If you've read the first two articles in this series, you might have noticed that it is based on a series of lessons written for children. I taught my class about the age of the earth while they made a bead and string timeline. You and your children will probably really enjoy this project, so today's article will be a description of how to make this Age of the Earth Timeline along with my commentary. The timeline is meant to show a very brief summary of earth's 6,000-year history, depicting 7 major events beginning with the creation and ending with the present day. The inspiration for this timeline project came from a book I purchased from a favourite creationist website: Creation Science Evangelism. (That link will now redirect you to Creation Today , a site owned by Kent's son Eric Hovind.) You can find a similar timeline in the back of Dr. Kent Hovind's book of the same name. These major events are each depicted by a unique bead as listed below. Passage of time is illustrated by clear filler beads. The beads chosen are what were available to me--you may be able to find something better.
To make one approximately 13" bead and string timeline, you will need seven ½" beads of different colours (described below) plus thirty-seven clear ¼" filler beads and two blue ¼" filler beads. (The exact length will depend on the actual beads you are able to purchase.) Cut a 27" length of firm, self-threading string and tie a 1" diameter loop at one end. (This loop, and the one at the other end that you will make later, will enable the student to hang the timeline horizontally on a bulletin board. Add a safety pin to one of the loops if you wish to make a bracelet or a necklace.) Use a glue gun to reinforce the knot.
Following the commentary, put the black bead on the timeline first, then the yellow bead and 10 clear filler beads--making sure you insert the extra inch of string into them as well so that it disappears. Add the remaining beads as you teach. Tie the final loop to match the first one and insert the extra string back into the strung beads, then use the glue gun to reinforce the knot.
Teach or read from the 7A's notes below, each of which explains the significance of the bead(s) required and tells its portion of earth's story. When read consecutively and at one sitting, the seven 7A's notes tell a complete, summarized story of earth's 6,000 years!
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The first bead to put on the string and bead timeline is a black one. It is to remind us what the earth was like when God first made it, around 6,000 years ago. It was dark, empty and without form. That tells me that the earth wasn't a sphere yet and God had to make something happen to turn it into the sphere it is today. There was water on it, though, and the Holy Spirit was hovering over the water looking intently into it.
Over the next few days God turned the earth into one that we could live on. At this point, the earth was dark so God made...
3Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Notice that biblical days begin with the evening; they do so because it was dark before it was light on the first day. A careful reading of these verses show that the pattern continues, so that subsequent days also begin with the evening. If you think that's strange or awkward, think about the fact that most North Americans begin their days at midnight. It would seem much more logical to begin a day with a sunset than a midnight! If it were not for the fact that God had set this pattern, I would think it smarter to begin a day at sunrise. But God did set that pattern, and we ought to pay attention to it.
The next day--Day 2--God made the atmosphere around the earth. On the third day, God caused the dry land to come up out of the water and plants to grow. On the fourth day, God made the sun, moon, planets and stars to give light for the earth and to be for signs and seasons. Don't miss the intriguing fact that God made light before He made the sun! The Bible is not mixed up here, and neither is God. We are told in Revelation 21:23 that the New Jerusalem will not need a sun because Jesus Christ will be its light. (Note: you can jump to the link to read that reference, and then click the "back to A2" link to return.) He told the disciples that He was the light of the world. Since Jesus was in the beginning before anything was made, He was probably the light for the new world before the sun was created on day four.
Now the earth was ready for living things, so on the fifth day God made the fish and birds. On the sixth day, God made the land animals--including dinosaurs and all other now-extinct types. Finally, God made the first man and woman--Adam and Eve.
Please notice that these creation days were literal, 24-hour days like those we experience now. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the length of these days, even amongst Christians, and you can study this at my favourite Creationist websites: Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International. (You can read my brief comment on the earth's age at the bottom of the article, 7 C's of Creation, where you will find a couple more links.)
To keep this commentary brief, however, I would just like to point out that there are lots of reasons for believing these to be literal, 24-hour days as any unbiased reader would see when reading this chapter. The reason anyone even thinks to question that is because they have been exposed to extensive evolutionary teaching. If we believe that the earth must be millions or billions of years old because the evolutionists say the rocks prove it to be so, then we are compelled to make the creation days long periods of time or to include a huge gap of time somewhere if we wish to hold to 6 literal creation days. Either way, we are allowing evolutionist teaching to tell us how to interpret the Bible. Rather, we ought to let the Bible tell us how to interpret so-called science!
God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they had good times together. One day, though, Adam and Eve sinned and brought a curse upon the earth. God kicked them out of the Garden. They made a home somewhere else and had lots of kids and grandkids. By the time 1600 years had passed after the creation, there were lots of people and they had become very wicked. Here is what we are told in Genesis 6:5-8.
5Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... 7So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast"... 8But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
God told Noah to build an Ark to save his family and some animals (2 of each kind; 7 of some kinds), because a flood was coming. These beads (a brown bead surrounded by two blue beads) are to remind us of Noah's Ark floating on a global flood. That flood did incredible damage to the earth! It turned it from a beautiful paradise to a sphere covered with oceans, continents, mountains, deserts, ice caps, and so on. A subsequent article is devoted to an explanation of what Noah's flood did to the earth and how it explains away the evolutionary notions that have people confused.
When Noah and his family got off the Ark, they began having kids and grandkids again. God told them to spread out and fill up the earth, but they didn't want to obey Him. Instead, they deliberately began building a city. They said (Genesis 11:4-9),
4"Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."... 6And the Lord said, 7"...Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth...
This was likely about 200 years after Noah got off the Ark. This beige bead doesn't really look like a tower but it is meant to remind us of the Tower of Babel!
After God confused their languages at the Tower of Babel, the people spread out and began different nations. The rest of the book of Genesis tells us how the nation of Israel developed and ended up in Egypt. We'll pick up the story in Exodus around 800 years after the Tower of Babel. Here God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand that he let the Israelites leave Egypt. Moses used his rod to do several miracles to persuade Pharaoh that the God of the Israelites was the one, true, living God and more powerful than all of the 'gods' of Egypt. Finally, Pharaoh told them to leave--but after they were gone, he changed his mind and went after them with his army and chariots. He found Israel camped in front of the Red Sea. God told Moses to stretch his rod over the Sea and divide it so the people could cross over on dry land. The red bead is to remind you how God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians--especially the Red Sea Crossing.
After Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea, they eventually got into the land where they live now. About 1400 years after the Red Sea Crossing, Jesus was born. He lived a perfect life, taught the people about God and how to obey Him properly, healed and delivered them from sicknesses, and then died on the cross for their sin.
The white bead represents Jesus Christ. It is white--for purity and holiness. This bead is put on your timeline to remind you that Jesus Christ, the Pure and Holy Son of God--the Creator--came into human history to die for our sins, unite His people, and fix what Adam had done to the world when he chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, at Satan's instigation. John 3:16 tells us that
16God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Anyone who wants to live forever with God must choose to accept Christ as Saviour and Lord and obey Him, because He is the only way to heaven. Jesus is the truth, and He is the life! No one goes to God the Father but by Him.
This green bead is the last one we will put on our timelines, but it is not the end of human history--it's only the end of the 6,000 years of human history that have already passed. The green bead represents you and the world you live in--about 2,000 years after Jesus was born.
This world is not the same as it was when God made it 6,000 years ago. When He first made the world, it was perfect. No one got hurt or killed, animals didn't eat each other, deserts and rocky mountain ranges didn't exist, the ocean wasn't huge and full of salt... Lots of things were very different when God first made the earth. It's still pretty, though, isn't it? Someday Jesus is going to come back and rule on the earth from Jerusalem, and everyone will obey Him. It will be a wonderful time when the earth will be perfect once more!
If you are using this for a lesson, you might like to use John 3:16 as a memory verse, sing a song like "I am so glad that Jesus loves me," and offer a snack of cheerios to string on some liquorice.
Please see my article on The Garden of Eden: What was Earth Like?
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Connie Lacelle, for the Connie's Comments column of the Northern Good News Journal, August 2003.
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