Once I was talking to an old Australian aboriginal elder who recalled roaming the deserts with his family when they were in their tribal state many years ago. This old man had since become a Christian, but he remembered that as a little boy bound in this spiritist, anti-culture, he asked his father one day, "What is God like, Father?" He said his father turned to him, and after a long pause said, "I don't know, Son, we've forgotten."
His father had forgotten because his father before him had forgotten. Once their ancestors had known, but somewhere in their ancestry a father had not passed on the truth about the God of creation to the next generation.
In Psalm 78:2-7 we read, "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born: who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments."
Many other passages in the Bible likewise command fathers to teach their children so that the correct information is passed on to and implemented by the next generation; e.g., Isaiah 38:19; Ephesians 6:4.
Sadly, as I have pondered the conversation with this Australian aboriginal, I have realized that this same problem is being reflected in our Christian society. As I have had opportunity to speak in hundreds of churches in this nation and other nations around the world, I have noticed that the coming generations do not have enough knowledge to defend the basics of their faith to their own satisfaction, and much less to a skeptical generation.
Yes, I have seen churches that teach good doctrine. I have seen churches that have great discipleship programs with tremendous Sunday school outreach. I have seen churches that send missionaries to various places in the world and some that have great youth programs to reach young people throughout the community. I have seen churches that have great evangelistic outreach programs. I have seen churches that have Bible study programs. But despite all of this, I have found, as others of us at ICR have found, that in the majority of churches the average person cannot defend the basic truths of his or her faith.
A leading Christian spokesman has quoted the statistic that up to seventy percent of the young people in Christian families today will abandon the Christian faith. With all of these great programs and the tremendous range of Christian materials and great preachers in this nation, why are we seeing the Christian culture dying? I believe it is partly because the majority of parents have not given the next generation the foundation upon which Christian structure is built.
Let me give you a little test. In fact, I would suggest that you give this same test to each person in your Sunday School class, youth group, Bible study, or church. I believe it would be a real eye-opener if pastors were willing to print this test and hand it to each person in the church and then ask them to seriously consider what their answers would be. Our experience at ICR has shown the majority of people in our churches could not answer most of these questions:
1. What is the best evidence you would use to defend your belief that there is a God who created the world?
2. How would you answer the question, "Where did God come from?"
3. If God made only two people, Adam and Eve, who bore children, named Cain and Abel,where did Cain get his wife?
4. How many different colors of skin are there in the human species?
5. How do you explain the origins of all the different races of the people in the world?
6. When did the dinosaurs live and what happened to them?
7. What do scientists use carbon-14 for?
8. Have scientists proved the earth to be billions of years old?
9. Is there any evidence for Noah's Flood? Where is it?
10. Is Genesis relevant today?
In my travels I have encountered many people who said that when they asked such questions to their parents they could never get answers. Because of this, and the naturalistic, evolutionary indoctrination they received in school and in college, they rejected Christianity. Sadly, many Christians today, asked these same questions by their children, give a similar answer to that of the father of the aboriginal elder quoted above: "I don't know—we've forgotten."
As we have stated so many times through our teaching and our written ministry at the Institute for Creation Research, ultimately, all Biblical doctrines, directly or indirectly, have their foundation in the Book of Genesis. If one cannot defend the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis, then one cannot defend Christianity's very foundation—the very basics and the historicity of the faith. One can believe all the aspects of the structure, e.g., the doctrines of Christianity, but without a foundation, how can the structure remain?
Remember that the Christian faith is not a blind faith. It is a faith that is based upon the literal events of Genesis! Can you answer those ten questions, or would you have to admit, along with many others in our churches today, that you do not know—you've forgotten? Why not try this test out in your church? But make sure you do have the answers. To help you with this, we have listed very brief answers to these questions in this insert. If you require more detailed answers, please don't hesitate to write us. Also, encourage your Christian friends to at tend one of our "Back to Genesis" seminars where we answer these questions in detail.
What a difference it makes when people are equipped to do what Peter says: "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Peter 3:15). If you fathers don't want your children to be in a similar state as that of the young aboriginal boy, you had better take up the challenge right now, of training your children in the foundational truths of the Christian faith.
DID YOU KNOW . . .
that the Havasupai Indians living in the Grand Canyon believe this Canyon originated as a result of a flood?
".. . .Before there were many people on earth there were two gods: Tochapa of goodness, and Hokomata of evil. Tochapa had a daughter named Pu-keh-eh, whom he hoped would become the mother of all living. Hokomata, the evil, was determined that no such thing should take place, and he covered the world with a great flood. Tochopa, the good, felled a great tree and hollowed out the trunk. He placed Pu-keh-eh in the hollowed trunk, and when the water rose and flooded the earth, she was secure in her improvised boat.
"Finally the flood waters receded and mountain peaks emerged. Rivers were created; and one of them cut the great gushing fissure, which became the Grand Canyon.
"Pu-keh-eh, in her log, came to rest on the new earth. She stepped forth and beheld an empty world.
"When the land became dry, a great golden sun rose in the east and warmed the earth, and caused her to conceive. In time, she gave birth to a male child. Later, a waterfall caused her to conceive, and she gave birth to a girl. From the union of these two mortal children came all the people on the earth. The first were the Havasupai, and the voice of Tochopa spoke to them and told them to live forever in peace in their canyon of good earth and pure water where there would always be plenty for all . . ."
This is, of course, a recognizable (albeit distorted) version of the worldwide Flood of Noah's day. It adds more evidence to support the fact that all peoples are descended from Noah and have a common cultural background.