAS FOREVER UTTERLY DIFFERENT. And it’s still recovering from Noah’s Flood now, about 4,500 years later!

    10. We read Genesis 11:1–9 together and talk about the unbelievably efficient job God did in scrambling the people’s language! Wycliffe Bible Translators tell us there are STILL 2,300 unwritten languages in the world! We mark THE TOWER OF BABEL around 2200BC.
    11. About 1491BC MOSES lead THE EXODUS. We add in anyone and anything else we want to—maybe DAVID, DANIEL … We refer to the printout I mentioned above under “How I prepare”.
    13. We centre the heading in large block letters: GOD’S TIMELINE OF HISTORY
    14. Along the TIMELINE we loosely place the pictures that are meaningful to our young onethat I had previously cut out of CMI’s ‘TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY’ (large edition). We then position and glue each picture. By working together we get the job done pretty quickly.
    15. We print each of the 7 Cs of history in the right spots underneath the TIMELINE: CREATION; CORRUPTION; CATASTROPHE; CONFUSION (Babel); CHRIST; CROSS; CONSUMMATION (yet to come).

    When it’s finished

    When it is finished I always stand back and praise my young friend for a project well done; especially mentioning points that relate to our part in history (“HIS story”).

    I find it is worth the cost of laminating the TIMELINE on the way home. For when we arrive home our young friend is keen to show their family their handiwork and pin the finished TIMELINE in their room.

    It is a great day where I show my young friend by example that I believe God’s word—all of it, and it gives the frame of reference to the next generation … the BIG PICTURE.

    Published: 3 September 2009