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)
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 to 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. It was not until later that He created the sun, moon, and stars, and set up the seasons, days, and years, beginning time as we know it. The light of the first day 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 the even the very youngest children often suggests or blatantly expresses the idea that our world is millions of years old and that it 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 because Genesis does not give detailed scientific explanation of how God did His work. God does not choose to tell us exactly 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 built upon the day before.
Often children ask for more details of 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 that it is alright if we don’t have all of 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 night time 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 happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
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 a long, long time ago there was nothing? No trees, no people, no buildings, not 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 will open 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 make first. All right, let’s learn more about the first week of creation.”
(Open your bible to the beginning of Genesis and show that today’s story is the very first one in the bible. Before this there was nothing.)
What would it be like if you were in an empty room with no windows or doors and no light could get inside. If it is truly dark, then you should see nothing.
Before God created our world there was nothing to see because absolutely nothing was there. Before Creation, nothing existed except God. Then God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was empty and had no form. Darkness covered the ocean, and God’s Spirit was moving over the water. Genesis 1:2 (ICB)
And then…something amazing happened. Something that no human being could ever do. God took nothing and began creating our world.
Then God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. Genesis 1:3 (ICB)
Isn’t it amazing? Then with only spoken words He created light. Can you make light just by saying, “Let there be light”? No, but God can.
(Take time to explain the word “create”- (to cause to exist). Possibly have older children look it up in the dictionary.)
Ways to Tell the Story:
If teaching the story of the creation as a unit over a few weeks or days then repeat the whole creation story each time and follow this by going back and emphasising more details about a particular day. Try using a variety of story telling and visual aid methods. Although there will be a repetition of the creation story, you will be going a little deeper on one day. By the end of Day Seven all of the children will remember the story really well.
Two versions of the same slide show and visual aid are provided below.
Click here to download the slideshow: God Created the World or click here to download the pictures to print: God Created the World. Each teacher is unique so only use the illustrations that best relate to the way YOU are telling 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.
What did God create on the first day? Light
Quote Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (NIV)
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
Learning Activities and Crafts:
Do science experiments concerning light.
Look at light through a prism.
If your classroom is dark enough it would be fun to bring a blacklight to class and let the children enjoy how various items glow in the dark.
Younger children can act out going to sleep at night and waking up in 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 7 sections for the days or 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 like 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.
- Songs: Creation Song, Hippo Song, My God is So Big
Supply each child with a black and a 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 one.
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. God Made Light.
Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
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.