Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Theology 101

Tonight as we were saying prayers, Ava suddenly turned to me and asked, "Did God make God?"
Wow. I thought about it for a minute, struggling to think of a way to explain it in a way that she might understand. I held up a book we had just read. "Somebody made this book, didn't they?" I asked. "Someone put the pages together and wrote the words on them and it became a book." I pointed to a toy. "Someone made this toy, too. They put all the parts together and it started being a toy then." "And what about people? I asked. "Did someone make them?" "Yes, God did, "Ava replied. "You're right. God put the pieces of our bodies together and then we became alive and started being people." "But, " and here is where I tried my very best, so give me extra credit for pure effort..."nobody ever put God together or made Him because He has just always been there. He is different from everything we see on Earth that started being something after it was made. It is hard for us to understand how he could always be there without being made, but it is part of what makes Him God."
She sat silently, thinking.
"Did God make Jesus?" she asked. "Um, no. He is like God. He was never made either because He has always been there with God."
A little more silence.
"But, didn't God make Jesus a little baby?" "Um, yes. Jesus has always been in Heaven with God but he wanted to come live on the Earth with people for a little while so He came here as a little baby and grew up and then died and went back to Heaven."
More silent thought.
"Do you have any other questions, honey?" I asked, while fervently hoping the answer was no. These had pretty much wiped me out. It isn't that they are such hard questions, but they are hard to answer in a way that makes sense. In fact, my adult self can not even grasp how it is that God has always been there without having a beginning.
So tonight, I was hit for the first time with the realization that providing my children with spiritual knowledge will force me to come face to face and wrestle with everything I have tucked away as a "given" in my own faith. I must examine, and place into words the deepest mysteries of what I believe about God and why. Sooner than I think, the questions of:
Why didn't God make them well? Why is there a hell? What will happen to me when I die? How do you know God is real? How do you know the Bible is from God?" and dozens like these will be freely flowing. I don't expect my kids to take my answers as iron-clad truth without examining things for themselves. But, I sure don't want to steer them wrong or be unprepared to tell them what I believe and why. This was a good reminder to me tonight that my first priority as a parent is to lead my kids to an understanding of and love for God.


Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing this story, Becky! And for the reminder about our responsibility to our kids and God.

Rachel said...

More than a responsibility to kids (and it is that), I think it's good for us to think about the things we don't think about and have answers for ourselves or for others (besides kids) that ask us. It's really a good exercize.

Dara said...

Isn't it amazing all the questions kids can think to ask? I have been amazed by some of the deep theological questions Emma asks us. She certainly keeps us on our toes at our house! Great family mental exercise!

Becky said...

Yeah, Rachel, I thought about how it really applies to anyone that may ask these questions. And how it is good to think about these things for even our own sake- so we know what we believe and why. However, there is just something about the realization hitting me smack in the face that these children are such a huge responsibility in that I'm their #1 spiritual teacher (well, and Cody) and the consequences if I fail are so mind-numbingly terrible.

Genell said...

It is in those moments that I cling to Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Then I give it to God in prayer that He will redeem any of the mistakes Brad and I make in parenting.

Quad Squad! said...

Maybe my kids don't need to talk after all, if they're going to ask questions like that! Haha! Just kdding of course! My kids don't even know who God is yet, but I already pray every day for Him to help me teach them about Him the right way. It IS a huge responsibility! I know I will do my best, and I may not always have the right answers to their questions, I just hope they always feel comfortable enough with me and Jim that they are never afraid to ask the questions when they have them!

bpb said...

Jesus is God.

Becky said...

How true!
Yet, I did not feel that it would be wise to add onto our already deep conversation with the equally confusing topic of the Trinity. How three can be one yet still be three distinct entities is a lesson for another day.

Kim Bowen said...

Oh Becky! I'm so with you on this. Last week Alex asked me if God had a species. I was confused. He said "you know how you are a person and there are other people and you are all people and there is a plant and other plants with it make a species? Does God have a species? I'm still not sure I understood exactly what he was asking but I went through the same spiel about there only being one God and he has always been there. Hmmmmm...Is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit a species????

bpb said...

I wouldn't have a clue how to explain the Trinity - I can't understand it myself.