Creation stories are an essential part of civilizations. Every human culture tries to explain how the observable world came to be. And no one really knows how the universe and the world were created. Science has given us highly plausible theories backed up by evidence. As people of faith, we seek to find God in the mix. By going back to the beginning of the Bible, we can discover two poetic creation stories that point to how God relates to all that we see. While these stories don’t give us scientific evidence, they do reflect a sense of divine love so strong that it can’t help but manifest and connect with its creation. In this lesson, children will explore the first creation story in Genesis 1 and 2 and will consider what it tells us about God’s love for the natural world and humanity.
You will need:
- A Bible
- Modeling clay or playdoh or copies of a pictorial representation of Genesis 1:1-2:4, crayons/markers and scissors or banner/roll paper, old science or nature magazines such as National Geographic or Ranger Rick, scissors and glue
Greet the children as they arrive.
When the children are settled, ask:
- Has anyone ever told you the story of your birth?
- What have they said?
- How does your birth story make you feel?
- What, if anything, does it say about who you are as a person?
Exploring the passage
Say a prayer.
Provide context for the lectionary reading (Genesis 1:1-2:4):
- This reading comes from the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
- The story recounts the creation of the world. There are actually two versions of the creation of the world in Genesis.
- This story isn’t intended to be a science text. It is not giving factual information about how the world and all its inhabitants were created. Rather, it provides insight into the way God sees nature and human beings
Read aloud Genesis 1:1-2:4. Because this is a long reading, you may choose to use a children’s Bible retelling of the story because these tend to be more succinct.
After reading, ask the children:
- What did you notice about God’s reaction to each part of creation coming into being?
- According to the story, how are human beings different than animals and plants?
- Why do you think that God chose for human beings to be made in God’s image?
- What do you think it means for human beings to have “dominion” or “responsibility” for all of the animals and plants on Earth?
Relating the passage to our lives
Help the children connect the scripture reading to their own lives through one or more of these activities.
- The “other” creation story: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a Bible and modeling clay or playdoh. Tell the children that there are two versions of the creation story in the Bible. They were very likely written at different times. Give each child some modeling clay or playdoh. As you read Genesis 2:4-25, encourage the children to “play” with the story by shaping the clay/playdoh into figures from the story. After sharing the story, have them reflect on the differences between this telling and the one they heard earlier in the lesson.
- Changing up the story: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: copies of a pictorial representation of Genesis 1:1-2:4 where each day is depicted separately, crayons or markers and scissors. Provide each child with a copy of the creation story sheet. Ask them to color the images on the page. Then, provide them with scissors and ask them to cut out each day and place them on the table in front of them in order. Then, have the children play with the order of the days. Ask them to rearrange the days. Discuss how this affects the story. Have them remove one of the days. How does this affect the story?
- Creation collage: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: banner/roll paper, old science or nature magazines such as National Geographic or Ranger Rick, scissors and glue. Lay out a long sheet of banner or roll paper. Ask the children to browse the magazines looking for images of items mentioned in the creation story. As they find pictures, they should cut them out of the magazines. Have the children organize the images into categories (ex. sea creatures, plants that bear fruit, etc.) and then ask them to glue them on the banner paper. Discuss the diversity and vastness of creation.
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