As I said, I’m dealing with teaching that was done during this past summer and how I reformulated it, re-stated it, re-taught it, or just rectified it. This comes from the VBS we had this summer, made available from Answers in Genesis.
The Teaching and Its Problem:
Lesson 1 in the book was The Truth about Life: the Mystery of the Missing Links with an emphasis on the Creation of Man over Animal to establish the apologetic that Men and Monkeys do not have a common ancestor. The key verse here was Gen 1:27 but the focus was on the apologetic response to so-called missing links discovered through time.
AIG knows that evolution is being pushed hard in schools and stated as an empirical fact that trumps any idea of God. To correct this, they came out with a VBS program that offers an apologetic against evolution by showing proofs where evolutionists were wrong. Obviously AIG is also strictly Young Earth Creationist so they’re also going to push for certain ideas while dealing with this issue.
The problem is that there is no way that a VBS program is going to prove foundational in establishing a robust response to naturalistic atheistic evolutionary theory (NAET)—it’s just not going to happen. Just in terms of logistics, there are more resources and time being put forward in establishing NAET which some 5 days (if you’re lucky in having all the kids come back for each day) won’t be able to match.
What you need is to give the presented Conclusion Sphere in a broader spectrum housed within the Belief Sphere: a Biblical and Theological foundational basis for responding to Naturalistic Atheistic Creation from any angle while still firmly established on the Gospel over responses.
Instead of thinking about how to prove evolutionists wrong, I took a step back and tried to invest time thinking about what NAET is doing to the value of humans without really addressing NAET at all. I wanted the kids to think about the overwhelming value of man and for that I had to go back to an aspect of the Gospel which is concerned with the value of a picture.
The Scriptures teach that Man is made in the image of God. That we’re not to mistreat God’s image or destroy it. That we’re not to take it upon ourselves to create images of God. That is dangerous to even curse a person who is made in the image of God. That Christ came in the likeness of men but he was a perfect representation of God. That men hated him and killed him and proved that they were in darkness. But even so, there very being points back to the fact that they are derivative of God and so are truly worth Something. This is part of why God is concerned with saving people—they have real value, even if they’re sinners.
So, I took little folded pieces of paper and inserted a coin in each of the small fold. Most of the coins were American coins—pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars—some were Canadian pennies, some were Game tokens (which had no value outside of the specific gaming hall), one was from the Netherlands and another was twenty Mexican dollars.
I then had them take a pencil and rub it on the paper to reveal the image of the coin that was sandwiched between the paper.
They brushed on these papers with their pencils and got excited by the image of the money that started to show through. They wondered if they’d get to keep the money.
The class then examined our images of tried to decipher the value of the coin down beneath (without looking at the coin, just by looking at the image). Those with the game tokens were sorely upset—the thing was worth nothing outside of that place. The kid with the twenty dollars was confused by the coin but was happy that it was 20 dollars.
I then told them that I would be removing the coins. I put the coins in my pocket and told them to keep the papers, enjoy it and not to spend it all at one place.
They felt robbed. All they had was a paper with pencil. This is just material. It’s not money. It’s not worth anything.
Fine, I said, and I gave one of the kids the Mexican 20 dollars. “Don’t spend it all at one place.”
They noted that they couldn’t spend it at all except in Mexico. That it was probably worth a penny here.
I pointed out that real value is found only when there’s something really backing up that value: both the actual money (not merely a picture of that money) and the world where that money functions (such as the actual country the money was coined).
In that same way, if they were not created by God, if they are just the random collection of materials: they are worth nothing but the sum total of those materials with nothing backing them up save the fact that those materials exist. The value is arbitrary.
But God says that they are made in His image and their own experience backs this up.
Here I showed examples of how we value life of humans over things, humans over animals, etc. We care more for people than pots, and more for humans than animals. How humans who do crimes get punished and how we have moral outrage when humans are tortured, etc.
The lesson is pithy, and God willing they remember the experience of being handed materials that aren’t worth anything and told to spend it, but I think it focuses on the point that real value is derived from being made in the image of God.
This reformulation, I think, allows a Christian to be a Young Earth Creationist, an Old Earth Creationist, or even a Theistic Evolutionist employing intelligent design—just as long as what the Biblical Text theologically states continues to stand: we have derivative value by being made in the likeness of God. So if someone did come along with undeniable proof of an actual Missing Link, it shouldn’t destroy the foundational belief that God Created Us in His Image, it would merely indicate how it was accomplished—more of a process than fiat. Multiple Conclusion Spheres—surely some of them, like Theistic Evolution, are potentially dangerous and come with their own set of problems—continue to exist within the broader Belief Sphere established by the preached Gospel which begins with God and his condescension to create Beings (us) in His image.