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The Romans 1 Game: Kids, Creation & Worship
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made...Romans 1:19-20
These verses are part of a longer argument the apostle Paul is making, but the truth he’s pointing out here also has broader implications. That truth is that God’s invisible attributes are clearly visible in his creation.
Another favorite and similar passage is the beginning of Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God,Psalm 19:1-4
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge…
Their voice goes out through all the earth
So if nature is saying things about God, what’s it saying? That question is the basis of a little game I play with my family. We do this most often while we are on vacation, but throughout the year as well. We simply ask each other, “What does that tell us about who God is?” We might specify, that sunset, that mountain, that tree, etc. or ask it standing with arms spread wide open before the landscape, implying all of that. Often, an important follow up question is “How?”
What does that tell us about who God is?
It really is amazing to hear what my kids come up with. Just yesterday, we went with some neighbors we love on a great Father’s Day hike near Mt Rainier.* Asking the Romans 1 question to the kids as we got to a beautiful viewpoint on the drive there, my 8 year-old daughter Zoë said that the trees and mountains told us that God loves us. I asked her to explain how, and she said, “he made all of these things beautiful and we get to enjoy it—he could have made it all ugly and stuff. So that tells me he loves us.” Wow. Really glad I asked the question...
During the hike at one of the first good views of the White River, she said, “Hey Dad, we could play the Romans 1 Game with that!” At which point she got to explain the game to our neighbor.
Here are just a few reasons I play this game with the fam and reasons you might want to consider doing something similar with your kids:
- If the sky (and all of creation) is pouring forth speech day and night about the glory of God, I want to listen and teach my kids to listen as well.
- It leads to worship. The right response to listening to what creation reveals about the Creator’s invisible attributes is to give him props.
- I want to paint a picture of the majesty and glory of the Creator for my kids that captures their hearts and imagination more than created things (Romans 1:25)
- So far, they enjoy it, and my wife and I do as well.
- This is also a tangible way to prepare kids for a gospel-centered way of looking at the Bible. We often ask what a text tells us about Who God is? What he’s done? Who we are in light of that? And how should we then live?
- I see the Romans 1 Game as part of building my kids’ gospel fluency—teaching them to see all of life connected to the meta-narrative of God’s redemptive story in a way that is as automatic to them as speaking in English.
Give it try with your kids. Or really with anyone you are discipling...
* The Skookum Flats trail is a great hike for families. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Tacoma, mostly flat, and 4 miles round trip through lush green forest beside the White River and it takes you to a beautiful waterfall. It’s also a great mountain biking trail for adults & teens. I highly recommend it.
[Header image: photo by Darek Farmer]