One of the first things we teach kids in our ministries is that they were created by God. As soon as they can speak, even the youngest kids can parrot back, “God made me.”
Have you ever thought about how significant that declaration is, even when it comes from a 3-year-old? One of the greatest things we can help children understand is what it means to be created in the image of a good and loving God.
It won’t be long before those 3-year-olds face a challenge to their identity. The world they will grow up in may tell them that identity is a product of whatever they think about themselves. Or that identity is assigned to them by the roles they fill or who other people believe them to be.
But kids need to know that identity is given by God. He is their Creator and knows them best.
We Matter to God
God didn’t just make us, of course. He made everything. He is the Creator of all! But while all His creation was (and is) “good,” His creation of human beings was (and is) “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
God spent the first five days of creation making the perfect habitat for human beings to live in. This is just one way we see how important we are to God. From the very beginning, He had a plan for protecting us and providing for us.
As we talk about the creation of the earth with kids, we can ask questions like:
- Why do you think God made the sun and moon? So people would have light to see by. So plants would grow. To establish when we should work and rest.
- Why do you think God filled the earth with rivers and lakes? So people would have water to drink. So fish and sea creatures would have places to live.
- Why do you think God made trees and crops? So people would have food to eat. So people would have shade from the sun and wood to build with.
We are the crowning achievement of God’s creation, and He had us in mind all along as He created a world for us to live in. We want kids to see how important they are to God and how much He cares for them.
Being Made in the Image of God Matters
On day six of creation, God made all the creatures who live on the land. Younger kids love thinking about this and shouting out all kinds of examples. But we also want them to see how different the creation of humans was. Adam was unlike anything else God created. He was made in God’s “image” and “likeness.”
That is key to helping kids understand their identity. It’s also pretty fun to think about. Consider:
God made us relational.
We enjoy being around people and getting to know them.
God made us thinkers.
We can use our brains to reason, think, plan, choose, and decide.
God made us feelers.
We might not always enjoy our emotions, but aren’t we glad we have them? We can feel joy, happiness, love, delight, and compassion. There’s also a time to feel anger and sadness. The Bible teaches us that God feels all these things too.
God made us communicators.
We can express what we want people to know about us. We can reveal our thoughts and feelings and hopes to others. God does that too. He speaks to us through His Word. He speaks through the Holy Spirit. And He sent Jesus to earth to communicate with us face to face.
Human beings are always creating. Whether it’s scientists creating a rocket ship or composers creating a new film score or first graders creating heart-shaped Mother’s Day cards, we were made in God’s image to imagine, design, and create.
Of all the creatures on earth, God chose us to be made in His image. He made us to experience the world like no tree or mountain or river or animal could ever do. Our lives have immeasurable worth because we were created by a God who loves us enough to share His likeness with us.
Being Created by God Shapes Our Identity
Not a lot of kids are asking, “Who am I at the core of my being?” Most of them aren’t wondering if their lives have meaning and purpose. But we can give them a glimpse of the answers to those important questions that everyone asks eventually.
We look to God to tell us who we are and what our purpose is because He’s the one who made us. He knows us best.
How well does a painter know his painting? Does an author know her book better than anyone else? How well does a baker know his confection? Intimately! We can all enjoy a beautiful painting, an interesting book, and a delicious pie, but we’re never going to know them and appreciate them the way the person who created them does.
Other people might sample a tart and call it a pie, but the baker knows better. He made a fruit tart. The baker knows what it is—down to the smallest ingredients. He knows what purpose he made it for. He knows everything about that tart in a way no one else does.
Soul-Anchoring Good News
God created us. He knows everything about us. And as our Maker, He’s the only one qualified to tell us who we are. Here’s what we want kids to understand about that amazing truth:
- We don’t have to look to others to tell us who we are or that we matter. God tells us that.
- We don’t have to find our identity or our value within ourselves. It comes from God.
- We don’t have to try to win other people’s approval. God made us with His seal of approval.
- We don’t have to earn God’s love. We already have it.
When we teach kids about creation, we’re teaching them about identity. The same God who created the planets, the sun, and the stars created them. He shared His likeness with humans—because we’re that special to Him. He made us for a reason—to be in a relationship with Him. Our lives have purpose and worth because of that.
This is the kind of soul-anchoring good news kids today need to hear.