The Great Creator Sunday School Lesson: Genesis 1
In creation, God has blessed us with a wonderful and amazing world to care for and enjoy. We know that everything around us was made by Him out of His infinite love and wisdom. This lesson reminds us that the Earth did not just randomly spring up out of nowhere or evolve from primordial ooze, but was carefully crafted by our gracious God. When we look at the beauty of His handiwork, it should inspire thanks and awe for what He can do, and for how He has made us, too!
God provides us with all that we need. He has done this from the start of creation by making the world and everything in it. He gave us plants, water, animals, and our own lives! God the Father is maker of Heaven and Earth, and we can remember His glory and greatness whenever we look at His wondrous creation. Although sin has tarnished the design of all things being “good,” we now have the hope of Jesus the Son, who came as Messiah to rescue and redeem us.
Passage: Genesis 1:1-2:4
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Construction paper; glue; markers or crayons; tape; scissors; cups; popsicle sticks; decorative supplies; Play-doh or modeling clay; box, bag, or cover; pictures of nature or examples of things from nature (optional); Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This lesson takes a look at how God made the Earth and everything in it, celebrating the creation story of Genesis. Open with some activities involving nature or creativity. Consider a few simple activities to kick things off:
- Creation charades and/or pictionary: Write down items that would be found in the Genesis account, such as sun, trees, animals, etc. Have students select an item and act it out or draw it for others to guess. You might tell them whether to act or draw, or allow them to choose.
- Shape it: provide students with play-doh or modeling clay, and invite them to mold something from creation. Additionally, you might have them invent their own type of animal and describe it from the molded version.
- Bend it! Challenge students to get extra creative by having them make an animal or tree, using only a string or pipe cleaner!
- Creation days quiz: as a review of the lesson, quiz kids on which day of creation different elements were made. Say a thing (for example, oceans or stars) and have them hold up fingers to indicate where they came in the creation story.
- Creation’s beauty: Look at pictures of different animals, trees or flowers. Have students try to identify what they are, and discuss the things that make them special and unique.
- Take a walk! If weather and timing allow, take a mini “nature hike” near the lesson area, pausing to marvel at the wonderful things that God has made for us to enjoy.
- How does it start? Look at examples of things at their beginning, such as seeds that form plants, or eggs that become animals. Discuss how all things have a start, and the world’s beginning came from God.
Explain to kids that the Bible tells us how God created everything in the world. He loves us and cares for us, and made Earth for us to live in and enjoy.
Bible Lesson: Genesis 1:1-2:4
This passage is from the very beginning of all things, and explains how everything got here! It’s the first part of the Bible, the very first words that tell us how God made things. Have older students take turns reading verses, perhaps going by each day of the creation. It’s a longer passage, so it might help to break it up into sections, perhaps pausing to act things out, draw a picture, or just discuss.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. -Genesis 1:1-5
Note that God existed before everything else came into being. There was nothing but darkness, until God spoke and commanded things into existence. The first thing God made was light. He made day and night, light and darkness.
Ask: Why do you think it’s important to have day and night separated? What would it be like if it was always daytime or night? (People who live in Alaska might experience this at time of the year!)
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. -Genesis 1:6-8
God made water, separating the sky from the water. Water is an essential part of life. We need it to stay healthy, and we need it to make things grow. It’s really rather a remarkable thing when you think about it, and it came from God saying so!
Ask: What do you think might come next after water?
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. -Genesis 1:9-13
Water is vital, but we certainly couldn’t have it everywhere. So God separated the dry land from the water, gathering the seas together as separate from the rest of the Earth. Then He made plants! God was already preparing for the Earth to yield food for us. He made trees that could bear fruit, and He made plants that could give off seeds to make more plants. At that time, things were good and perfect. Plants probably didn’t even have things like painful thorns or poisonous leaves. They were all wonderful!
Ask: What is your favorite plant, flower, or tree? Do you have a garden at home?
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,[f] and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. -Genesis 1:14-19
God next made the sun and the moon. It might seem curious that there was light before there was a sun, but God is the giver of all light, so it’s likely He could create light without stars or electricity. Here, God gave the Earth the moon and sun and stars to help separate the day and night and light and dark. We need the sun to keep life going, and God knew that this would be so. The stars and moon give us light in the night time, too.
Ask: Have you ever looked at the stars at night? What’s so special about them?
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its 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 birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. -Genesis 1:20-23
Next, God made creatures! Animals in the water, and birds for the air. There is a vast abundance of life in the ocean—even more than we know about! It’s an amazing place full of creatures and plants. God made each and every one of them, from the tiny plankton to the massive blue whale. As different as winged creatures are, He made those, too!
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1:24-25
God made all of the animals on land, too. He made cows, sheep, cats, goats, giraffes, all creatures. And He again said that it was good, that the animals He made where a positive addition to creation. Before sin entered the world, it’s likely that these animals would not have tried to attack or viciously harm. They could all go in a petting zoo!
Ask: What is your favorite animal? If you could have any animal for a pet, what would you choose?
Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. -Genesis 1:26-31
God saved the best for last. He made people as the crowning achievement, the most important part of creation. He made people in His image, special and unique. Animals and plants don’t talk or have souls like humans do. God put people in charge of everything else. He commanded them to grow things, and to have dominion over plants and animals. Spoiler alert: there are some complications on the horizon…but at the outset, all God made was good!
Ask: Why are people so unique and special?
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. -Genesis 2:1-3
The last thing God did was take a break! Now, He’s God, so it isn’t as though He needed a nap. But He rested on the seventh day, making a sabbath holy. In doing so, He gave us an example and instruction to set aside one day a week to be special. We can honor God by keeping a sabbath day for rest, church, and re-charging for each new week.
God sure did a lot of amazing things in creation! He gave us the Earth to live in and enjoy. He provided all that we would need for life and sustenance. When we gaze upon the splendor of His creation, we can give thanks to Him for His great glory and might, and rejoice that He has given us such a wonderful world!
Ask: What makes you think of God and rejoice? What parts of nature do you like?
Close with prayer, thanking God for giving us the world and providing a place for us to live and work.