Imagine this scenario. A young man raised in a Christian home and evangelical church heads off to college. He has an interest in science. In fact, he plans to major in biology. His experience to this point with the theory of evolution has been a general antipathy. He honestly doesn’t know much about the specifics. He just knows, based on his upbringing, that it is not true. His biology teacher at his Christian high school more or less avoided the subject for obvious reasons. He has a sense that if evolution is espoused by his college professors, it will be because they are avowed atheists and part of a grand scheme to hide the scientific evidence from biology, chemistry, and geology supporting creationism. He is pretty sure the Bible teaches that God created the earth in six literal days. Maybe not 100% sure.
As our student progresses through his biology curriculum, he encounters professors who inspire him. He encounters research from genetics and taxonomy that appears to support the evolutionary process for the arrival of various life forms in the fossil record. In his introductory geology class, he is greeted with evidence for an old earth. Is this all part of Satan’s deception or is there real science going on here and where exactly does the evidence lead? His parents and youth leaders were well-meaning in their insistence that the biblical account of creation and the theory of evolution can’t fit together. But what about the evidence he is encountering in his higher level classes? And what about the professors, more caring and inspiring than he expected, and some of them believers just like him?
This scenario is not too difficult to imagine if you work with or are around college students. How do we help our children maneuver in this environment? One thing we do know is pat answers will not cut it. These vexing crossroads our children face demand serious answers. They demand a willingness to think on our part. They demand love and humility, grace and truth.