My oldest son knows a lot about Jesus. He knows a lot about the Church and the sacraments and about grace and about God’s love. He doesn’t know very much about sin. For mostly good reasons, I believe, I’ve been putting off that topic for quite awhile.

But I’ve been getting more and more questions about “bad things” and “why they happen” and why people “do” them. He knows that there is evil in the world, and he’s starting to need some answers. So I researched and bought him the best children’s Bible story collection I could find.

We began with creation. He was so enthralled and excited. Every time we’d finish a chapter he’d ask, what are we gonna read next?? What’s God gonna make next?? My heart sank after we finished the creation of man and I started into the gentlest version of the forbidden apple story that I could muster.

I hadn’t gotten to the worst part when Joseph stopped me, don’t read anymore. I don’t want to hear it. I quickly responded, but Joseph, we have to read about how they messed up— how they sinned— to understand how God forgave them and helped them and saved them.

He looked back at me sternly, No. I don’t want to read about sin. I don’t want to read any sin stories.

Well, he’s totally soured on the Bible story book, and I’m trying to figure out what to do about it. Because I get it. I don’t want to read sin stories either.

The problem of pain is a big one: Why does God allow us to suffer? But I think the problem of evil is even bigger: Why in the world does God allow us to sin? It has never made sense to me. I understand that the choice to do evil is implicit in the context of free will. But why not make us so good that we have no desire or capacity to make that choice?

I have read and heard many philosophical answers and appreciate them, but I feel like there’s some part of the problem that logic just can’t address. So I wrote a story— a story about Adam and Eve— a story about Cain and Abel— a story about Lucifer. I wrote a story so I could try to get inside their heads and feel what they might have felt— what we all feel—why we sin. And why a loving Father could allow it.

sons of God is a short novella and it can be purchased here on Kindle. Please share it if you like it. But please don’t share it with Joseph. At least, not yet.