Scripture Reference: Genesis 1: 1-5
Suggested Emphasis or Theme: There was nothing—not even light—until God created it on the first day of creation.
Memory Verse: “In the beginning God created the sky and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, ICB)
God created our world. Until this time, the earth was “formless and empty”. Darkness was everywhere. There is so much that we cannot comprehend about the way that our world came into existence but in Genesis God reveals what He wants us to know: He created. On the first day of creation, God spoke and light appeared. This is not the light of the sun (created on the fourth day) but a special light from a source only God knew.
God created the world. Everything was dark until He made light shine in the darkness. The early earth was without form until the Spirit of God acted. It was also dark, for there was no light until God created it. When God spoke the command, there was light. Then God separated the light and the dark and called them day and night. Not until later did He create the sun, moon, and stars and set up the seasons, days, and years, beginning time as we know it. The first day’s light may have come from a source known only by God because no specific light sources are mentioned until the fourth day.
Almost without exception, children in your classes will have been exposed to at least one view of how the world has come to be. Movies and television programming for even the very youngest children often suggest or blatantly express that our world is billions of years old and evolved over time. Not all people who believe in the God of creation agree on some of the most basic ideas. There is much controversy over the details of Genesis chapters 1-2. One reason for this is that Genesis is not a scientific explanation of how God did His work. God does not choose to tell us HOW it was done. However, the Bible leaves no doubt about WHO did it: “In the beginning God created. . .” Our world did not come about because of an accidental set of circumstances. God planned His work and then created the earth in an orderly way. Each day is built upon the day before.
Often children ask for more details about how God created the world. They (and we) find it difficult to comprehend how God could not have an “age”, how God could have always existed even before the earth took form. Answer the questions that you can but be sure to share your own awe of the creation with the children. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you do not understand exactly how it all can be so because it is all so incredible. Let them know it is alright if we don’t have all the answers. The important thing is that we know that GOD KNEW what He was doing. He is awesome and all-powerful. (Job 36:26)
God created light, and it was good. He established a cycle of light and darkness that would be healthy for all of the things He would create in the next few days. By the time man was created on the 6th day, there was an established daytime for waking activities and nighttime for rest.
Without God, the world was in darkness. This is both physically true (as in the creation of light) and spiritually true as light represents our salvation from a lost existence in darkness.
What else does the Bible have to say about light?
- God is light, and we walk in that light: 1 John 1:5-9
- Jesus is light: John 8:12
- God’s Word is light: Psalm 119:105
- Our good deeds are lights that enable others to see God: Matthew 5:14-16
- God’s light means I do not fear: Psalm 27:1
Way to Introduce the Story:
“Everyone close your eyes and lay your head on the desk. Make sure that you cannot see anything—not even light. Now I want us all to imagine what it would be like if this is all that we could see. What if you opened your eyes and you still couldn’t see anything? What if it was because there was nothing there? Did you know that there was nothing a long time ago? No trees, people, buildings, or even sound or smell?
That is what it was like before God decided to make our world. God created our whole world in six days. He made something different on each of the six days, and then on the seventh day, God rested. Does anyone want to guess what God made on the first day of creation? If everyone opens their eyes now, they will be able to notice one of the things God made on the first day of creation. If you kept your eyes shut the whole time I was talking, then your eyes will really be able to feel what God made on the first day (because our eyes are used to the dark). LIGHT. God made light! This was a very good thing to do first. All right, let’s learn more about the first week of creation.”
*Note to Teacher: Before you begin telling this story, open your bible to the beginning of Genesis and show that the words of this verse, Genesis 1:1, are the very first ones in the bible.
“In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth.” You may think of number one as the beginning. But God existed even before the first day of our world.
Let’s imagine what it would be like if we were deep inside a cave under the ground. Sunshine could not get into the cave. Imagine we did not have a torch (flashlight), mobile phone, watch, or candle to shine the light. Imagine there was no electricity in the cave. Nothing that could add light to the darkness.
If there is no light, then we see nothing. We could hold our hands in front of our faces but not even see our hands. That is what it would be like if there was no light.
Before God created our world, there was no light. Actually, there was nothing. There was nothing to see because absolutely nothing was there. Before God created our world, nothing existed except for God.
The Bible says: “The earth was empty and had no form”.
And then…something amazing happened. Something that only God has the power to do. God took nothing and began creating our world.
God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light.
Isn’t it amazing? Then with only spoken words, He created light. Can you make light just by saying, “Let there be light”? Of course not! But God can.
“God saw that the light was good. So he divided the light from the darkness. God named the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Evening passed, and morning came. This was the first day.” Genesis 1:4-5 (ICB)
God made light before anything else. Light is very important.
Understanding light helps us understand God. We can read these words about God in the Bible.
“Here is the message we have heard from God and now tell to you: God is light, and in him, there is no darkness at all.
So if we say that we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, then we are liars. We do not follow the truth.
God is in the light. We should live in the light, too. If we live in the light, we share fellowship with each other.
And when we live in the light, the blood of the death of Jesus, God’s Son, is making us clean from every sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 (ICB)
Light is also important because it helps us understand Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. The person who follows me will never live in darkness. He will have the light that gives life.” John 8:12b (ICB)
Did you know that God’s Word is like a light? It is like a light that helps us know the best way to go. “Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my way.” Psalm 119:105 (ICB)
And there is one other important thing that we should understand about light. We are lights!
“You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don’t hide a light under a bowl. They put the light on a lampstand. Then the light shines for all the people in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do. Live so that they will praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (ICB)
We do not like to be in the dark. God knew that light would be a very important part of our world. In fact, we can be thankful for light every single day of our lives.
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Each teacher is unique, so only use the illustrations that best relate to how YOU tell the story in THIS lesson. Too many illustrations can be confusing, so eliminate any that cover other stories or details you do not wish to emphasise in this lesson.
Additional Visual Aids that Cover All Seven Days of Creation
If teaching the story of the creation as a unit over a few weeks or days, repeat the whole story each time and follow this by going back and emphasising more details about a particular day. Try using a variety of storytelling and visual aid methods. Although there will be a repetition of the creation story, you will be going a little deeper on this particular day, “Day 1”. By the end of Day 7, all the children will remember the story well.
What did God create on the first day? Light
Quote Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth.” (ICB)
How did God create each thing? He spoke, and it appeared.
What does the word create mean? To cause something to exist.
What does the word Genesis mean? Beginning
- Creation Song (Emphasis on Day One Part)
- He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands Song
- Hippo Song
- My God is So Big Song
- This Little Light of Mine
- Refer to the Song Page on this website for more options.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
Do science experiments concerning light.
Look at a light through a prism.
If your classroom is dark enough, it would be fun to bring a blacklight and let the children enjoy how various items glow.
Younger children can act out going to sleep at night and waking up during the day.
Act out daytime activities and discuss night activities. Some people work night and day (firemen, doctors, etc.)
Blindfold a volunteer and then use a few chairs to form an “obstacle course.” Let the children guide the blindfolded child through the course.
Play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” or a bible related adaptation of the game (Put the Sticker on the Bible, for example).
Serve snacks. Use black and yellow serviettes (napkins) for dark and light.
Creation Mural: Attach a long strip of paper to the wall and divide it into seven sections for the days of creation. As the children study each day of creation, glue items or paint pictures onto the corresponding section of the mural. For today’s lesson, tear off little pieces of yellow and black paper and glue to the first part of the mural.
Bring a bowl to class. As you talk about God creating the world, tell the students that you are going to give them what God started out with when He created the world. Pretend that you are handing them something from the bowl. “Now let’s see if you can create something from nothing as God did. When we create a picture we use paints, pencils, and paper but God created the world from nothing.”
Memorise today’s memory verse. Click here for ideas to help children memorise scripture.
- Use the Inductive Bible Study method to explore other verses about light:
Supply each child with a black and yellow piece of paper. Instruct them to cut pictures out of magazines and glue pictures of daytime activities on the yellow paper and night activities on the black ones.
Use bright yellow and/or white tempera paint to paint splotches on black paper. Title the paper: “God made light.”
- Use bright yellow or white tempera paint and have children make white hand-prints on black paper.
- Print bookmarks, trading cards or timelines (printable pages).
Visit the Teaching Ideas page for additional activities and crafts.
Other Online Resources:
Individual Days of Creation:
(Click on the individual days. Each number is an additional lesson)
Scriptures quoted from the International Children’s Bible®, copyright ©1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson. Used by permission.