There’s nothing quite like conversations with a 4-year-old.
I was putting our youngest son Henry to bed the other night and, as per usual, the routine included reading some stories (as well as requests for a drink, cries for mama, and a need to pee. But I, like he, digress).
We began with Hug-A-Bible, a fur-covered collections of 10 stories meant to remind children of God’s great love of creation.
Let me say here that sometimes I struggle with how to talk to the boys about God. We flipped past a page about Noah, for example, and it talked about God spared Noah, his family and two of each animal, with a nice rainbow to put a bow on it. Of course, it failed to mention the story was about the rest of creation being destroyed by an angry God who was sick and tired of humanity screwing things up. That’s the bit left out in Sunday school.
Henry seemed to get the basic, age-appropriate gist though – God loves him and will always be within and around him.
We turned to a book called That’s Not My Dinosaur. He’s smart enough to dinosaurs don’t exist anymore, and before we were able to turn the first page, he asked me what happened to dinosaurs. I explained they were all gone because a big rock fell from space and caused a “spolsion” (his word, not mine) and now they’re extinct.
That satisfied him for a moment, but maybe the Noah story triggered something because then he asked, “did God not like dinosaurs?”
How does one even begin to answer that?
We already implicitly covered the fact that God (allegedly) got rid of most created beings through the flood, not to mention there are those who believe God sends people to hell for all eternity if they don’t believe in Jesus. Maybe God thought velociraptors were getting too smart for their own good and fossilized them. They can open doors after all, and probably took a bit from that God forsaken apple.
I tried to affirm that God loves all that God created, and sometimes things don’t go as planned (which he’ll learn more about one day when he watches Jurassic Park). I think an all-loving God would have been sad when dinosaurs went extinct, but apart from that instinct, I really didn’t know how to answer.
Instead, I simply blurted out, “that’s not my dinosaur, his back is too scratchy!”
Maybe the best thing I can teach him and his brothers is there are some questions that can’t be answered, and that’s OK.