Science and religion are on a collision course in my household.
Religion. Science. Are they independent or intertwined? How exactly do you explain the confluence of the two subjects to a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, especially when they’re the ones who bring it up?
Naturally, I explained the evolution/creation issue as well as I could, thoroughly confusing my kids in the process. The screenplay goes thusly:
Scene: A father and his three kids are driving to a park in a late model SUV
SIX YEAR OLD: Hey Dad, I have a question. Who were the first people?
DAD: Well, that’s a good question, babe. So, if you read the Bible, it says that the first two people were a man named Adam and a woman named Eve. God made them first.
But, if you talk to a scientist, he or she might tell you that the first people came from monkeys.
FOUR YEAR OLD: Wait. monkeys are people?!
DAD: No, but long, long, long ago, monkeys started to kind of change into people.
FOUR YEAR OLD: So when I was born I was a monkey?! Cool!
SIX YEAR OLD: Ugh. You were never a monkey.
FOUR YEAR OLD: Dad just said …
DAD: Well, bud, that’s not exactly what I said. See, there’s this thing called genetic mutation and it takes years and years and years to happen …
FOUR YEAR OLD: [Confidently] The sun is old.
DAD: Yes, the sun is old. So, kind of like as many years old as the sun. It takes thousands and thousands and millions of years. Imagine if a monkey had a baby and that baby had a baby and that baby had a baby…after that happens for years and years, monkeys could become people.
Now, some people say that just the Bible is right and some people say that just science is right.
SIX YEAR OLD: I think it’s probably the Bible. Right, Dad?
DAD: Well, what if they’re both right? The Bible says God took six days to make the Earth. But who knows how long a day in God’s mind is? I don’t. And I can’t act like I have a clue about that. Maybe a day for God is like a day for us. Or maybe a day for God is like a million years for us. I have no idea. But I think it’s possible that God set in motion the science that made monkeys become people over a very long period of time.
SIX YEAR OLD: [Semi-satisfied grunt of approval.]
FOUR YEAR OLD: Hmm … [10 seconds passes by] … Yeah, but why doesn’t Curious George have a tail?
DAD: I think we’ve had enough hard truths for one day. I’ll explain how PBS and the publishing industry lie to you another time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Norman, an at-home dad of three, is organizer of our Austin Dads Group chapter. A version of “Explaining Evolution, Creation” first appeared on his blog, And So It Has Come To This. Photo by Lewis Roberts on Unsplash