top of page

Genesis 1:1-2:4

Lesson Focus

God created us in his image so we might best be able to enter into a relationship with him. 

Learning Outcomes

Through this lesson, students should:  

  1. Understanding the Genesis narrative reveals that God's act of creation emanates from a desire to extend love and invite humanity into a divine relationship.

  2. Explore the concept of being made in God's image suggests a profound likeness that enables humans to engage intimately in this divine dance, implying a deep connection beyond physical resemblance and potentially involving capacities like choice, love, spirituality, and eternal existence.

  3. Contemplate why God would create despite the risk of rebellion

Catching up on the story

This is the beginning of the story. God, who is outside of time and space, has existed for all of eternity. There is nothing besides God. God, however, out of his divine love, chooses to create in order to include others in his divine dance. 

The TextAs we look at the text for the first time, a text we are very familiar with, we find that the story begins not with a reason for what is about to happen but with a simple declaration of what will happen. In the beginning, God begins to create. 

So God speaks, and the heavens and earth form and are separated. And as God’s voice and spirit hover over the vast formless and void expanse of the world, the waters and land begin to separate. With another word, light comes into existence. It was good. God continues to speak, and things continue to happen. Dry land appears. Then, vegetation and things that produce seeds and can reproduce themselves. It was good. 

God continues to speak, and the sun, moon, and stars are created. Notice that light comes into existence before the sun. Many cultures worshiped the sun as a god. This account specifically states that the sun is a created thing. It has no power other than to give warmth. Day and night, seasons of the year, are created by this word that gives the sun and moon. God speaks again, and living things are made, fish and things in the sea and sky. Then, animals are created to cover the dry land. They are all given creative power and endowed with the ability to create new life. 

Then it happens. God decides to make something in his image. In verse 26, we aren’t told exactly what that means, but we are told that this new and last creation will be in the likeness of God; it will have the authority to take care of and use the good earth for its own needs. Everything is given to humanity. We are mysteriously made in God’s image and likeness. Then God stepped back and said that it wasn’t just good, but that it was very good. It was very good indeed. 

So, that leaves us with three questions. Why did God create in the first place? What does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God? Why would God create if he knew things would end up like they have? 

Why did God create in the first place? First, we need to specify that God did not need to create. Demanding that God needed to create would be like saying that something outside of God was making God do something. This is not the case. God, if he is what the bible says he is, is bigger and more powerful than anything else in existence. There was nothing, and never will be anything, that can force God to do anything.