God Made the World
- Realize that God made all of the wonderful plants and creatures in our world.
- Name some favorite things God made.
- Praise God for our amazing world!
This background is for you, the leader, and though it goes beyond what preschoolers can understand, let's spend a little time exploring how Christians read this crucial first chapter of the Bible today. While some Christians maintain that Genesis 1 and 2 are an historical record of a six-day creation that occurred approximately 10,000 years ago, many evangelical and Reformed interpreters differ with that view. Here are a few notes on our approach:
Genesis was written in a prescientific culture that understood the earth as flat, covered with a solid dome, and built on pillars.
Since the earth itself is also a revelation of God (see Belgic Confession, Art. 2) many Christians accept scientific evidence that the world is probably millions of years old and its creatures may have evolved over time.
This chapter does not present a scientific or historical picture of exactly how creation came into being, but it does reveal crucial truths that science can never discover: that God created the world, that it was good, and that human beings have a special place in creation by being endowed with God's image.
To further explore these issues, you may be interested in reading the book Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design by Deborah and Loren Haarsma (Faith Alive Christian Resources).
Back to our story. Genesis opens with a dark brooding chaos; the Bible describes the earth as "formless and empty"---a dark chaotic void. When you describe this "nothingness" to preschoolers, you might compare it to an empty dark room full of scary shadows and creaking sounds. The creation story tells how God establishes order over that chaos. Every step of the way God is placing boundaries and assigning things to their proper place. Notice too how the Spirit (breath) of God is the agent of this ordering.
God's first act is to turn on the light in the dark and to establish time---day and night. Next God orders space, dividing the "water above" from the "water below," and the water from the dry land. Then God takes the dry ground and creates plants to cover it with lush greenness. The ordering of creation goes on as God brings into being fish, birds, and animals.
Note how the Creator takes chaotic elements (night, waters, and seas) and gives them all a place in the order of creation. (By the way, this account completely rejects the idea common among Israel's neighbors that the sun, moon, and stars were divine beings. These things are great and wonderful, but are still merely parts of God's creation.)
A wonderful refrain marks each day: "And God saw that it was good." Each part has its own place, its own beauty and goodness. And it's all to the glory of the Creator!