We were driving along, the family and I, when the discussion somehow transitioned into a question from my son, Ethan: “Dad, is there a word for all of the ‘omnis’ associated with God?”
Now please be aware that, though that is an important and an amazing question, our family really isn’t that intellectual. In fact, I am pretty sure that the previous chatter included movie storylines, a question about lunch, and a smidgen of gossip. How did we get to theology? Your guess is as good as mine. Anyway, there it was, a very big question.
If your family is similar to mine then you know what happened next. Even though the question had been specifically directed to me, I didn’t have a prayer of answering first.
“Omnipresence means that God is everywhere.” Another child offered.
“Dad, does that mean that we are inside God?” another asked.
“Is everything inside God?” A fourth question and still I had not been given the floor.
“Does the Bible include all of the alls somewhere?”
We are on question number five now and, to tell you the truth, I was allowing this impromptu seminary class discussion to run on while I searched my mind, hoping that my theological training would kick-in.
“Well” I started, “Before Moses left to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt, he told God that the leaders would be asking who sent him. Moses needed to know God’s name so that he would have an answer. God said, “I Am Who I Am.” The van was quiet, so I took advantage of this miracle and continued, “So, when we talk about the omnis of God: all-power, all-knowing, and all-present, they are all assumed in God being: “I Am.”
The answer was sufficient as it was true and was received well by my personal congregation as we flew down the highway towards the local Cracker Barrel.
“Then is everything God?” asked our youngest.
“I would not say that God is everything but that He inhabits everything” Ethan offered.
Oh boy, this is the best of signs that the subject material is being processed rather than just accepted and then summarily forgotten. More questions reveal existing tension that when resolved by truth is “owned” by the individual or by the group, rather than just believed because it was told to you.
I clarified, “A good way of starting to understand how God is everywhere is to understand that there is a spiritual dimension as well as a physical dimension and that the physical was produced by the spiritual. The physical “came out of” the spiritual. Does that make sense?”
Looking back through the rear-view mirror I saw the inquirer nodding. As his head went up and down I switched on the van’s turning signal alerting everyone that we had reached our desired exit. Fried chicken, roast beef, Reuben sandwiches and breakfast served all day invaded our thoughts. Soon we would be sitting down to a table full of individually ordered delicacies, bowing our heads and publicly thanking the One in whom we live and move and have our being.
Have a story of a great conversation turned teaching moment with your kids? Share it with us in the comments below!