This five part series expands on my answer to the question from Children’s Ministry Think Tank #5 on the Ministry-to-Children.com website. In my response to the question:
“How do you teach the doctrine of sin to children without harming their self-esteem? Especially with preschool children, how explicitly do you teach them about their own depravity? How do parents in your ministry respond to these issues?”
I noted five areas I believe children must be taught about sin in order to fully understand the concept. Those were:
- What is sin?
- Where does it come from?
- Who sins?
- What are the consequences of sin?
- What is the solution for sin?
In this installment, we will look teaching kids the answer to the question “Where Does Sin Come From?”
Where does sin come from?
Genesis 3 is very clear that sin and death entered the world through Adam and Eve’s choice to disobey God’s command. This is a great story for kids (complete with a talking snake). Coupled with Genesis 1 which lays out God’s awesome power and plan in creating the whole world, and Genesis 2 which explains how God created us in his image, Genesis 3 provides a great opportunity to talk to kids about how people rebelled against God’s perfect plan and sinned against God. It also gives you a chance to explain that through that sin all kinds of ugly things associated with sin entered the world, and all future human beings were affected by that sin.
This can also be a great lead in to the next truth that they need to learn “who sins.” The story in Genesis 3 tells how sin entered the world, and children can be taught that Adam and Eve’s sin was passed on to their children and their children and so on and so forth all the way down to us today. In that way, sin is like a last name. Kids get their last name from their parents who got it from their parents who got it from their parents and on and on and on. In the same way that you don’t get to choose your last name (you’re just born with) you are also all born with sin, and that sin separates us from God.