by Bryson Durst
“God made the world just right so we could know His power and made our hearts just right so we could know His goodness.”
That is the message that Dr. Dan DeWitt hopes to teach children in his new book, “Why God? Big Answers About God and Why We Believe in Him.”
DeWitt, director of Cedarville’s Center for Biblical Apologetics and Public Christianity and associate professor of Applied Theology and Apologetics, wrote this book to help children better understand the question: how can we be sure that God exists?
According to DeWitt, “Why God?” focuses on various arguments for the existence of God, including, “the argument from first cause, design and the moral argument.” The goal is to equip children so they can be sure of both what they believe and why they believe it in the face of arguments against Christianity.
The story is centered around two young siblings, Thomas and Hope. They realize that Richard, one of their friends, doubts that God exists. The siblings believe in God, and they go home to discuss the existence of God with their mom. In DeWitt’s words, the kids are on a “search for big answers.” Throughout the book, the mom seeks to give her children these answers, providing them with examples that demonstrate God is real.
This isn’t DeWitt’s first children’s book; last year in chapel he shared from his book “The Friend Who Forgives,” which is about Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21.
DeWitt was inspired to start writing children’s books, and “Why God?” in particular, after watching an interview with the prominent atheist Richard Dawkins. DeWitt said that in the interview, Dawkins made the claim that “some ‘stupid people’ teach their kids that God made the world,” and that he would write a children’s book discussing, in DeWitt’s words, “a scientific [atheistic] view of the world.”
DeWitt continued, “I remember thinking, if I get the opportunity, I want to write books that help young people think about such claims from a biblical worldview.” His primary goal is that the readers, children and parents alike, “are encouraged about how the entire world points to God.”
The process itself was complex. In addition to DeWitt and the illustrator, it involved “a full-time editor, but also a number of people with considerable experience in teaching children, picking apart every word and every illustration.”
It was important that everything was phrased in a way that would be understandable to a young audience, especially the various philosophical concepts used to
demonstrate God’s existence. DeWitt devoted a lot of time experimenting with how to explain those big concepts while keeping the story memorable and interesting.
“Some might think it would be significantly easier to write for children, but that hasn’t been my experience,” DeWitt said. “I wrote my first children’s book about ten times before we felt that we had something worthy of moving forward with editing.”
DeWitt emphasized that in children’s picture books “you should only say with words what cannot be said with pictures.” DeWitt believes that these books need both a strong illustrator and a writer who can succinctly and clearly communicate with the young audience.
“Why God?” is the second of DeWitt’s children’s books, but it may not be his last. Though the work on “Why God?” is over, DeWitt hopes to write more children’s books in the “Why…?” series in the future.
Bryson Durst is a sophomore in the Accelerated B.A. + MDiv program. He enjoys theology, history, playing strategy games with friends, and anything “Star Wars” related.