It was a big day…the first day of summer. And Little Cub was having a sleepover! After playing outside, the children ate dinner on the porch and then roasted marshmallows.
Later Mama Bear said, “Come into the house, kiddos. I want to share a story with you. The best story ever!”
The kids came in and gathered around her.
“This is the story God gave us,” she said, lifting her Bible. “It’s really our story.”
“Our story?” Little Pup said. “How can it be our story? Isn’t it about a bunch of people who lived a long time ago?”
“God loved those people who lived a long time ago,” she said. “Just as he loves us now. He wants us to know him better. That’s why God gave us this story. Now, let’s see,” she said, turning the first page. “It all starts with Genesis…”
The Creator Creates
“What does Genesis mean?” Little Cub asked.
“It means ‘the beginning,’” Mama said. “It’s about the beginning of the world…and how God loved us from the start!”
God is our creator, the reason everything exists. He began with nothing; then he separated light from dark, he made water and land, and then he made all kinds of animals and plants to fill it all!
Imagine what it must’ve been like to see the first stars streaking across the night sky. To watch a jungle springing to life, full of every flower you’ve ever smelled and every fruit you’ve ever tasted! Or to see the first whale slapping his gigantic tail in the sea!
Adam and Eve
But he didn’t stop there. Because God had a special plan…to create children he could love! So he breathed life into Adam and Eve. Adam got to name all the animals, and he and Eve lived in a very special place called the Garden of Eden.
Everything was good, so good. Adam and Eve spent their days hanging out with God and enjoying his creation. They didn’t have to worry about a thing!
Leaving the Garden
It was all good until a serpent said to Eve, “Did God really say not to eat any fruit in the garden?” Now, this was tricky, because God didn’t say such a thing!
Eve said, “We can eat fruit from any tree, but God told us not to eat from this one. If you eat from it, you will die.”
“You won’t die!” the serpent said. “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Be like God? Eve thought. What could be wrong with that?
So Eve plucked the nearest fruit and took a big bite of it. And when Adam came near, she convinced him to do the same.
At first it probably tasted as delicious as it looked. But as they ate, it might have started tasting bitter or sour. Because they were committing sin—doing what God said not to do.
They knew they’d done wrong, so Adam and Eve got scared and hid from God, the one who loved them more than anyone could!
But because of their decision, God sent them out of the garden and into the world, where they would discover hard things. The world wasn’t beautiful and peaceful like the garden. Yet even then, God was only beginning to write our story.
“That’s sad,” said Little Otter. “Why didn’t God just put a fence around that one tree?”
“God wanted them to have a choice,” Mama said. “Just like he gives us the choice today—to love and obey him. He wants us to love him because we choose loving him, not because he makes us. But we often fail to love and obey him—just like Adam and Eve.”
“Like when I sneak an extra clam from the pot?” said Little Otter. “Even though my mama told me not to?”
After Adam and Eve left the garden, people gradually forgot God. They were mean to one another. No one believed in or talked to God. This made God very sad. By the time Noah lived, he was the only one who loved God with his whole heart!
So God told Noah to build a gigantic boat to hold a pair of every sort of animal you can name. From musk ox to monkeys, from weasels to wolves, from puffins to polar bears.
That ark must’ve seemed pretty crazy to Noah’s neighbors, because the boat was way bigger than he’d ever need on a river!
But then the rain began…and it rained and rained. For forty days and nights, it rained!
Once the rain stopped, the ark still floated on top of all that water for months. To Noah, it looked like he was in the middle of an ocean. It was a happy day when he sent out a dove and she brought back an olive leaf! This meant a tree was growing somewhere and land had to be close.
After the ark finally scraped onto ground, God told Noah it was safe to bring out his family and the animals. He set a rainbow in the clouds as a sign—he would never send rain to flood the entire earth again. He’d found a way to begin anew with the people he loved and who loved him too.
“Hey, Mama, did Noah have a motor on that ark so he could steer?” Little Cub asked.
“No, he didn’t. That’s a good part of the story to think about. Noah had to trust that God would take that boat to the right place at the right time. And he did!”
God Chooses Abraham
Many, many years passed, and lots of people lived in the world. But there was one special man named Abraham, who loved and followed God. God chose this man to further his plan to save the world forever.
He told Abraham that his children and grandchildren would someday be as many as the stars in the sky! Now, Abraham thought that was pretty funny, because he was old and he didn’t have any children yet. And his wife was old too!
But God had said, “Trust me. Through your family, the whole world will be changed.”
Sarah Has a Baby
Now, Sarah thought Abraham was cuh-razy when he told her what God had said. She’d wanted a baby all her life, but she couldn’t have one! And now she was way too old.
She was so surprised when she found out she was pregnant. Nine months later, she had little Isaac. And do you know what his name means? “Laughter.” Sarah and Abraham must’ve giggled in wonder every time they looked upon that boy. They were so happy God had given them a child. They loved him so much!
“Were they as old as Henrietta the Horned Owl?” asked Little Goose.
“Could be,” Mama said. “Can you imagine her having a baby owl now?”
“Nooooo!” cried the kids, laughing. Because Henrietta was so old she was losing feathers!
“Sometimes God does things that seem impossible to us,” Mama said. “Like creating a whole nation starting with just one little boy—Isaac—born to old parents. We call those miracles!”