Grades 3-6 Sunday School Lesson
Beginning at the Beginning
Lesson 1: Creation
Author’s Notes: At the start of a new year, and the start of a new lesson series, what better place is there to begin than at the beginning? Our new series will take us from Genesis to Revelation, hitting many major Biblical highlights along the way. We’ll begin “in the beginning” with the Biblical account of Creation. And in the weeks following, we’ll see that the Bible is full of new beginnings… right up to the beginning of a new Heaven and earth in Revelation. So let’s begin!
In nearly every culture and religion in the world, we can find a story of how the world began. Fanciful stories have been passed down from one generation to the next. But each was started with the idea of a man who invented his own version of how things began.
Many scientists even have their own version of how our universe came into existence. Some claim that it all happened quite by chance – that there was a big explosion that set the universe into motion. And that everything we see on earth today just evolved over time from that first big bang.
But those of us who believe in the God of the Bible have been given a very special gift. God has put the account of His creation of our universe into the written Word that He has given us. The Bible tells us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (2 Timothy 3:16) That literally means the Bible was “God-breathed!” The words in our Bible are not made up by the men who wrote them down. They wrote the things that God told them to.
And one of the things God told them to write was the account of Creation. We can find it right in the beginning of the Bible. In fact, those words, “in the beginning,” are the very way our Bible starts. So that will be our memory verse for this week, as we begin at the beginning to see how our universe was made. And in the weeks to come, we’ll continue moving through the Bible, discovering many new beginnings along the way.
So now, let’s begin in the beginning…
Memory verse: (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves. And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.)
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
Opening prayer: Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today. And thank You for Your Word, The Bible, where we can learn new truths about You, and Your plans and new beginnings for us. Help each one of us here, today, to be attentive to what You would have us learn. Give us open ears and hearts, ready to listen to Your words. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: Creation (Genesis 1-2)
We just learned the very first verse that God chose to place in His holy Word, the Bible. When He decided where to start, He started at the beginning. So that’s where we’re going to start, too. What does our memory verse say? “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
It starts off “In the beginning.” But what beginning is God talking about? He’s taking us all the way back before our earth was created, before there were any planets, moons, or stars. Back to the beginning of time, as we know it.
But there was something, or rather Someone, who did not begin at the beginning. Do you know Who that would be? Let’s say the first four words of our verse together: “In the beginning God...” Genesis 1:1 Who was already there, at the beginning? God was. Deuteronomy 33:27 calls Him “The eternal God.” Does anyone know what the word “eternal” means? It means without beginning or end. The Bible tells us that God was already there in the beginning because He has no beginning or end. And who better to tells us how our world was made than the One who was already there.
So let’s jump right into the rest of Genesis chapter 1, and see what God has to say about the Creation of our Universe.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The most important thing about creation is found right here, in these first couple of verses. The Bible tells us exactly how the earth got here. What does it say? It says “God created the heaven and the earth.” It didn’t just happen by chance. And nobody else was responsible. God Himself was the one who created our world. So let’s see exactly how He did it.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
What was the first thing God made, according to these verses? God made light. And how did He make it? Did He make a little ball of energy and cause it to explode? No. He simply spoke the world into existence. He said, “Let there be…” And there it was; created simply by the power of God’s spoken words.
Then God made a separation between light and darkness. What did God call the time when there was light? Day. And what was the dark time called? Night. And that’s the way it is to this day. We have daytime and nighttime, divided by the light in the sky. So not only was this first day of creation the beginning of light and darkness; it was also the beginning of time. We now had a period of time called a “day” where the light shone for a time, followed by a time of darkness. “The first day.”
Let’s see what came next.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
If we look back in the second verse, we’ll see that when God first made the earth, it didn’t look like it does today. Verse 2 says it was “without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The earth was originally covered with water and surrounded by water. But on the second day of creation, God made a “firmament.” It separated the water on the earth from the water in the sky. Things were beginning to take a new shape.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
What did God do with all that water on earth, on the third day? He gathered it together in one place, so dry land would appear where the water had once been. He even had a word for the watery gathering. He called it “seas.” And what did He call the dry land that appeared? God called it Earth.
And what did God think of what He had done so far? He “saw that it was good.” We’re going to see next week that things didn’t always stay good. Sin would later creep in, and corrupt God’s perfect creation. But until then, all that God made was perfect. It was good!
So now the earth had both land and seas. But God wasn’t finished for the day.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
God did lots of things on that third day. He gathered the water together, revealing dry land. Then what did He do with the dry land? He made it produce all kinds of plants like flowers, and grass, and trees. And what was special about these new things God had made? What was inside each of them? They all had seeds, so they could reproduce themselves. God had thought of everything! And on He went, to day four.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
God had already created light, back on the first day. But on the fourth day, He made the sun, moon, and stars. Not only would they make clear when it was day and night, but they would also be useful in determining the length of days and seasons. God also said these heavenly bodies would be useful as signs. And especially before we had modern ways of finding our direction, the sun during the day and the stars at night were very useful for travelers to find their way. Do you remember the story of how the Wise Men found the baby Jesus? What did they follow to find Him? They followed a star!
So let’s take a moment to review. Who made the world? God did! And how did He do it? He simply spoke the words, and things appeared just as He said. And what did God think of His creation? He said, “that it was good.” On day one, He brought light to the world. Day two, He separated the waters, leaving the firmament between the water on the earth and the water in the sky. Day three, God gathered the water into a big sea, revealing dry ground. Then, He made plants to grow on that dry ground. And day four, God put the sun, moon, and stars in the sky.
Are you ready for day 5? We now have dry land and the sea. What do you think will come next?
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
So what did God create on the fifth day? He made the birds that fly through the skies, and all the animals that live in the water. God also had a plan for the birds and fish. What were they supposed to do? God said they were to be fruitful and multiply. Just as He had made plants that could reproduce themselves, God made animals that could do the same. He wanted this new earth to be full of the plants and animals that He had created. And there were more animals on the way. On to day six…
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
What did God create on the sixth day? He made the animals we find on the land - big animals and little ones, animals that run, and those that creep. All the land animals were created on the sixth day.
This was the final day of Creation. But God wasn’t quite finished, yet. He had one more very special creation on the way. And this final one would be created very differently from the others. Let’s listen to what God was thinking as He neared the end of His week of Creation.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
What very special creation did God save for last? The last thing He created was man. And what made man different from the animals God had created? God chose to make man in His own image. We were made to be like Him. And we were also made to have dominion, or rule, over the animals. And if we jump ahead to Genesis 2, we’ll see there was even more about the way God made us that was special.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
In this verse, we find two more ways that man was created differently from the animals. What are they? First, God didn’t make man just by speaking the words, as He did with the rest of creation. How did He make man? God Himself, formed us out of the dust of the ground. He added a very personal touch to the way we were made. In fact, the word used for “form” literally means He squeezed us into shape, much like a potter would do when making something out of clay.
Then, when it came time to make a woman, God did something new again.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Genesis 2:21-22
Instead of making a woman out of the earth, like man was, what did God use to make the first woman? He used one of the man’s ribs. She actually came from part of the man. Then God called the man “Adam.” And Adam called his wife “Eve.”
And let’s not miss the other significant difference we find at the end of Genesis 2:7. It said God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Nowhere do we find that animals have souls like man does. God created us with souls so we could have a personal relationship and live eternally with Him. That makes us pretty special in God’s eyes. We were the exclamation point at the end of His Creation.
But God didn’t create us just to look good. He had a few jobs for us to do; and we find them just before the end of the sixth day.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Our first responsibility as mankind was much like that of plants and animals. God told Adam and Eve that they were to “be fruitful, and multiply” and fill the earth. God wanted them to be a family, and have children who could then have their own children, and so on, so the earth would soon be full of people to love and worship God.
Adam and Eve’s other job was to “subdue” the earth. That means they were to have the land and animals under their control. God had given them everything they needed to live in the world He had created for them. But it would be Adam and Eve’s job to take care of that world. We’ll see next week that, in time, this job became much harder; not because God didn’t make it right. Remember, God looked at all He had made, and it was good.
But sin will enter the picture in next week’s lesson. And sin takes what God has made, and spoils it. Thankfully, God is greater than anyone or anything else, including sin. So we’ll also see, next week, that while Satan had a plan to ruin man, God had a bigger plan to save us! And that’s what His Word, the Bible, is all about. It’s God’s letter to us, sharing with us His plan for how things were, how they are, and how they will be.
And that’s what we’ll be studying this year. We’ll be going through the Bible learning about how things were in Bible times, and what God’s plan was for the people He had created. We’ll also apply the things we learn to how things are now…in our own lives. And before we’re done, we’ll see what God has promised will be in the future.
But all of the lessons and promises in God’s Word depend on your personal relationship with Him. Remember, that’s what He created us for. That’s why He breathed into us the breath of life – so we could come to know Him and love Him. So my question for you, as we begin this new lesson series in this brand new year, is this: do you know your Creator? Do you have a personal relationship with Him, where He lives in your heart and leads you and guides you every day?
If not, what better way could there be to start off the new year than to give your heart and life to Jesus; and begin that relationship with Him that He’s been waiting for. Then, it would truly be a happy new year!
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your holy Word, the Bible. And for all it teaches us about where we came from, and why we are here on earth. Help us to remember that You have made us in a very special way so that we can have a relationship with You. If there’s anyone here, today, who does not know You as their Lord and Savior, please open their hearts to Your call, today. For we ask in Jesus’ name, amen.
Activity: (Review Questions)
Fill in the Blanks
1. In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
2. God made plants, animals, and people that could be fruitful, and multiply.
3. God Himself formed man/Adam from the dust of the ground.
4. God formed Eve from Adam’s rib.
5. God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils, and he became a living soul.
True or False
1. God created the world simply by speaking. (true)
2. God made a ball of energy that exploded into the universe we have now. (false – God created our world just as Genesis describes it)
3. God made animals and people exactly the same way. (false – there were many differences)
4. God gave man dominion over the land and animals. (true)
5. God saw that everything He made was good. (true)
The first day, God created light
And separated day from night.
The second day, the waters split.
God called that space the firmament.
God gathered the water on day three,
And called those gathered waters “sea.”
And when He did, there was dry land.
God called it “Earth,” on which we stand.
Then on that earth, God caused to grow
The flowers and trees, with seeds to sow.
God looked around at all that stood,
And noted that it all was good.
Day four there came the sun and moon.
The other stars came that day, too.
Then on day five came things that fly,
As well as those that might swim by.
Day six God made the creeping things,
And animals that run and swing.
Then from the ground, God formed a man.
That’s how the Universe began.
Then on the last and seventh day
God rested from the work He’d made.
He’d done it as only He could;,
And He declared it all was good!
“And God saw every thing that he had made,
and, behold, it was very good.”