Creationism ~ A Child’s Understanding of the Reason for Seasons

The creation by accident idea is so utterly unsatisfying to me, so beyond my ability to comprehend, that I need justification. Including God, putting Him at the forefront of creation, provides me with this justification – it answers the why.

HappyGirlMay 23, 2013 — I’m hard of hearing. So when I am driving and my little darling speaks to me from the back where she is properly restrained in her car seat, I’m not always able to understand her. Even though I have made this clear to her over and over again, she continues to ask questions while the world glides by. At just four years-old, she is more than just precocious. She’s very bright and very curious. She really wants to understand things. But then, I could be just a little bit biased in my assessment. I’m never surprised by the things she asks, but I’m not always prepared with an appropriate answer.

Sometimes I have to tell her that I just can’t understand her while I’m driving. When I can’t understand her, I tell her to remember her question and ask it again after we get where we are going. I said this to her recently following a question even though I clearly understood her. I used my poor hearing as an excuse to buy time for deciding how to answer. Her question had been: “Opa, why do we have seasons?”

Hmmmmm… I reasoned that she didn’t really want to know what causes us to experience the changing seasons in most places on earth. She was probably only wanting to know why she was having to wait so long for the outdoor pool to reopen at the apartment complex where she lives with her mother — why it couldn’t be warm year round. She really loves to play in the water. So I decided to help her understand why seasons are important rather than what causes them.

Sometimes my little darling forgets to ask her question again after we arrive at our destination, her little mind having moved on to other, more immediate matters. But not this time. “Opa, why do we have seasons?”

I unbuckled her seat belt and invited her to join me upfront. Holding her little hand in mine then, I began to explain, and she listened attentively.

“Honey,” I said, “when God created the world, He knew that his people would have to feed themselves. They would have to grow food — grains, fruits and vegetables. The plants these things come from all need soil, sunshine and water to grow. But it doesn’t always rain everywhere on earth enough or as often as plants need. So farmers have to use the water from rivers and streams which flow down from the melting snow and ice up in the mountains. This snow and ice piles up during the winter. Also during the winter, when the plants aren’t growing or producing fruit, the soil rests and regains the richness that plants will need for the next growing season. So, farmers prepare the soil and plant seeds in the springtime. Farmers tend the growing plants during the summer to make sure that weeds and certain insects don’t hurt the plants too much. Then, in the fall, when the plants are fully grown and the fruit is ripe, farmers harvest the food so that there will be plenty for everyone to eat through the winter and until it’s time for the next harvest.”

Clearly satisfied with my answer, my little darling said, “God sure is smart, isn’t He Opa?”

“Yes, honey,” I said, “God is smart — and good. He loves us.”

I didn’t tell my little darling that some people don’t believe that God had anything to do with the creation of the earth, life or with the intelligent design of the cycle of seasons for that matter. I didn’t tell her that some people think the fact that our earth, a rocky planet with a magnetic core that protects us from deadly solar radiation, is just a fortunate accident. These same people think the fact our planet orbits a sun that’s just the right size and just the right distance away so that water can exist in liquid form is just more good luck. They think that the earth’s twenty-three and a half degree tilt, which allows the sun’s direct energy to be received in varying amounts north and south of the equator throughout the year, just happened. They reason that the universe is so vast that these perfect conditions had to exist someplace.

Neither did I tell my little darling that, as a student and former teacher of earth sciences, I believe in evolution and the explanations that science provides for the  formation of the earth, the oceans, the continents, landforms, and the geography of soils and climates. I did not tell my little darling that I do not literally accept the Bible’s simplistic version of the creation story. But neither did I lie to her when I answered her question about seasons. This is because, though I have no reason to believe in God other than my desire to believe, I do believe. The creation by accident idea is so utterly unsatisfying to me, so beyond my ability to comprehend, that I need justification. Including God, putting Him at the forefront of creation, provides me with this justification — it answers the why.

Some people are not be able to let go of any part of Scripture, fearing that in doing so they will loose their faith entirely. This is an application of the Camel’s Nose falacy. That is fine for some people, but I can’t be so fundamental. I can’t ignore scientific truths. Neither can I have things two different ways at the same time.

My smart little darling will eventually learn all about the various scientific theories explaining the how of creation. By the time she is in high school, science will have undoubtedly discovered more about it . I very much doubt, however, that science will ever discover a testable hypothesis to answer the why question. So, until she is mature enough to grapple with the relative merits of creationist and scientific arguments, mature enough to reconcile in her own way the earth’s physical record with the Word of God, I want her to have the comfort of believing, as I do, in a loving creator. Better to believe in this than in an uncaring, statistical probability. Perhaps she will accept the existance of dinosaurs in the earth’s distant past and our relationship to other, now extinct, human species, as I have, without having to reject what is true in Scripture. The world, afterall, is a scary enough place in which to grow up. Not having an answer to the why makes it even more scary. And on what better foundation can one have to grow, both emotionally and spiritually, than on the why — God’s love?

Please feel free to leave a comment.

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Published in: on May 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A loving answer !

  2. Oh boy. This is hard to tackle in one comment, but I’ll try to hit on a few points succinctly. I can be reached at purinb95@yahoo.com if you want to butt heads on this to a more-satisfying extent for both you and I, but without further ado.
    As an atheist, the fine-tuning argument is one I have to grapple with nearly everytime the issue comes up. It’s a good point, I’ll give it that much. The science behind it is pretty sound: if any of many variables that go into our biosphere were even slightly different, life would not exist here. Such specific complexities cannot arise by chance, can they?
    Ah, well, here’s a few thoughts on it. The first is the monkey-typewriter analogy, that I’m sure you may have heard. With infinite monkeys (points in our infinite universe) mashing gibberish on typewriters since the beginning of time, we would expect one of them to eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare verbatim. That’s how probability works. When you repeat a trial enough times, we would expect that even the most insanely-rare of outcomes would eventually turn up.
    Here’s an example. Take for instance, a shuffled deck of cards. Take a look at the order of the cards. What are the chances that those cards would have been shuffled in that exact order? 1/(52!). A -very- small number indeed. Not comparable to the probability of life-sustaining conditions to exist on a planet, but it doesn’t matter. With infinite trials, anything that CAN happen WILL happen.
    You may say this is an over-simplification of the math that goes into this, and it is. But it is a good model for understanding how repeated trials can yield novel results.
    If your goal is to just answer questions without regard to the validity of the answer, (may not suit my lifestyle, but I feel like it would work for some people nevertheless), then I cannot see how “God did it” is much of an answer at all. Why do we have seasons may be answered if we invoke God, whether we are correct or not, but this births even more confusing questions. Why would God use the “seasons model” we observe now? As an all powerful deity, surely he could have just made food plentiful for everyone if that’s the only reason we have seasons. Seasons that get cold enough to give us hypothermia and hot enough to kill us from dehydration, both of which cause enough famine in and of there-selves to be a pitiful excuse for an all-powerful, all-knowing being to come up with as a way to provide food to satisfy the need for food he created in the first place. This creates so many more questions, questions that have no hope of ever being answered, damn our scientific and philosophical progressions. Maybe the difference between you and I is thus: You are unsatisfied by belief that the universe may not have some exalting purpose for one of the many many species that existed on one of its planets that had not always exist nor shall always exist. And I am unsatisfied that the explanation of a God is tantamount to our “purpose” to be that of satisfying the whims of a deity whose creation of disease, strife, and all that ails us is merely his “mysterious ways.” Mysteries no one dares to attempt at solving, for their are no explanations that satisfy. So here we are at square one.
    If all you want is purpose in your own and others’ lives, why pick this purpose (assuming you are “picking” your answers as you seem to connotate by your mentioning of the scariness of not having an answer and your need for a creator who loves you), the purpose being that we’d been created on whim, and exist only to please and serve our God. At the threat of unimaginable, eternal torture should we not do as we think we are told, and with the promise of admittance into an Orwellian existence in the clouds where we shall have the honor His name for all eternity and, if we’re good, engage in the few things he deems not sinful. Tennis, anyone? No thank you, I’ll take hell.

  3. Thank you for your comment, Corey. I enjoyed reading it. It never dawned on me, however, that I should give my little great granddaughter such an explicit non-answer to her simple question. Maybe when she grows up we can dabble more into the metaphysical.


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