If you have a child who’s obsessed with velociraptors and pterodactyls, one fine day he or she will ask you, “Why doesn’t the Bible say anything about God making dinosaurs?”
You’ll blink a few times, then use the parental stall sentence: “Now that’s a really good question . . .” while your mind scans wildly for an answer that satisfies the child’s scientific curiosity without contradicting what you’ve taught about creation.
After you’ve given your answer, you might ask yourself, “What do I really believe about how science and the Bible relate to each other? What about evolution? And how does the existence of fossils affect my faith?”
A new course from Faith Alive is designed to help high schoolers (and parents of dinosaur-crazy kids) wrestle with difficult questions like these.
In four sessions that can be used by day schools, youth groups, or church education classes, Fossils and Faith explores what the Bible says about creation, examines what scientific study teaches us about our origins, outlines the various positions Christians have taken on the relationship between Scripture and science, and reflects on how all this applies to our daily lives.
The course’s well-organized leader’s guide is complemented by eye-grabbing student newspapers. It’s an attractive package that’s stuffed with information, self-evaluation, brain-tickling questions, games, and activities.
Author Thea Nyhoff Leunk, associate pastor at Crosspoint Christian Reformed Church in Cincinnati, says, “What I hope Fossils and Faith does is give Christians a safe place to explore what the Bible says about our Creator and what science says about our creation and to come to an integrated understanding of how the two are different types of God’s revelation to us.”
Leunk credits Calvin College professors Loren and Deborah Haarsma with providing much of the background material for Fossils and Faith. The husband-and-wife team, who both teach in the college’s physics and astronomy departments, have developed a passion for showing others how science and Christianity complement each other.
As Loren says, “We hope that Christians will learn a bit about science and learn how to distinguish good science from the unnecessary atheistic overtones that are sometimes added to it. And we hope they learn about the variety of ways in which Christians reconcile their understanding of Scripture with their understanding of nature.”
Or, as Leunk puts it, “Science and the Bible are not opposites but bookends; they work together to give us a clearer picture of who God is and who we are.”
About the Author
Sandy Swartzentruber serves as the resource coordinator for Faith Formation Ministries and is a member of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.