Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Daughter the Theologian

Having just put my daughter to bed, I cannot help but feel overjoyed to see that at such an early age she clings to and recognizes God, her own sinfulness, and her need for Jesus as a Savior. She is only four years old, but she has memorized the substance of most of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Whenever I ask her, "What is the chief end of man?" she always answers faithfully, "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever." That's my girl. Someday I'll teach her Piper's version of it: "To glorify God by enjoying Him forever."

Her favorite question is when I come to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. She has memorized the old Puritan rhyme, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." We had her baptized two weeks ago at church; I started to explain baptism to her, part of my answer being that baptism is a testimony that though her parents trust in Jesus for our salvation, she also must trust in Jesus to be saved. She quickly retorted, "Too late, Dad! I already trust in Jesus to be saved. You baptized me, but I already believed!"

All that to say, it is important how we teach and raise our children. Atheists can call bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord "brainwashing" if they want, but I can fire the same thing back to them when they teach their children from infancy that "The universe is everything!" as I recently saw one of my kids' PBS cartoons (for the record, it was Martha Speaks) declare. So I quickly told Genesis, "That song isn't true. Do you know why?" She thought about it and said, "Well the universe isn't all there is. What about God? He isn't the universe, is he?" Brilliant.

She has a lot of questions for me. One almost got me stumped. She wanted to know how it is that God can see even if He doesn't have any eyes? Trying to keep things simple I said, "Well God can see without eyes." She responded, "But He doesn't have a physical body! Remember, you said a spirit doesn't have a body, and that God's a spirit!" I'm not making this conversation up. So I decided to jump in head-first.

"I was trying to keep things simple so as not to confuse you, but since you asked, here's how it works. God does not have eyes or a body. He is not physically confined to any spacial location, and yet He is spoken of as being omnipresent - or everywhere. God's knowledge of all that happens in creation does not have a reference to being in a certain place and perceiving events, the way things are with you and me. When we imagine God watching us, we imagine Him watching us from up above, or over in the corner, or looking through the walls of our house. Yet God does not perceive us in that way. He knows us by virtue of His decrees. God decreed that you and I would be sitting here having this conversation, and by virtue of that decree, He knows what is happening here down to the smallest detail. He does not passively see us having this conversation. We are having this conversation because God decided long ago that we would have this conversation."

She looks at me for a second and goes, "Thank you. Much better." No follow-ups or anything.

Somehow, for the first time in my life, I felt condescended to by a four year old. And it was awesome.


  1. Adam,

    Great post! Thank you for the reminder to continue in catechizing my daughter. You actually inspired me to post a blog on the same subject matter at

  2. I read the post you wrote, Kenneth. It is so great of God to use you as a reminder that the Lord has not let my writing here return void. Thank you for making my week!


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