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September 5, 2014 / BTM

Playmobil and Polly Pocket: How We Are Like God

 

how like god3

I’ve taken up a suggestion to discuss each of the questions in my Christian Theology for Kids: 12 Questions to Get You Started post in more detail.  I updated that post since writing it to add another link to a child-friendly resource that will help you to explain Christian theology to your children at their level. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

Today I’ll provide ideas on how to answer the question: “How are we like God?”

To start off, gather some kind of toy such as a Playmobil or LEGO figurine (preferably a figurine of a person!), or a doll figurine such as Barbie or Polly Pocket, or a stuffed animal or other kind of doll.

Ask your kids how the toy is the same and how it is different from a real person.

You might need to get the ball rolling by starting off with how the toy’s appearance is similar to ours, but also different. How the toy’s body works similarly to ours (you can move the arms and legs, turn the head, etc.), but without the same capabilities or fine motor skills, etc.

Now tell your children that this doll or toy serves as an illustration of how we are similar and different from God.

Ask your kids for examples of how we are like God.

Some examples include the ability to:

  • be creative;
  • solve problems or invent things like buildings, computers and airplanes;
  • think about deep truths;
  • determine what is good and what is evil;
  • love each other;
  • appreciate beauty;
  • try to make things fair and right for everyone (fight for justice).

We have these abilities and attributes because we have been made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). But even though we’ve been made in the image of God, we are still very different from God – just like our toys are made in the image of people, but are not exactly like us.

The Bible tells us that humans are the only part of creation that was made in God’s image and therefore the only part of creation that has these kinds of abilities and attributes.

Not everyone agrees with this. Many people think that we are basically the same as animals, just slightly more evolved. This is not a Biblical position.

Some will argue that animals also have many of the same attributes as those listed above, thinking that this proves that humans are a more highly evolved form of animal. For example, troops of baboons can be self-sacrificing. Animals defend their vulnerable, some even defending victims of a different species. But animals are directed by instinct – they do what comes naturally. Humans, on the other hand, regulate what comes naturally to determine what they ‘ought’ to do. As Greg Koukl has noted, this is the essence of civilization: not ‘just doing what comes naturally’. There is a difference.

I will delve into this question further in a future post. This is one illustration of how your worldview (or your way of understanding truth and the world) has implications on other aspects of life. A Biblical worldview sets humans apart from animals. A materialistic or evolution-based worldview would not. I think it is critical for our kids to understand this and have evidence for the viewpoint in a society that assumes that evolution is true and that humans are only ‘more evolved’ than other animals, and therefore not essentially different than them.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this post, and particularly any of your thoughts or questions on how humans are morally and ethically different from animals.

 

 

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