Why Can’t we see God? (3-year-old theology)

Kids are amazing for questions! Of course, there is a resounding “why?” that pops up in every single conversation that we have about anything, but I’ve been struck by how many insightful questions my 3-year-old daughter has asked about God and life.

Another question she asked me recently…

Why can’t we see God?

Good question! (I always like to start with that, it helps her know that asking questions is always a good idea).But she’s got a point—I often have thought myself that life and faith may be much easier if God were simply here in the flesh, and we could just see him, talk to him and touch him as you would any other person. And as it happens, it was like that at one point.

Jesus came to the earth as a man and was here physically to talk to people. How did that go? To start off, only a few people could talk with him at a time (not the whole world), people basically didn’t listen to or understand a lot of what he said till he was gone, and we ended up crucifying him. So maybe that isn’t the answer…?

What I think we need to understand ourselves and try to convey to our kids is that God’s Spirit is with us all the time. Not only that, but he lives in us if we give our lives to Jesus. So God is even closer than he would be if we could see him like the disciples saw Jesus!

So how did I answer my daughter? “Good question dear. God’s Spirit is always with us, and he’s everywhere, even though we can’t see him. It’s kind of like how you can’t see the wind. Can you feel this? [blow on her face, she nods] But you can’t see the air that I blow on you, can you? Even though we see lots of things, we can’t see everything with our eyes. And so we know that God is here, even though we can’t see him!”

That has so far answered her question. Of course, you might astutely say, “But how can we be sure he’s there even if we can’t see him?” It’s a more complicated question for sure, but I don’t have time to explain that in the two minutes before she’s meant to go to sleep. But no doubt, I’m more than happy to answer that one for her when she’s ready to ask!


Malcolm Purdey is a Christian, husband, father, student minister and science nerd. He completed a PhD in Chemistry and worked as a research scientist before making the jump into ministry in early 2017. He has been married for 5 years and has two daughters aged 3 and 1.

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