Questions Kids Ask: A Note From Cynthia
If your kids are anything like mine, they have been known to throw out questions about God that would leave even the greatest theologian stumbling over his words:
“Who created God, or has he just always been there?”
“Why does God allow good people to suffer?”
Another fan favorite is, “Why is there violence in the Bible if God is a loving God?”
My general protocol when these questions arise is to send them directly to my husband.
I’m kidding, sort of.
Over the next several weeks, we are going to address some of the common faith questions our kids ask.
Today, we have the great privilege of sharing the words of Dr. Jim Denison of the Denison Forum.
He answers the question: Why is there only one way to God?
What if our children ask us, “Why is there only one way to God? Why don’t all roads lead up the same mountain?”
In today’s culture, this is a question almost every child will ask their parents.
Isn’t it enough to believe in God?
According to a Pew Research Center report, 80 percent of Americans believe in God, while another 9 percent believe in a higher power or spiritual force.
However, only 56 percent of us believe in God as he is described in the Bible.
If your children are like many Americans, they may wonder: Isn’t enough to believe in God, however we define him or it?
After all, “everyone knows” that truth is personal and subjective. We’re told that no one has the right to force their beliefs on us. Our culture says everyone has the right to view God however they wish.
It’s the height of intolerance today to claim that Jesus is the only way to God. Yet that’s just what Jesus claimed (John 14:6). It is considered narrow-minded and prejudiced to tell people that salvation is found only in Christ. But that’s just what the apostle Peter announced (Acts 4:12).
How do we handle this contradiction between culture and Scripture?
Even people who believe personally in the God of Scripture may not be sure that others need to share their faith. Or know how to communicate the need for such faith in a way that is not condemning and offensive.
Why does everyone need to believe in the God of the Bible? How can we help our children answer this question?
How many roads lead to your home?
Let’s begin with the biblical fact that faith in the God of Scripture is essential to eternal life. Jesus said of himself, “Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He then added: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (v. 18).
Helping people trust in Christ is not forcing our beliefs on them—it is helping them do what God says we must do to receive the eternal life he offers us.
Perhaps an analogy will help. When you get in the car with your family to go home from church, only one road will take you to your driveway. It may seem intolerant to say that none of the other roads in your city lead to your house, but it’s the truth. This would only be a problem if there were no roads to your home, or if you were not allowed to travel on the road that takes you home.
The fact is, God has made a way to his heavenly home that anyone can travel who will. Anyone who asks Jesus to forgive their sins and become their Savior receives eternal life. It’s not wrong for him to have only one road home, so long as it’s available to everyone.
How many people have died for us?
But your children may ask why the Christian faith is the only way to heaven. Why not Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Islam?
Our problem is that our sins have separated us from the God who is the source of life. As a result, the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The only person who could pay this debt for us is someone who has never sinned and thus has no debt of his own to pay.
Jesus is the only sinless person who has ever lived. He is therefore the only person who could die in our place, bearing our punishment and paying our debt.
That’s why we need to ask him to forgive us for our sins and give us eternal life. Salvation is a gift only Jesus can give.
The treatment that saved our son
Several years ago, our oldest son was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery removed most of the tumor, but not all of it. Chemotherapy did not work on the kind of malignancy he had, nor did most types of radiation. There was only one kind of radiation that could kill his cancer.
When we learned this news, were we angry that our son could not choose any kind of treatment he wished? Or were we grateful beyond words for the one type of treatment that saved his life?
To paraphrase theologian Harry Ironside: On the cross, Jesus became the substitute for everyone (2 Corinthians 5:21).
But no one is a substitute for him.