Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Children's questions about God

These questions were asked by children (aged 7-8) at the Guildhall Feoffment Primary School

Some of these questions are very difficult to answer because when we are talking about God we are talking about someone who is bigger than what we can think of. So, for instance, asking who made God, is a bit like Elsa and Anna of the film Frozen asking who drew Walt Disney? They live in a world in which everything and everyone is drawn. They would not be able to imagine a world where people are not drawn. Or describing what God is like is like trying to describe the colour blue to someone who has never been able to physically see.

Did God make Jesus?
Yes and no! No: in the sense that Jesus is the eternal Son of God who has always existed. There never was a time when he has not existed and there never will be a time when he does not exist
Yes: in the sense that at one particular point in our history, Jesus became a human being. He grew in his mother's womb and became a human baby just like us, with skin and bones, and so God made him in the same way that God made each of us. 

If so how? And why?
Jesus was born on earth so that we could become friends with God. We couldn't get to God, so God comes to us. He came so that we might become like God. It is a bit like swapping coats in the playground. He offers to take on our dirty, messy and torn human-coat, and he offers us his fantastic God-coat.

How do Christians know God has powers?
The most clear way that the power of God was shown was when Jesus was raised from the dead. God has more power than death
I also see God's power at work when I look at a flower, or a mountain or a human person. If God can design and make that, he must have some pretty special powers.
We also sometimes see God's special power when we pray. On one occasion I prayed for a lady who had a bad back. I put my hand on her back and, to my astonishment, felt her back straighten up. She then did some pull ups on the door. But there are many times when God doesn't heal in that way - and in those times we need to trust that God does have the power even if we don't see it.

Why did Jesus bother to help sick people?
Jesus healed sick people because he cared about them, and because sickness should have no part in God's world. But he also heals because he is giving us a glimpse of what it will be like when Jesus comes back and the Kingdom of God is established: then there will be no more sadness, sickness or death. 

How does God heal?
Most of the time God heals through people, doctors and nurses and people who care for us. He heals us through the natural healing processes of the body. Sometimes he heals us in amazing ways that people don't understand - and people will call them miracles. 

Why did God chose Mary?
I don't know. It was not because she was particularly special, pretty or good. She was an ordinary girl from an ordinary town. What does make her special, though, is that she was willing to say 'Yes' to God when God asked her to become the mother of Jesus - even though she knew that it would be very hard and that people would say bad things about her.

How did God make the world? 
I don't know! The bible says that in the beginning there was nothing, and God said 'Let there be light', and there was light. Perhaps that is the big bang that the scientists say everything came from. But perhaps scientists will change their minds and think of some other theory which works better. Most of the time God seems to use the scientific laws of this universe to do his works. Somebody once said that scientists are trying to discover the way that God has worked. 
Does he have a job?
God doesn't have a job. He is absolutely free to do what he wants all the time!! But because God is beautiful and true and good and loving, he delights in making things that are beautiful and true and good and loving. The bible says that when he made us, he looked at us and said 'it is good'. The problem is that we ignore God and live without God - and we look at things that are horrible, false, bad and hateful - and because of that, things have gone bad in us and bad in the world. 

Someone put it this way. Imagine someone loves you. They love you so much that they give you an incredibly precious present - perhaps the most amazing X-box or most beautiful and precious ring. We look at the present that they give us, and we love that present. We spend all our time playing on the X box or showing people our ring, and we completely forget and ignore the person who gave us that present. 

That is why Jesus was born in our world: to tell us that God still loves us even though we have forgotten him and ignored him, and to help us find God.  

Is Jesus married, does he have children? 
No, he didn't marry and he didn't have children. However he does have many brothers and sisters! The bible says that anybody who puts their trust in Jesus and in what he says is a brother or sister to Jesus. He is our older brother. He is the Son of God and we have been adopted into God's family as sons and daughters.
What is his favourite colour and food? 
I wonder whether his favourite colour is blue  - he used so much of it in making this world. 
I suspect his favourite food is fish. He ate fish after he rose from the dead to show his followers that he really was alive. 
What does he look like?
We don't really know what he looked like. There are some people who say that we do have a picture of Jesus which goes back all the way to him, which shows that he has a beard. But I don't know. 

Is Jesus the way of God coming to earth? Or is he God's Son?
Yes, Jesus is God coming to earth.  And Yes, Jesus is God's Son. 

Is Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit the same thing?
This is one of those difficult questions! No they are not the same thing. There is God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit - but there are not three Gods but only one God!

One way of trying to think of it is like this. 
Imagine three people. They are triplets. They are the same age, and they all have the same face. They are the best of friends. They like the same things and they think the same things. They have the same DNA. The thing that each of them most wants is what is best for the other two. But they wear different coloured clothes and do slightly different things. 
Imagine that they are having a group hug. 
You glance at them and all you see is one brightly coloured 'hug'. It is a single unit. But as you look more closely, you see that this bright coloured 'hug' consists of three people in perfect harmony with each other. 
Or maybe you glance at them and you see three people sharing a hug. But then you look again and you see something that is one 'hug'.
[this is far from being a perfect illustration. It is just one way of helping us try and think through the mystery of what Christians call the Trinity - based on a famous icon of the Trinity painted by a man called Rublev]

Who is more inspirational?
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have always existed. There never was a time when they were not. They are all as inspirational as the other. However, the particular work of the Holy Spirit is to come and live in us and inspire us to love God - so I guess we could say that, for us, the Holy Spirit is the most inspirational

What is God like? 
It is impossible for us to know what God is like because he is so much bigger than what we can think. Just as ants cannot imagine what an 8 year old girl is like, so we cannot imagine what God is like. So God became one of us in Jesus. When we look at Jesus we see what God is like: his love, his compassion, his power and the things that make him angry.The amazing thing is that although we can never fully know what God is like, we can begin to get to know God as a friend.

Does he have friends? 
God doesn't need friends because he already is three! But he wants us to be friends with him. 

Is he strong?
Very. We can trust him because there is nothing or nobody that is bigger or stronger than him. 

Is the Holy Spirit real? Who is the Holy Ghost? Who invented him?
Nobody invented the Holy Spirit (the Holy Ghost is another name for the Holy Spirit):  Holy Spirit has always existed along with God the Father and God the Son. Although we cannot see the Holy Spirit, he is completely real. We can ask Holy Spirit to come and live in us. And because wherever Holy Spirit is, there is God the Father and Jesus Christ (think of the 'hug'!), they too will come and live in us. We will become part of God's family and will know that we are beloved children of God, and we will begin to change and become more like Jesus. 

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