I thought long and hard about what the first lesson should be and it seems to me like it should start at the beginning with the creation account in Genesis.
1. Start by reading Genesis 1:1-2:4 (if your kids are old enough to read have them take turns reading):
The Account of Creation
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
3Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
6Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” 7And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. 8God called the space “sky.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.
9Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
13And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.
14Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. 15Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. 16God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.
20Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” 21So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. 22Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
23And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.
24Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
26Then God said, “Let us make human beingsb in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
29Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.
31Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.
2:1So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he resteda from all his work. 3And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
4This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth.
2. Discuss the passage. Questions might include:
- How many days did it take?
- What did God do when he was done?
- What does the “Us” mean in verse 26?
- What does each kid think is the most complicated thing God Made? the most beautiful?
- Who is the most powerful being in and out of this universe?
- Since the earth is God’s, how should we take care of it?
- What does “create” mean?
- For older children, you might also ask “Do cars or computers or TVs “evolve” or are they “designed”? Frequently the word “evolve” or “evolution” is used interchangeably with the word design or create. I think it’s important for children to understand the distinction. Discuss the creative process.
- You might also want to discuss how when we create things we need something to start with. For example, if we have paper and crayons we can make a drawing. God can make things out of nothing. Even with all we know about science, we have never been able to make something out of nothing.
- If you have older children you may also want to discuss the “Big Bang” and explain that it is not all that different than the first part of the creation account in Genesis. The real question is what was the first cause – who or what started the “BANG!”? Was it “directed and designed” or truly “spontaneous and chaotic”. I reason that it was God but each child will have to decide for themselves as they learn and question their existence.
- etc..you get the idea
3. Give each child a sheet of paper and ask them to design a new animal or plant. When they are done have them explain what makes their animal unique. Ask them if they think a man could actually create an animal like the one they designed that would be able to eat and then grow, automatically heal itself, reproduce and have babies, and live and be as they have drawn. Can they think of any living creature that man has made from “scratch” (not just a modification of one of God’s animals but a creation from raw materials)? Do they think god could make their animal if He wanted to?
4. Help them memorize the first verse of the Bible:
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Overall, the first “Lessons with Dad” went extremely well. I am definitely going to have to tweak some things but the kids all said they enjoyed it and that they are looking forward to the next one. The scripture was a little long for my younger children, and I suspected that it would be, but I wanted to read the whole creation account so I took the chance and had to work a little to keep them “focused”. I found that rather than just reading the verse it was better to answer their questions as we progressed. I think what made the lesson so enjoyable for everyone is that it was the most we talked as a family in a long time. So often we call sitting near each other watching television, playing a video game, or even eating a meal together “quality time”. But real “quality time”, to me, is when we are engaged in conversation and focused on each other – which is what happened during the lesson.
I was surprised by all of the great questions my kids asked and the conversation that it generated. I witnessed several “ah-ha” moments as their questions were answered or when they considered no ideas for the first time. I hope the future lessons go as well as this first one did! If you decide to do this same lesson with your kids please share your experience by commenting below.
For those that are interested, here are the drawings of the new animals and plants my family created: