Questions About Man:
- Q: Who were our first parents?
- A: Adam and Eve.
- Q: Of what were our first parents made?
- A: God made the body of Adam out of the ground, and formed Eve from the body of Adam.
These two questions teach us that God made Adam and Eve directly and that he made them different from the animals. Our children will no doubt encounter and at some time be pressed to believe in the theory of evolution. From the earliest age, we want them to know that the Bible contains a different and more compelling account of the origin of human beings. We were created directly by God himself. By asking questions specifically about Adam and Eve, we affirm that they are real, historical persons.
- Q: What did God give Adam and Eve besides bodies?
- A: He gave them souls that could never die.
- Q: Have you a soul as well as a body?
- A: Yes. The Bible teaches me that I have a soul that can never die.
While it is important to teach our children that God made Adam and Eve, we also need to make sure that they understand that we, like them, are made in the image of God. This is why Questions 17 and 18 call them our “first parents.” Like them we have souls that will endure beyond the death of our bodies.
- Q: In what condition did God make Adam and Eve?
- A: He made them holy and happy.
- Q: Did Adam and Eve stay holy and happy?
- A: No. They sinned against God.
Three truths are taught in these questions. First, God made Adam and Eve holy. They were different from the rest of creation and set apart for the worship of God. Second, God made them happy. Holiness is not opposed to happiness; Adam and Eve’s happiness was bound up in their holiness. God wants us to be happy. He is not a cosmic kill- joy. He wants kids to be happy, but he also knows that he is their greatest source of happiness. Third, sin both destroyed Adam and Eve’s holiness and their happiness. Children need to know that happiness is not found in disobedience to God, but in humble service to him.
Questions About Sin:
- Q: What is sin?
- A: Sin is not glorifying God as we ought.
- Q: What is transgression?
- A: Transgression is sinning by disobeying God's Law.
- Q: What does sin cause?
- A: Sin separates us from God, makes him angry with us, and destroys our happiness.
At this point, your kids have already leaned that to glorify God means to love him and obey him. Now, they can see that anytime we don’t love God with all our hearts or obey his Word completely, we have sinned.
- Q: What was the sin of our first parents?
- A: Eating the forbidden fruit.
- Q: Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit?
- A: Because they did not believe God’s Word.
- Q: Who tempted them to this sin?
- A: The devil tempted Eve, and she gave the fruit to Adam.
It will probably be helpful to read the story of the Fall to your children in Genesis 3 before teaching them these questions the first time. As you begin to read, first ask them, “Who were our first parents?” Then pause during the story and ask them these three questions at the appropriate time. This will help them identify the Serpent as well as help them to connect the things that they are learning with the Bible.
- Q: What happened to our first parents when they sinned?
- A: Instead of being holy and happy, they became sinful and miserable.
Children need to know that God wants them to be happy. God not only wants them to be happy; he wants them to be as happy as they can be! But he also knows that only he can make us maximally happy. Sin, which offers us small, temporary pleasure, robs us of the better pleasure of loving and obeying God.
- Q: What effect did the sin of Adam have on all humanity?
- A: All humanity is born in a state of sin and misery.
- Q: What do we inherit from Adam as a result of this original sin?
- A: A sinful nature.
For younger children, you will probably have to explain what “inherit” means. We get something from someone else. An inheritance is like a special treasure that gets passed down in a family. Unfortunately, our first parents have passed something bad down to us: a sinful nature. The reason we all sin, is because we have sin in our hearts. That’s why temptation is so hard to resist.
- Q: What does every sin deserve?
- A: The anger and judgment of God.
Many people may object to teaching children about the judgment and wrath of God, but it is essential to the Gospel message. If God is not angered by sin and if his righteousness doesn’t demand judgment, then there is no need for the cross. If there is no wrath, there can be no atonement. We do our children and ourselves no favors if we ignore what Jesus and the apostles regularly teach us. The key to helping anyone (including children) to understand God’s anger and judgment properly is to begin with his holiness and his rights over us as our Creator. The catechism does just that, laying the ground work for helping us to explain why sin deserves judgment.
- Q: Do we know what God requires of us?
- A: Yes. He has written his law on our hearts and in the Bible.