Attracted to Genesis by Magnets and a Bird Book
by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. *
God used magnets, a bird book, and some precious Christian teachers to draw me to appreciate and rely upon the origins history taught in Genesis. My journey of learning about creation and my Creator budded and blossomed in my teen years,1 but providential seed-planting and germination came earlier—in kindergarten, with magnets, and in second grade, when I received my first bird book.
Magnets in Kindergarten
As a small child, my parents taught me that God made everything, including me. However, in kindergarten I learned that some people disagreed about God being the Creator. There was no public kindergarten where I lived, so my parents enrolled me in a private kindergarten that Mrs. Wheeler taught in her home. She always prayed reverently when we had snacks, and she taught us that the Bible was God’s Word.
One day Mrs. Wheeler taught us to experiment with magnets. Her college-attending daughter was home on break helping her mother. As I listened, the daughter asked something like, “Why are you teaching them about magnets? Science is way over their heads.” I will never forget Mrs. Wheeler’s reply: “Soon these kids will be taught that science, without God, explains life, and they will wonder if intelligent people believe in God and the Bible. I want them to remember, from kindergarten, that the first person to teach them any science was someone who believed in Jesus and the Bible, and who prayed with them.” Wow! That astounded me! When I went to “big school,” I would be taught more science but with no Bible—nothing about God!
So Mrs. Wheeler, with her daughter’s help, had just warned me that a godless version of science awaited me. In second grade I would learn more about this controversy.
Bird Book in Second Grade
Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner, my second-grade teacher, had the habit of giving two identical prizes—to one boy and one girl—at year-end. That year the prize was a bird book,2 and I was the privileged boy!
She told me that with the book’s pictures and information, I could learn about the beautiful birds God made. Turning to pages 12-13, which included an official-looking evolutionary chart, she noted this sentence: “Birds developed from reptile ancestors millions of years ago, as internal structures and scaly legs still show.”2 That was not true! The sentence and chart were “all just a lie,” she warned me, invented “so [people] won’t have to think about who God is.”
Mrs. Bumgardner smiled. “But don’t worry about the false ideas on those two pages—just enjoy the rest of the book, because the rest of the book teaches a lot of true facts about God’s birds.” Wow! Again I was surprised—who could guess that someone would imagine and put lies into a book so they could try to forget who God is?
That prize bird book I shall never forget—I still have it and treasure it.
Mrs. Bumgardner prayed for us, in class, and taught us about John 3:16, which I would rely upon, personally, three and a half years later. During sixth grade I confirmed my personal belief in the Lord Jesus as my Savior.
Ever since second grade, I have enjoyed my bird book and many more that I have acquired, knowing how God cares for those marvelous and multifarious birds. Yet God cares so much more for me, as both Matthew 6:26 and John 3:16 prove.
Someday I will thank both Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Bumgardner for caring enough to creatively teach me the truth about my Creator God.
- It was Bob Webel, my youth pastor, who comprehensively explained biblical creation truth to me, and the importance of Romans 5:12-21, when I was 18 (see Johnson, J. J. S. 2013. Avoiding Identity Fraud. Acts & Facts. 42 (7): 18-19). Also I recall my mother protesting the tonsillectomy fad because God purposefully designed our human anatomy (see Johnson, J. J. S. 2012. Tonsils, Forensic Science, and the Recent Fabrication Rule. Acts & Facts. 41 (6): 8-9).
- Zim H. S. and I. N. Gabrielson. 1964. Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds. New York: Golden Press.
* Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. 2015. Attracted to Genesis by Magnets and a Bird Book. Acts & Facts. 44 (8).