by Brandon Hiltibidal
“When your son asks you in the future, ‘What is the meaning of the decrees, statutes, and ordinances that the LORD our God has commanded you?’” —Deuteronomy 6:20 CSB
If you are a Christian parent, this question is critical. “What is the meaning of this?” This question comes in Deuteronomy when God is giving His commandments to His people. There are rules and the promise of blessing. The expectation is that the people of God will follow Him, worship Him, and live a lifestyle that makes much of Him.
That is still the expectation today. And the question Moses foresaw for his nation is a question we will likely hear as well. At some point, we hope, our children will see we are living a God-focused, gospel-dependent, distinct style of life and ask us, “Daddy, why do you live the way you live? Why do you obey and follow God? What does all this mean?”
What will we say when the question comes?
Answering with Logic and Philosophy
One option is to take a logical, philosophical approach. We can explain to our kids that God is real, He has spoken, and listening to Him makes sense. There are many brilliant Christian thinkers who can help us with this. In his Systematic Theology text, Norman Geisler shares many classic arguments for the existence of God and the legitimacy of His work.
For example, take his explanation of the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God, which says:
Everything that had a beginning has a cause.
The universe had a beginning.
Therefore, the universe has a Cause.
This makes sense, right? Nothing can’t produce something. So, if it began, it has a cause. We also know the universe had to have a beginning because to suggest otherwise would be to say that the universe goes back infinitely, but it can’t go back infinitely. If there were an infinite number of moments before today, today would never have gotten here. Of course, today is here, so the universe had a beginning. And, if everything that had a beginning has a cause, and the universe has a beginning, then the universe has a Cause. It is a “capital C” Cause because God has to be the Cause. Any other explanation requires there to be something physical and that would need a cause to have happened in the first place. The cosmological argument can help us and our kids support the belief that God is real.
Or, there is a Moral Argument.
Moral Law implies a Moral Lawgiver.
There is an objective moral law.
Therefore, there is an objective Moral Lawgiver.
What that means is that if there is a moral law, it had to have come from somewhere. If there is a natural understanding of wrongness, something or Someone must have established that.
And there is an objective moral law. Though this is up for debate in some places in the world, if you really push on it, it is pretty obvious because our hearts know what evil is. For example, what if someone came into your kid’s room today and took all the toys. They just picked up all your child’s toys and kept them forever. Your little six-year-old’s Peppa Pig-loving heart would immediately cry out for justice. It is inherently wrong for someone to take something we care about. That is because there is an objective standard of morality and perfection in the universe by which we judge everything else (and that Standard’s name is Jesus).
Again, this type of rationale can be helpful as we teach our kids. There is reason for God and for following Him. Geisler and many others have explained there is also logic behind our belief that God is good and communicative and understandable when He tells us how to follow Him.
Answering A Better Way
When our children ask what the meaning of our faith is, we can answer reasonably, but there is another way—a better way. This is the next verse in Deuteronomy 6:
“Tell him, ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand.’”
The Bible’s answer to our kids’ questions is not just our logic; it’s our story. God wants your children to know not only that He is real, but also that He sets captives free. When your son comes to you and asks you why all of this matters, what he really needs to know is that we are no longer slaves.
What an Israelite father would have said is, “Son, we were ruined and hopeless.”
He would have said, “Son, we worked and strived to make bricks without straw, and it was never enough.”
And he would have said, “But one day the Lord sent Moses the deliverer, a Hebrew rescuer, born in the midst of our suffering people to lead us to the promised land.”
He would have said, “Son, a hero arrived with mighty acts and wondrous signs and said ‘Let my people go.’”
His story is our story too, so what he would have said is what we can say.
“I know God is real because He rescued me. And I’ll do anything the Lord commands because He saved me and He is good.”