Leaving a lasting legacy
Winning the battle for beginnings in the minds of the next generation
Published: 27 August 2020 (GMT+10)
I have a memory from early childhood which I would like to share, as I hope it will inspire and be an instructive lesson in forming strong biblical world-views in a child’s life.
When I was about seven years of age, I owned a Ladybird book titled “Dinosaurs.”1 In page after page of colourful illustrations, the evolutionary history of the Earth was described for children. I was fascinated by pictures of dinosaurs, strange landscapes and the mysterious story of how life evolved from a primordial, barren planet. The book states:
“In the beginning the world must have looked like this. At first, nothing lived on land, or in the sea. There were no plants, no animals, no people…”
The stark illustrations presented barren landscapes of exploding volcanoes, sheer cliffs over stormy seas—which captured my childlike imagination. As I flicked through the pages I read of fish crawling onto the land and, over millions of years, developed into reptiles and the first dinosaurs. Each page revealed new eras of history with new plants and animals, which gradually, over the eons, turned into the familiar plants, animals, and people of today’s modern world.
Because I was a child, I believed what I was reading. I trusted the grown-ups who presented this beautifully illustrated information, which surely had been discovered by scientists far cleverer than I could imagine. But something seemed too fantastic about these ideas, and it didn’t sit well with what I had learned at church. So I asked my father—could this be true? His response was to write on the pages some words of wisdom that have remained with me to this day:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters” (Genesis 1:1–2).
On other pages my father wrote the rest of the days of Creation week.
Trusting God’s Word
I saw the dilemma clearly, even as a seven-year old. I was faced with a decision: Would I trust people who were not there at the beginning, but were telling me to believe their opinions about how life arose? Or would I trust God to tell me the truth about what He did in the beginning? It was a simple decision for me—one based on faith. I chose to trust God’s Word. And that lesson laid the foundations that have kept my faith strong to the present day. Had I not been a child who had been brought up in a Christian home—and I recognize, not all have had that privilege—the course of my life would likely have taken a very different direction.
That childhood memory, I still remember clearly, was a foundational moment. In much the same way as I remember my conversion experience as a young child, when I recognized my need for a Saviour to forgive my sins and to be my Lord. It was a faith decision, to trust God’s Word. Later as a teenager, I followed the Lord in baptism, simply trusting the Lord as I made this public declaration of faith—an outward expression of an inward work of God’s grace in my heart.
Allowing questions—giving godly answers
During my childhood there were few Creation materials available, and certainly not many at all for young people. When it came to questions about the natural world, creation and evolution, I can thank my parents for instilling in me those vital biblical foundations, which left me a lasting legacy. I was encouraged to question, and to develop keen interests in nature, particularly fossils and minerals. As a teenager, with my parents’ support, I spent many hours searching for fossils on Lyme Regis and Charmouth beaches (on Dorset’s famous ‘Jurassic Coast’), or collecting minerals from mine dumps in Cornwall. We learned as a family that the fossils and minerals we found were best explained by the Flood’s fast action, rather than millions of years of gradual processes.
However, some well-meaning folk at church questioned my interest in fossils because they were deemed too ‘controversial’. Nevertheless, I was allowed to question and discover, all in the safe, godly environment of a Christian home. God’s Word as inerrant truth was upheld, and its claims about origins and the history of the world were trusted.
This stood me in good stead as I progressed through school and college, where my teachers openly questioned Scripture, challenging and ridiculing Christian faith in religious education classes, or in science classes. Thankfully, I was sufficiently well-equipped to sometimes politely challenge my teachers’ statements in class, and to stand up for my Christian faith publicly—which was very good preparation for life at university.
I am thankful that my parents didn’t just leave my education regarding Christian matters to Sunday-school teachers at church. There, I was taught ‘Bible stories’ every Sunday: Creation, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel, along with Abraham, David, and Jesus in the Gospels. It was simply assumed the early chapters of Genesis were historical, but as children, we were never taught how to defend the historical reality of those events. But then, presumably it didn’t occur to our Sunday-school teachers that this was ever an issue. They probably weren’t taught much evolution at school, if at all, therefore would not have been aware of the need to counter the kind of teaching we as children received during our state education. And, even if they were aware of the issues, perhaps they would have felt ill-equipped to tackle the science with Creation-affirming evidence.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy that I was instructed for half an hour each Sunday, compared to my secular school teachers’ 20 hours per week. There was a big disconnect: I was taught ‘Bible stories’ at church and then, in secular school, I was taught that the Bible was just ‘full of stories’. It’s very sad, but no wonder, that none of my Sunday-school chums continued in church after term ended, or that I have met any of them since, at subsequent Christian gatherings.
State school secular indoctrination
Since I left school, evolutionary thinking has dominated the state curriculum even more, now being taught to primary school children. But more seriously, the moral and ethical instruction young children are being given is of grave concern. Previously, I have written an article about the new sex and relationships curriculum being taught in primary schools, supported by a series of BBC short videos for class discussion. Children as young as nine are being taught about sexual promiscuity, that one’s gender is independent of one’s biological sex, and that there are over one hundred genders to choose from! When I was at school, such things were not even imagined, let alone taught as fact. We are witnessing how education is being completely taken over by an extreme ideology that is dangerous and damaging to children. Such thinking is divorced from the truth that male and female were created in God’s image, as taught in Genesis 1:27. Our secular culture has rejected Genesis as history in favour of evolutionary thinking. But the morality built on those evolutionary foundations is deeply at odds with the morality based on biblical foundations. It is no wonder we are witnessing catastrophic moral decay in our once Christian nations. The loss of young people from the church in Western nations in general has been tragic to behold. This, in large part, is due to evolutionary teaching in secular education, which the church failed to counter, and the statistics back that up.
Defend the legacy—and pray!
As Christian parents, grandparents, teachers and educators, what can be done? In terms of children’s educational foundations already laid, it is too late for many who have gone through state education, or even through our church Sunday schools. In light of the very serious moral trends in society, many more Christians are seriously considering alternatives to state education, such as Christian schools and home education. On a more pro-active front, Christians can get involved as school governors and teachers in Christian schools, where at least some semblance of Christian guidance is still allowed—for now. But the real lasting legacy is forged at home, where children can be taught the Scriptures and how to defend them from the secular onslaught they will inevitably meet when they leave the safety of the four walls of their Christian home.
And that is where CMI comes in—we exist to partner with you in this essential task of defending biblical foundations. Our mission is to enable Christians to defend the scriptures by showing that the popular cultural mantra that ‘science has disproved the Bible’ is simply false. We can trust the Bible when it comes to its claims about origins and the nature of reality. Because we can trust the Bible’s history, we can trust the theology based upon that history, and the moral claims the Bible makes upon our lives—and further we can defend them! This is why I and my fellow CMI speakers count it a privilege to travel extensively (when possible) to give presentations that equip and encourage believers to stand upon the sure foundations of God’s Word.
Making a difference now
Previously, while on a speaking tour, I was at a church in Cornwall supporting my colleague Dominic Statham while he spoke on “Creation and why it matters.” During the question time, a father publically stated his frustration at not having been taught these kinds of truths in church before, saying, “I’ve been in the church 20 years and have never heard such powerful arguments—why haven’t I heard this before?” The reason is that it was his first experience of being at a CMI event. A grandmother at that same meeting also made a public comment that she had passed on Creation Magazine to her grandson—apparently he had “lapped it up” and was enabled to “challenge his teacher in class when he was being taught that he had evolved from lower animals.”
I have witnessed many times how the prayerful and financial support given to CMI makes a difference in the lives of those who attend meetings to hear the Creation message—people have often expressed gratitude for the faith-affirming information they received. If, like us, you are passionate to leave a lasting legacy in the minds of the next generation, consider how you might advance this vital work. Please pray for CMI staff around the world as we continue our mission of defending Scripture from the very first verse and giving the glory to our Creator and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
References and notes
- Douglas, C. & Robinson, B.H., Dinosaurs, Ladybird Leaders, Loughborough, 1974. A YouTube presentation of this popular book, with dramatic reading is available here: youtube.com/watch?v=dFGGwJrYLQQ. Return to text.