Lesson 1 - Junior
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).
God has lived in His Heaven from all eternity, worshiped and adored by the heavenly hosts who sing ever around His throne. But God, in His infinite love, wanted a holy people upon whom He could shower His affection.
First He must make a world for people to live in. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." There was nothing out of which to make it. God spoke, and it was done. Scientists have given us many theories about how they think the world came into existence, but their ideas are little better than those given by heathen philosophers who gave such fantastic ideas as that the world was hatched from an egg. They did not say where the egg came from. You may have seen pictures of Atlas with the world on his shoulders. Some people believed that there was a great giant who actually held the world on his shoulders. We think such ideas are foolishness, but anything else that is contrary to the Word of God is also foolishness. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1). No one has ever been able to prove, nor ever shall, that the world came into existence in any other way than what the Bible teaches.
What majesty there is in those simple words: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." What a mighty God we have to worship! Though it may seem impossible that the earth could have been made out of nothing, we who are Christians believe it, and are blessed because we do. "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Hebrews 11:3). We are a happy people who know and believe God. The world, through its so called wisdom, has not found God.
First, God spoke the heavens and the earth into existence, apparently a mass of substance, hidden in darkness. Then He began to bring order out of that which was without form. Thoughtfully He did all this for you and me.
The First Day
On the first day God made light. There were no sun, moon, nor stars but God could make light without them, for He is light. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9).
Light has always been a symbol of hope. The prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus said that it would be as a new day dawning, "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings" (Malachi 4:2). Salvation from sin is also described as going from darkness into light: "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9). "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" (II Corinthians 5:17). He is a new creation of God, and of more importance to Him than the creation of the world.
God saw the light, that it was good. How important light is! There is very little that can grow without light. God in His great love has given us light for our health and happiness.
God divided the light from the darkness, and called the light Day, and the darkness Night. "And the evening and the morning were the first day." This was a period of 24 hours, just as our days.
The Second Day and the Third Day
On the second day, God made the heaven, the beautiful sky that we see above us, dividing the waters upon the earth from the waters above the earth. There was water over the whole earth, so on the third day God gathered the water together in basins, which are the oceans, and the dry land appeared. It is 7000 miles across the Pacific Ocean, the largest body of water, and yet the water never spills over its bounds. At many places there are level beaches, with nothing to hold the water in, except that God placed the boundary and said: "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed" (Job 38:11). So through the thousands of years since God created the seas, their breakers have washed over the same beaches. Two thirds of the earth is covered with water, with only one third of the surface of the earth dry land. Scientists tell us that, that is exactly the way it has to be in order to sustain life and keep a healthful climate. God made it that way, and saw that it was good.
Now there was dry land, and God had a place in which to plant trees and flowers and vegetables for food. He did not have to cultivate the ground, plant the seeds, and then wait for them to grow. He merely 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" (Genesis 1:11). When God spoke the plants into existence, there was life in them so that they could reproduce themselves. We are still eating apples, and peaches, and cabbage, and turnips, and many other fruits and vegetables that have come from those first plants which God spoke into existence. God said each would be after his kind.
God looked upon all the beautiful plants and trees, which now covered the earth, which He had made for man, and saw that it was good.
The next time you enjoy a big slice of watermelon, or a bowl of strawberries, or some other delicious fruit or vegetable, think that God made it especially for your enjoyment. He knew that some day you would be born, and He wanted you to have pleasure in the things He made for you.
God's Glory Declared in the Heavens
On the fourth day God made the sun, the moon, and the myriads of stars to be light containers. The sun was to rule the day, and the moon and stars the night. What strength and joy we get from the sunshine; and how beautiful are the moon and stars at night! The Psalmist David sang, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork" (Psalm 19:1). Job tells us that the morning stars sang together at the creation.
The sun and moon were to be for signs and for seasons. The distance of the earth from the sun, and the slant of the earth on its axis, determine our summer and winter. In the northern hemisphere, we have summer during June, July, and August. In the southern hemisphere, there is win¬ter during those same months. Near the equator, the temperatures are much the same the year around. God said: "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22).
Animal Life Created
Now the earth was ready to be populated. God began with the lower forms of life, creating the fish and the fowls. God made the tiny, tiny water animals, the fish and the great whales to live in the sea. In the great oceans there are many kinds of fish that we have never seen, but there are many that we use for food. God made the fowls to live on land and fly in the sky, and they were of a different kind of flesh. "All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds" (I Corinthians 15:39). God created them each after his kind, and there has been no changing from one species to another. There are many kinds of horses, mules, and donkeys but no horse has ever become a cow, nor a dog a horse. Biologists have offered many theories of man's descent from a tadpole, or a monkey, but no one has ever been able to prove that man was ever anything but a man, let alone a tadpole. God made all the animals, an the fish and fowl, each after his kind, and they are still at their own kind today.
When God had made all the different kinds of beautiful and interesting birds and fishes, He saw that it was good. He told them to multiply so that there would be an abundance of them in all parts of the world. So closed the fifth day.
The Sixth Day
On the sixth day, 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. There are as many miracles of creation in the tiny insects as there are in the huge bears and elephants.
God formed these original animals out of the earth, but they reproduced themselves after their kind, and no more were made out of the earth.
What a beautiful world it now was! Every morning the sun came up to shine upon the fields and plains. Animals grassed peacefully in the forests and meadows, while birds chirped as they flitted above. The rivers, well stocked with fish, flowed merrily down to the sea. The great sea monsters and the tiny herring played together in the great depths of the oceans. And the peace of God reigned upon it all. All this God had made as a place of habitation for His crowning creation -- man. This was the scene upon which the first man, Adam, looked when he first beheld the light of day.
1. How did the world come into existence? How do we know?
2. What did God do on the first day?
3. What did God say at the close of every day of creation?
4. Why did God create the world?
5. Why does the ocean stay within its bounds?
6. What different kinds of flesh are there?