When I began the journey of formal apologetics education, I knew that someday in the future my knowledge would be incredibly valuable in parenting my children. I have dreamed of the day when I would launch them into the college world with their feet planted firmly in an intellectually solid worldview, armed with the best philosophical, scientific, and historical arguments for the Christian faith. What has caught me off-guard, however, is the fact that I began needing my apologetics knowledge almost immediately, and my kids are still very young. I’ll share a couple of examples with you.
Several months ago, my second-grader was helping me organize our DVD collection in the family room TV cabinet. Out of the blue, he says to me:
“Mommy, what if God isn’t really there? What if he’s just made up?”
After my initial shock that this came out of the mouth of a 7-year-old, however precocious he may be, I steered the conversation in this way:
“Well, let’s think about that. We know that we exist and that our universe exists. All of this had to come from somewhere, right?”
He responded, “It could have all been here since forever…maybe nobody made it…maybe the universe has always been here.”
I was then able to explain the Kalam cosmological argument to him (in second-grade language) and talk to him about the discoveries made by Edwin Hubble that show that our universe had an ultimate beginning. But the conversation didn’t end there! He wanted to know why it had to be God that created the cosmos. I went on to explain the Leibnizian cosmological argument, the conclusion of which states that God, by definition, is the Creator of the universe.
And you know what? He understood ALL OF IT. Know what else? The look of comprehension and peace that came over his little face was PRICELESS.
Fast forward to today. He was playing an online computer game that is apparently associated with a cartoon that airs on Cartoon Network. The name of the show is The Amazing World of Gumball. It’s actually really cute. It has talking rabbits, cats, and a goldfish in vibrant colors, participating in silly little dramas. But get this: the goldfish has arms and legs, and walks around with the mammals on the cartoon–his name is Darwin.
When my son said, “Look at this cute game, Mommy,” I studied it for a second before I asked if he’d like to know the ACTUAL story about a man named Darwin and fish with legs. He was intrigued! I explained, in language he understood, the theory of evolution and the theology and philosophy behind the theory. His eyes grew wider and wider as I went on about warm oceans and cells turning into algae, algae turning into fish, fish turning into…well, you get the picture.
After my drawn-out monologue, he thought about it for a split second before replying, “Well, that’s stupid, because where did the first cell come from?” You can just imagine how much fun I get to have explaining genetic code and information theory to him in third-grade science this fall!
The moral of my story is, apologetics knowledge is valuable to parenting very early on in your child’s life! I thank God that I had substantial answers for my son at the moment he asked his questions. All of these seeds planted in his mind as his worldview is (ALREADY!!) developing…If there were such a thing as a comprehensive Christian guide to raising up strong warriors for Christ, “The Necessity of Apologetics Training” would be an integral chapter, indeed.