Creation: Owls and Octopuses, Panthers and People
- Describe how God created each part of the world on days 5-6.
- Praise God as creator of the world and everything in it.
- Wonder at the beauty and variety of God's creation.
- Name a part of God's creation for which they will thank God.
Make sure to first read the general background material on Genesis 1 in the previous session. It's very clear that this story of creation moves toward a culmination, the creation of human beings, male and female. It's also interesting to note that with the creation of the animals God issues a blessing for the first time (v. 22). Virtually the same blessing is repeated at the creation of human beings (v. 28), and land animals are included in the blessing on human beings. This could be a basis for encouraging the children to respect and deal gently with all their fellow living creatures as well as to care for them.
With the creation of human beings something brand-new is added to this great creation poem. Humanity is created in God's image. What does this mean?
- Humans have a direct relationship with God: they can listen to God, respond to God, worship and love God.
- Human beings are created in community, male and female, which also images the being of God, who is a triune community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Most important, God gives humans dominion. The sovereign Creator and Lord of all calls humans to be lords over the creation God has made.
That humans are told to rule over the rest of creation (older translations put it as having "dominion") has been misunderstood and abused by some Christians as a license to do whatever we want with creation. In that spirit, people have heedlessly ruined and polluted the land, mistreated the animals, and, in our day, brought God's creation to a crisis.
We are called to rule creation on behalf of the loving, caring, Creator. As many have pointed out, it's not a license to exploit as much as a call to be stewards. A call to care for creation rather than merely using it for our own ends. That is certainly at the heart of our task as imagebearers of God.
As this great hymn of creation comes to a close, the refrain that we have heard all the way through, "and God saw that it was good," changes to a great chorus, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." We often talk about original sin, but even before sin there was original goodness. Vestiges of that goodness remain in our lives and in our world, and will one day be fully restored in the new creation.
"On the seventh day God rested from all the work of creating that he had done" (2:3). It's not that God was exhausted from all the labor the week. It's a sign that it is finished, the good creation is complete. There is nothing more to do except continue to uphold it and preserve it. In a sense the seventh day is the day when God takes pleasure in all he has made. The Sabbath rest is also a sign for us that we can rest from our labors and enjoy the love and blessing of our Creator and Redeemer.
Step 1 Breathe
Use this time to focus your attention on God.
Do this with me: calm your head, heart, and hands as you slowly breathe in . . . and out. (Demonstrate a few deep "in and out breaths" with eyes closed.)
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