On Easter Sunday my family had the pleasure of meeting with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew for a nice lunch and a visit to the Denver Zoo. It was a stunningly beautiful day and the temperature was perfect for a day out and about. This was the first time Callie Grace or Justus had been to the zoo, so we were excited to get some good video of their first experience. As it turns out, Justus slept through the entire visit, but that is his right as a 4 month old!
As we made our way through the zoo we encountered a variety of animals. There are the mighty lions, the quick cheetahs, the big and somewhat smelly elephants, the colorful peacocks who walk right in front of you, the playful monkeys, the powerful buffalo, and slippery snakes just to name a few. As I was video taping the various animals, I pondered on one of the most fundamental and crucial aspects of God; Him as creator. The distinctive characteristics and shapes of the animals is yet another indication of the craftsmanship of our God, not to mention the way they are able to stay alive. I was amazed at how powerful the heart of the elephant must be in order to get blood successfully through that massive body. As Psalm 19:1 says, the work of God clearly demonstrates his glory. I was thinking, what an awesome place to bring the body of Christ together and worship – right in the middle of a collection of God’s masterpieces.
So then it was with disappoint, not surprise, that I saw multiple signs arrayed throughout the “primate panorama” connecting the evolutionary time line from apes to humans. The most disturbing was a picture of a small baby in diapers “morphed” with a picture of a small ape with the admonition to “take care of the animals” because “they are our ancestors.” Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t something that should cause us as Christians to put on our army gear and battle with the Denver Zoo. I do find it interesting that apparently folks have no problem with the so-called “indoctrinating” of this particular evolutionary message (a word that gets thrown around when others accuse parents of “indoctrinating” their children with the message of Christ). What is more troubling with these teaching tools at the Denver Zoo is that we are reminded of the cunningness and deception of the evil one who will attack in the most subtle of ways in the midst of a location that is designed for children to have fun and enjoy the wonder of the animal world. For the most part, zoos are associated with children. And the message of strict evolution is in direct conflict with the Bible’s account of creation. If we distort or miss the message of Genesis 1-3, we will misinterpret the rest of the Bible. Thus, Satan is making a profound attack on the minds of our children in ways that seem incredibly innocent. A simple sign at the Denver Zoo.
Why am I bringing this up? Because it is yet another reminder of how parents are the essential players in the spiritual development of their children. I can assure you that had I been with my dad when I was a child at the Denver Zoo, he would have had something to say about that sign. He wouldn’t have land-blasted the zoo or accused anyone of wrong doing. He would have addressed the issue, explained how this contradicts what we believe, and then go show me the apes. It is at times like the Denver Zoo that Deuteronomy 6 shows itself to be a very practical message to parents: “Impress them (the things of God) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and
when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” And when you visit the zoo.