“Dad, does Jesus work for God?”
“Uh, well, Jesus IS God. He doesn’t have a boss. But He’s also the Son of God. I mean, He did work for God by coming to Earth to die for our sins. But He did his work for us, too.”
My theologically inquisitive four-year-old stumped me with another tough one. At minimum I had to explain the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement. As I struggled to explain them I realized how inadequate my answers were. How do you explain the Trinity to a four-year-old (or a forty-year-old, for that matter)? I also realized that a study of these great doctrines can and should be a lifelong work.
The temptation to “move on” past a rudimentary understanding of Christian doctrine seems ill-advised to me now. How can I move on from these teachings—they are the hope of humanity? We don’t have a Christian faith apart from the mind-boggling conception that God Himself became one of us, paid the penalty we should have paid, and loves us with a love we don’t deserve and can’t fathom.
Christians sometimes get the message that we simply need to focus on putting our faith into practice, thereby authenticating our witness. Yes, that’s true, but this faith must be properly grounded so that the practice becomes a joyful testimony to the grace of God.
I want to be the best father I can be for my children. But, if I can’t answer their questions, what’s to keep them from gravitating toward easier-to-grasp self-help religions or any other belief system? I wouldn’t dare let them sort other issues out all by themselves as they work through the educational system.
Hmm. I better keep some of those thick, doctrinal books with plain covers on the lower shelves