Many of our recent posts have been written with children in mind. How successful are parents in presenting God as real for our children? How could Sunday School teachers do the same for their students to affirm that God is real? We may also ask how our pastors could present biblical theology from their pulpits in a convincing manner. Theology is defined as the science of God. In a word, the root meaning of science is knowledge—including the fundamental knowledge that God is real. This knowledge is for both young people and adults.
For our high school and college age young people, we trust that knowledge of the reality of God’s existence has been established with reasonable certainty. For our adult population we likewise assume the reasonable certainty that the “God reality” has been established. If there are serious doubts about that reality, the validity of the fundamental message of our churches may be called into question.
Primary school students and much younger children may present a blend of least and at the same time, most challenging assignments for parents and teachers with respect to the question of God’s reality. Teaching about the reality of Jesus, God’s Son, may be a simpler responsibility. Children are visually oriented from the beginning of their life. In that sense, the challenge of teaching about an invisible God could be substantial for some children.
One primary task of parental teaching is instructing children that real things are not always visible. Yet, these real, invisible things have effects which may be seen and felt. We caution that the mere awareness of invisible forces, even the forces which have an effect on surrounding matter, may not prove to doubters that God is present or even that he exists. God, of course, is the author of “sustaining miracles” whereby the universe is sustained from moment to moment by God’s will and power. If God’s will and power were to be withdrawn, the universe would descend into chaos—a difficult concept for children. The orderliness of the natural world manifest in dozens of physical constants is strong affirmation of God who authors sustaining miracles.
We challenge parents, teachers, and pastors to think deeply about the issues of fostering and strengthening faith in the reality of God. Ultimately each person must embrace faith in God as a matter of personal choice. These are matters of eternal import. We are privileged to help mold the world views of our children and fellow man.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews presented numerous examples of the outworking of faith in Christian believers. “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” Heb. 11:3 (NAS).