If you’ve raised your children to believe Christianity is true, you probably want them to continue to believe it’s true, especially through their critical university years. There are good reasons to be concerned for young Christians once they leave our care. Statistically, most will walk away from the Church (and their belief in God) during their college years. What can we, as parents, do to address this growing problem? How can we help them know that God exists?
As a cold-case detective, parent, and prior youth pastor, I have a suggestion: master the case for God’s existence and start sharing it with your kids at an early age. Sounds simple, right? Maybe, or maybe not. If your kids asked you to defend the existence of God right now, what would say? What evidences would you provide? Are you ready to make the case for what you believe, even as the world around us often makes the case against God’s existence? Don’t panic, you don’t have to be a theologian, philosopher or scientist to defend the truth. All you need to be is interested.
It’s not hard to be interested when the spiritual fate of our kids is hanging in the balance. Make a commitment to investigate the case for God’s existence so you can communicate it to your kids. The Apostle Paul was correct when he said that God’s “invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:20). We’ve written God’s Crime Scene for Kids to help you and your children investigate everything “that has been made.” Along the way, you’ll discover four truths that will help your kids demonstrate the existence of God:
Our Universe Requires a Divine “First Cause”
Scientists have determined that our universe is not infinitely old. In fact, they now believe that everything in the universe, all space, time and matter, had a beginning in the distant past. Everything that begins to exist must have a cause. What could account for the beginning of the universe?
One thing is certain: whatever caused the cosmos must be something other than space, time or matter (since these didn’t exist prior to the beginning of the universe). That means we’re looking for something non-spatial, non-temporal, non-material, and incredibly powerful. Sounds a lot like God, doesn’t it?
Life in the Universe Requires a Divine “Author”
Scientists have also determined that life in the universe is formed and guided by information. Biological organisms (like humans) possess deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules. The nucleotide sequence in DNA is an incredibly long (and sophisticated) code that guides the growth, development, function and reproduction of every living organism.
But where does the information in DNA come from? Did this incredibly complex series of instructions come about by chance? Was it caused by the laws of physics or some process of evolution? No. The best explanation for information is intelligence. The information in DNA requires an intelligent author. Once again, God is the most reasonable explanation.
Moral Laws in the Universe Require a Divine “Law Giver”
All of us recognize the existence of moral laws and obligations. While some behaviors (like stealing or lying) may be justified on rare occasion (to save the life of an innocent person, for example), it’s never morally acceptable to steal or lie for the fun of it. This is true for all of us, regardless of when we have lived in history or where we have lived on the planet. These objective moral laws also describe obligations between persons. No one, for example, is morally obligated to the laws of physics or chemistry.
All laws such as these require law givers. Objective laws and obligations that transcend all of us require an objective, personal law giver who transcends all of us. Once again, God is the best explanation for the moral laws and obligations we all recognize.
Evil in the Universe Requires a Divine “Standard”
Some people point to evil as an evidence against the existence of God. Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow bad things to happen? Is He unable to stop them? Is He simply unwilling to prevent them? In either case, the existence of evil seems to invalidate our definition of God as an all-powerful and all-loving Being.
But what defines something as evil in the first place? Is something “evil” simply because we don’t personally approve of it, or do we believe some acts are truly evil, regardless of our opinion? If the latter is true, we would need an objective, transcendent standard of good by which to judge any particular act. The existence of God offers such a standard, and God often allows and uses temporal evil to develop our eternal character, draw us to himself, and achieve a greater good (if not immediately, over the course of history). Evil doesn’t disprove God’s existence, but instead requires a standard of good to be anything more than a matter of opinion. Only God can provide such a standard.
There’s much more to examine in the universe, and you can help your kids make the case for God at www.CaseMakersAcademy.com. They’ll solve an intriguing mystery, as they also learn how to investigate the truth about the cosmos. They’ll also have a chance to become Case Making Cadets and earn a Certificate of Graduation after completing our free Case Makers Academy. It’s never too early to master the truth. Help your kids defend with they believe so they can worship God with their hearts, souls, and minds.
If you’re a parent, you already know how quickly time flies. I can’t believe I have adult children, and I fret about whether I’ve done a good job equipping them over the years. That’s why Susie and I decided to write kid’s books: Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, and our latest, Forensic Faith for Kids. Our experience as parents, youth leaders and pastors taught us that young people begin to question their faith in junior high. We wanted to provide a resource that would answer critical questions kids might have before they even begin to ask them.
We wrote this trilogy of kids books to help children study the evidence for Christianity, investigate the evidence for God’s existence, and learn how to share the truth with others. Each book is designed and written to follow the adult books chapter by chapter, so parents can learn how to make the case first, then become the best Christian apologists their kids will ever know. The adult books will provide parents with the foundation they need to guide their kids through their junior high and high school years.
Parents can read the material together with their kids, even as their young Christians work through the Case Makers Academy online materials (including videos, fill-in sheets, activity sheets and the opportunity to earn a certificate of graduation). Leaders (like pastors and teachers) who can use the books (along with the free associated teaching resources) to train up larger groups of kids in a classroom or ministry setting. If there’s one thing we’ve learned as parents, authors and youth leaders, it’s the need to be intentional. Let’s model a rational Christian life for our kids, put them in a church setting that can help them grow and provide them with intentional opportunities to learn.
This article first appeared at Crosswalk.com.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, Christian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, Forensic Faith, and Forensic Faith for Kids.