Any pointers on how to best explain how Lot's daughters conceived without being married? [Both my girls] asked today and I have no idea where to start with that one. They are quite aware of how babies come out, but not how they get in. They are not making the connection that Lot fathered his (grand)kids, and I'm at a loss as to how to explain it in a G-rated fashion.The portion of Scripture to which this mother is referring is Genesis 19:30-36:
Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.Seeing I had only a few minutes to respond to this mother's query before my next meeting, I replied as follows:
Wow, that's a tough one, only because your girls are so young. However, if they understand how babies come out, that's a start. For instance, do you refer to that as their "private part"? If so, you could say that boys/men have their "private part" too, and it is different from girls/women. You could take them back to Genesis 2:24, how "the man and his wife [Adam and Eve] were both naked and not ashamed." Explain that God made the love between a man and his wife special -- that they can show deep love and affection for each other by being naked together and holding each other close. They become, as it were, "one flesh." When a husband and his wife come together in this way, their private parts are connected, and this is how children are made.
You can tell them that this kind of affection is only for a husband and wife. For it to happen with any other person besides one's spouse is sin -- a violation of God's holy Word. So in discussing the story of Lot, you can tell them that at least two sins occurred: (1) Lot allowed himself to get drunk, which is a sin - see Ephesians 5:18, and (2) Lot's daughters snuck into their father Lot's bed while he was passed out from being drunk, and they got naked with him and made their private parts touch. That's how they ended up having children. But because Lot was their father and not their husband, this was a terrible sin against God and against one another.
Perhaps you can conclude by thanking God for your family, that Daddy and Mommy love each other in this special way, and that's how we had you. Daddy and Mommy love you, too, but in a different way. This pleases God and helps us to have a happy home.
Of course you can tailor this answer to best suit your children, since you know them better than anyone else. But I think this is the general direction that I would go.
If I can be of further help, please let me know. Also, I'd love to hear how things turn out (i.e. how your girls respond once you talk to them about this).
Thanks,After reading my response, this mother expressed her appreciation and recommended that I post this piece of correspondence on my blog site for the purpose of helping other parents that may come across similar issues.
Having done this, I would like to add a few closing thoughts:
- The Bible is not a book of G-rated children's stories. Scripture presents sin in all its vileness, ugliness and filth. Even the best "heroes of the faith" are flawed and in need of redemption.
- When coming across "R-rated" topics in Scripture, don't skip over them, ignore them, or present them as something less or different than what they really are. Remember, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).
- The last point notwithstanding, use tact when teaching your children. Be discerning. After all, there are both "meat" and "milk" appetites when it comes to Scripture. "Solid food is for the mature" (Heb. 5:14; cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-2). Don't give your kids more than they can handle at their level of maturity. Pray for wisdom (James 1:5) and respond accordingly.
- Make a beeline from the text to the gospel. Remember, the Bible is a book about the salvation of God's people through Jesus Christ his Son. Therefore, as John Calvin said, "The scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them." When you encounter any text, ask yourself, "What is the road that leads to Christ?" Take your child down that road.
I wish I would have taken an extra moment in my e-mail to follow through on that fourth point. It is so important. It's not enough to know the stories of the Bible; you've got to be able to connect the dots and see Christ at the heart of it all. Around Christmas, I came across a terrific summary of the story-line of the Bible. I have found it to be a tremendous resource. To read it, click here.
Parents have the weighty responsibility and glorious privilege of teaching their children the Word of God. Though biblical issues can can be incredibly challenging at times, let us resolve:
We will not hide them from [our] children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done . . . that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. - Psalm 78:4, 6-7