Answering Children’s Questions about God
Thursday, September 28, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg
When your kids ask questions, they want answers, don’t they? When their questions are about God, Jesus, and Heaven—sometimes they can take you by surprise.
Knowing the answer and how to explain it so they understand isn’t always easy for us. Below are some helpful tips for answering kid’s questions about God. Of course, our own Bible reading time is our first resource. The more time you spend on it, the more equipped you’ll be to answer some of those questions. You may not always have the precise answer right then, and that’s okay. Be honest with your kids, and tell them you will find the answer if you don’t know it right then.
Different age groups, questions and answers
Young children, ages 2-3, generally accept adult’s beliefs. They are trusting and will imitate us. If you pray with folded hands, they will likely copy. If you read a book and say, we are going to read about God, they may ask wide-eyed, “Whose God?”
Our answers: For this age, answer with simple truths and short statements such as, “God is the one who created our world and everything in it” (Genesis 1:1). Check out this great little board book on the 7 days of creation, God Made the World. It is an easy read that toddlers love.
Children ages 4-5 are more curious in their questions. Their idea of God may be somewhat magical— likening him to a superhero. They may want to know who made God and why can’t they see him. Or they may ask how God made the world.
Our Answers: Answer with short statements. Do not overcomplicate facts. You can explain that no one created God. The Bible tells us God always existed. (Psalm 90:2). You can explain that we cannot see God because the Bible tells us that God is a Spirit. In Genesis 1:2b, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” And we find in the Bible that God made the world by speaking it into existence. “And God said, ‘” Let there be light,”’ and there was light. God then called the light “day,” and he called the darkness “night.” (Gen. 1:3-5). And that is how we got our days and nights. He spoke everything into existence.
If you haven’t already, this is a good age to read the creation account (Gen. 1:1-31) directly from your Bible, calling it God’s Holy Word. They will come to make the connection that God’s word is different from any other book.
Children ages 6-8: By this age, children’s environment and experiences can lead to curiosity in their questioning about God. They may ask why God made spiders and creepy things. Or, what is Heaven, and how do we get there?
Our Answers: Answer with short explanations of facts. God made all animals and creatures when he made creation. The Bible doesn’t tell us why he made spiders and creepy crawlers, just that he did. We might not like them, but all things have a purpose. Spiders eat other pests and help control crop-damaging insects. I bet gardeners and farmers are happy that God made spiders!
What is Heaven, and how do we get there?
Heaven is the place where God lives. It’s way beyond the clouds. All the people who know and love Jesus will go there to live in Heaven with God forever. The Bible tells us that heaven is a beautiful place where we will see and sing with the angels around God’s throne. (Rev. 5:11).
These are straightforward explanations for your child’s understanding of Heaven. As they grow and mature, they will likely have more questions, especially if a loved one dies. It is good and comforting to know that their loved one is with Jesus and healed and whole if they were sick when they died.
Children aged 9-12: The older child may still have some of the same questioned as younger children, but will appreciate a more extensive answer. They may also demonstrate the capability to understand the authority of scripture references, to validate answers. They may want to know who the Holy Spirit is and if God loves people who do bad things.
Our Answers: Give honest, factual answers with scripture. Read right from the Bible so they can see it for themselves.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. God is three in one— God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When Jesus died and was resurrected, he later sent the promised gift of the Holy Spirit to come live within the believer. He is always with us. Gen 1:26 is the first mention of the Trinity. It says, “Let us make mankind in our image.” Acts 1:4-5 speaks of Jesus instructing the disciples to “wait for the gift my Father promised. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Does God love people who do bad things?
God loves all people, whether they do good things or bad things. God does not want people to do bad things, but he doesn’t stop loving them when they do bad things.
One of my favorite verses is from a book in the Bible called Romans. It says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
That explanation will likely lead to further exploration and conversations about sinners and why Jesus died for us. And that’s what we want— but give it in small amounts depending on the age and attention span. Sin is doing something wrong. If you break your sister’s toy and tell me that you didn’t do it, that’s a lie, which is a sin.
But why did Jesus have to die? The short answer is all sin is punishable by death. For a child’s understanding, it is helpful to know, that our sin separates us from God, so we would never be able to live in heaven with him. We are guilty when we break a rule or a law. There are consequences for sin. Unless we are made right with God, we will not live with him in heaven when we die. Sinners live in a place called hell, separated from God. (Isaiah 59:1-2), (Romans 6:23).
The good news is that Jesus died and took our place because he loves us that much. You can read the whole plan of salvation here. It’s never too soon to go over these truths with your child. These are the most important truths you can help your child to understand.
It is okay to leave them with the understanding that there are some mysteries with God. Even grownups are still learning, and we will not understand all there is to know about God.
God gave us the revelation of his word so we can know him. Open and honest answers and searching together will help your child to have a firm foundation in who God is and what the Bible teaches.
Thank you for giving us the Bible so we can know you better. Thank you for the questions that my children have. Help me convey the truths of your word to my children and grandchildren so they may develop a love for you and believe in your Son. ~In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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