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.