The story of the creation of the world is as old as the world itself. Every culture has an ancient story of how everything came into existence. But what exactly is the story of creation according to the Bible? Chapters 1 and 2 of the book of Genesis contain the biblical accounts of the creation of the world and of human beings. All creation stories aim to explain how things came about and why life is the way it is.
Therefore, the “history” and “geography” of creation stories are figurative rather than real. The narratives in the Bible provide answers to human questions about God, about the origin and meaning of the world, and about human life. They are not intended to be scientific, historical, or geographical explanations of our origins. After creating live plants, animals, birds and fish and calling all these things “good”, God places humanity in charge of caring for the Earth.
In fact, caring for God's creation is the first human responsibility mentioned in Scripture, a responsibility that, unfortunately, as individuals, we have often not taken seriously. Most religions offer some version of a creation myth. This is necessary to elevate the role of one or more gods in world history and to establish the supremacy of the Supreme Being. A good interview with biblical scholar Sister Diane Bergant explores what the Genesis creation stories teach us about God, about the dignity of men and women, about sin and about caring for God's creation.
Creation stories suggest a prayer centered on the wonder of the world and the place of human beings as the crown of God's creation. It's the creation myth you would have if you were a Sumerian who transmitted stories about your oldest origins. And that's why I decided to write a book about what happened “in the beginning”, to hopefully empower families to fall in love with creation once again and to play an active role in caring for all the things that God has done. What sets the Bible apart is that these stories aren't just part of a larger mythology.
Lewis, in one of his children's novels The Wizard's Nephew, tells a creation story that contains echoes of the Genesis creation story. Every time I heard a Sunday school teacher talk about Creation, I always struggled to understand what it might have been like to see that first flash of light or hear the roar of trees coming out of the ground. See creation-related art on the Textweek site and at the United States Library of Congress, which has an online site called Beginnings that contains some fascinating objects and images related to stories and depictions of creation.