I received an e-mail last week and have gotten similar questions in the past – so I will put it up to you for insight or approach:
I agree … that it is helpful to understand Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis as mytho-historical. I also believe that there are historical questions raised by a literal interpretation of some other OT passages (e.g., some of the questions raised in Kenton Sparks’ book reviewed … a while back, and elsewhere), and to a lesser extent even with respect to some parts of the NT stories (e.g., differences between the gospels). My question relates to how to handle this issue when teaching my kids the Bible stories. My oldest is 5 yrs. old. She doesn’t have any idea what “mytho-historical” means. To her, the story in Genesis 1 and 2 is no different from the resurrection story when I read it out of a kids’ Bible stories book. One is naturally as historical as the other, in her mind. Is it better to wait until kids are older to begin to discuss these issues? If not now, at what age, and what is a good way to raise it? And if I wait, do I set up a crisis of faith when she later learns that I don’t really view Genesis 1 & 2 (and perhaps other passages) as history in the same way I view the other, central NT stories I’ve been teaching her. She’s already a bit of a skeptic (when I explained that God is in heaven, but also surrounds everything we see, she asked me if God is “pretend”). Any wise advice from others who’ve already confronted this issue with young kids would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
On one level the Christian faith is simple enough for a child to comprehend, on another level it is complex enough to occupy Christian thinkers for millenia.
How can we train our children with a faith that can grow into adulthood?