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To be a parent, you apparently need to be a theologian if you want to be able to answer the questions your kids have. Because as it turns out the faith of a child is a faith that asks every difficult theological question possible.

Dad, why did God create Satan if he knew Satan would turn out evil?

That’s a question I’ve been asked. And they don’t get easier. 

As parents, we need to know theology and Scripture to guide the minds and hearts of our children. 

Lest I am misunderstood, no, parents do not need a theology degree or be to a church theologian with all the traditional implications. What I mean is that we need to think about who God is, who we are, and what the Bible says about both, so that we can help our children love God with their minds and hearts. 

As I talk to or hear younger people communicate, I see people who want to know more about God, about Christianity, and about what it all means. And in a world in which Christian norms are no longer the norm, we need to justify, explain, and contemplate the reasons and purposes of almost everything. 

What is sex? What is gender? What is good? Are phones good? Are all sexual acts good? Are we given our purpose in life, or do we find it? Do we discover or create our purpose? Why does the sun rise? Or actually, should we say instead that the earth rotates and it only appears like the sun rises? What is abortion? Is it wrong? Is it right? When? How?

What is evil? Why is there so much sexual malfeasance? Why do churches sometimes rule over people as tyrants; why do other churches make you feel the presence of the Spirit of Jesus? 

Parents must know not only the answer to these questions but the reasons why we answer in the way we do and the purpose of all these things—what is sex for, just to ask one question. 

Let me cite an example to explain why this is so important. We laugh at the virtue of chastity. Yet chastity flows out of a temperament or self-control; chastity is the virtue by which we views other not for unlawful, exploitative sexual acts. Instead, chastity means we exercise self-control over our lusts and desires to treat other people as humans, not as sexual objects. 

In other words, the virtue we mock as archaic is the very virtue we lack in a society in which recorded sexual-violence has risen to shocking heights. 

Further, parents need to know how younger people communicate (and how we do). Reasoned discourse and ideas within narratives rarely persuade anymore. Communication is like a meme—an anonymous idea transformed, mutated, and shared. Nobody knows where the idea comes from (so no narrative), and the meme has no argument except for the affective gut punch it gives. It draws on our affections, not our reason. Therefore, reasoned discourse is not the main way we communicate. 

TikTok, Memes, fast-paced work, gamifying education, the drive to optimize everything, even ourselves—all of these pressures make us basically machines. The reflective faculty (reason) gets left behind. We don’t reflect. We react. 

All this to say, if we expect other people to win the hearts and minds of our children to the Lord, we might be disappointed. We need to create and cultivate places and times for our children to slow down, use the reflective faculty of reason, and think of ourselves within the narrative of God’s grand and fatherly Providence. 

Our children need us. They don’t need more fast, cheap answers. They need deep, reflective answers. They need us to teach their minds, hearts, and affections to reflect on the truth with their whole body—not just their affections but also their minds. 

When your four-year-old asks, why did God create Satan if God knew Satan would be bad, what will you say? Will you give a TikTok answer? God knows better than me! Or will you sit down for 10 minutes, listen carefully to your child, and reflect on what the Bible has to say on this matter? The second will teach them a skill for a lifetime. The first will continue to feed meme-learning and TikTok discourse. 

God told Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4–7: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

It is not a mild suggestion I am offering here. We should be parents who teach God’s truth diligently to [our] children. A single parent, a new Christian, and whomever else can do this because it’s not the amount you know but about the amount of moments you dedicate to this purpose.

It might be seven minutes a day as you cuddle your little one to sleep and talk to her about the goodness of God and his lovingkindness for us made flesh—Christ. It’s possible. And by relying on God’s grace (not our own strength), we can teach God’s word diligently to our children to help them face a post-Christian world in which moral norms are no longer Christian norms.