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THE SEVENTH CREATION DAY
Genesis 2:1–3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
God Rests on the Seventh Day
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 And by the seventh day God completed his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it, he rested from all his work which God had created and made.
- צָבָא tsaba (Lit army) a host in marching order, a company of persons or things in the order of their nature and the progressive discharge of their functions. Hence it is applied to the starry host (Deut. 4:19), to the angelic host (1 Kings 22:19), to the host of Israel (Exod. 12:41), and to the ministering Levites (Num. 4:23). κόσμος.
- חַשְּׁבִיעִי. Here חַשְׁשִּׁי is read by Sam., LXX., Syr., and Josephus. The Masoretic reading, however, is preferable, as the sixth day was completed in the preceding paragraph: to finish a work on the seventh day is, in Hebrew phrase, not to do any part of it on that day, but to cease from it as a thing already finished; and “resting,” in the subsequent part of the verse, is distinct from “finishing,” being the positive of which the latter is the negative.
The BHS has the original reading “on the seventh day God finished his work,” while we have a variant in the LXX, QT, SP, and SYR “on the sixth day God finished his work.” The versions are noted for their variants, especially the Syriac Old Testament Peshitta. It might be that the scribes were attempting to make the reference to the seventh day clearer at the end of the verse. And God finished on the sixth day his works which he made, and he ceased on the seventh day from all his works which he made.
שָׁכַת rest. יָשַׁב sit.
- קָדַשׁ be separate, clean, holy, set apart for a sacred use.
In this section we have the institution of the day of rest, the Sabbath (שַׁבָּת), on the cessation of God from his creative activity.
1. And all their hosts. All the array of luminaries, plants, and animals by which the darkness, waste, and solitude of sky and land were removed, has now been called into unhindered action or new existence. The whole is now finished, perfectly fitted at length for the convenience of man, the high-born inhabitant of this fair scene. Since the absolute beginning of things the earth may have undergone many changes of climate and surface before it was adapted for the residence of man. But it has received the finishing touch in these last six days. These days are to man the only period of creation, since the beginning of time, of special or personal interest. The preceding interval of progressive development and periodical creation is, in regard to him, condensed into a point of time. The creative work of the six days is accordingly called the “making,” or fitting up for man of “the skies and the land and the sea, and all that in them is” (Exod. 20:(11) 10).
2. And by the seventh day God completed his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. To finish a work, in Hebrew conception, is to cease from it, to have done with it. On the seventh day. The seventh day is distinguished from all the preceding days by being itself the subject of the narrative. In the absence of any work on this day, the Eternal is occupied with the day itself, and does four things in reference to it. First, he ceased from his work which he had made. Secondly, he rested. By this was indicated that his undertaking was accomplished. When nothing more remains to be done, the purposing agent rests contented. The resting of God arises not from weariness but from completing his task. He is refreshed, not by the recruiting of his strength, but by the satisfaction of having before him a finished good (Exod. 31:17).
3. When God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it, he rested from all his work which God had created and made. Blessing results in the bestowment of some good on the object blessed. The only good that can be bestowed on a portion of time is to dedicate it to a noble use, a peculiar and pleasing enjoyment. Accordingly, he hallowed it or set it apart to a holy rest in the fourth place. This consecration is the blessing conferred on the seventh day. It is devoted to the rest that followed, when God’s work was done, to the satisfaction and delight arising from the consciousness of having achieved his end and the contemplation of the good he has realized. Our joy on such occasions is expressed by mutual visitation, congratulation, and hospitality. None of these outward demonstrations is mentioned here, and would be altogether out of place so far as the Supreme Being is concerned. But our celebration of the Sabbath naturally includes the holy convocation or solemn meeting together in joyful mood (Lev. 23:3), the singing of songs of thanksgiving in commemoration of our existence and our salvation (Exod. 20:11 (10); Deut. 5:15), the opening of our mouths to God in prayer, and the opening of God’s mouth to us in the reading and preaching of the Word. The sacred rest which characterizes the day precludes the labor and bustle of hospitable entertainment. But the Lord at set times spreads for us his table laden with the touching emblems of that spiritual fare which gives eternal life.
The solemn act of blessing and hallowing is the institution of a perpetual order of seventh-day rest: in the same manner as the blessing of the animals denoted a perpetuity of self-multiplication, and the blessing of man indicated further a perpetuity of dominion over the earth and its products. The present record is a sufficient proof that man never forgot the original institution. If it had ceased to be observed by mankind, the intervening event of the fall would have been sufficient to account for its discontinuance. It is not, indeed, the manner of Scripture, especially in a record that often deals with centuries of time, to note the ordinary recurrence of a seventh-day rest, or any other periodical festival, even though it may have taken firm hold among the hereditary customs of social life. Yet incidental traces of the keeping of the Sabbath are found in the record of the deluge when the sacred writer has occasion to notice short intervals of time. The measurement of time by weeks then appears (Gen. 8:10, 12). The same division of time again comes up in the history of Jacob (Gen. 29:27, 28). This unit of measure is traceable to nothing but the institution of the seventh-day rest.
This institution is new evidence that we have arrived at the stage of rational creatures. The number of days employed in the work of creation shows that we have come to the times of man. The distinction of times would have no meaning to the irrational world. But apart from this consideration, the seventh-day rest is not an ordinance of nature. It makes no mark in the succession of physical things. It has no palpable effect on the merely animal world. The sun rises, the moon and the stars pursue their course; the plants grow, the flowers blow, the fruit ripens; the brute animal seeks its food and provides for its young on this as on other days. The Sabbath, therefore, is founded not in nature but in history. Its periodical return is marked by the enumeration of seven days. It appeals not to instinct, but to memory, to intelligence. A reason is assigned for its observance, and this itself is a step above mere sense, an indication that the era of man has begun. The reason is thus expressed: “Because in it He had rested from all his work.” This reason is found in the procedure of God, and God himself, as well as all his ways, man alone is competent in any measure to apprehend.
It is consonant with our ideas of the wisdom and righteousness of God to believe that the seventh-day rest is adjusted to the physical nature of man and of the animals which he domesticates as beasts of labor. But this is subordinate to its original end, the commemoration of the completion of God’s creative work by a sacred rest, which has a direct bearing on metaphysical and moral distinctions, as we learn from the record of its institution.
The rest here, it is to be remembered, is God’s rest. The refreshment is God’s refreshment, which arises rather from the joy of achievement than from the relief of fatigue. Yet the work in which God was engaged was the creation of man and the previous adaptation of the world to be his home. Man’s rest, therefore, on this day is not only an act of communion with God in the satisfaction of resting after his work was done, but, at the same time, a thankful commemoration of that auspicious event in which the Almighty gave a noble origin and a happy existence to the human race. It is this which, even apart from its divine institution, at once raises the Sabbath above all human commemorative festivals, and imparts to it, to its joys and to its modes of expressing them, a height of sacredness and a force of obligation which cannot belong to any mere human arrangement.
In order to enter upon the observance of this day with intelligence; therefore, it was necessary that the human pair should have been acquainted with the events recorded in the preceding chapter. They must have been informed of the original creation of all things and, therefore, of the eternal existence of the Creator. They must further have been instructed in the order and purpose of the six days’ creation, by which the land and sky were fitted up for man’s residence. Consequently, they must have learned that they were created in God’s image and intended to have dominion over all the animal world. This information would fill their pure and infantile minds with thoughts of wonder, gratitude, and complacently delight, and prepare them for entering upon the celebration of the seventh-day rest with the understanding and the heart. It is scarcely needful to add that this was the first full day of the newly created pair in their terrestrial home. This would add a new historical interest to this day above all others. We cannot say how much time it would take to make the parents of our race aware of the meaning of all these wondrous events. But there can be no reasonable doubt that he who made them in his image could convey into their minds such simple and elementary conceptions of the origin of themselves and the creatures around them as would enable them to keep even the first Sabbath with propriety. And these conceptions would rise into more enlarged, distinct, and adequate notions of the reality of things along with the general development of their mental faculties. This implies, we perceive, an oral revelation to the very first man. But it is premature to pursue this matter any further at present.
The recital of the resting of God on this day is not closed with the usual formula, “and evening was, and morning was, day seventh.” The reason of this is obvious. In the former days the occupation of the Eternal Being was definitely concluded in the period of the one day. On the seventh day, however, the rest of the Creator was only commenced, has thence continued to the present hour, and will not be fully completed till the human race has run out its course. When the last man has been born and has arrived at the crisis of his destiny, then may we expect a new creation, another putting forth of the divine energy, to prepare the skies above and the earth beneath for a new stage of man’s history, in which he will appear as a race no longer in process of development, but completed in number, confirmed in moral character, transformed in physical constitution, and so adapted for a new scene of existence. Meanwhile, the interval between the creation now recorded and that prognosticated in subsequent revelations from heaven (Is. 65:17; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1) is the long Sabbath of the Almighty, so far as this world is concerned, in which he serenely contemplates from the throne of his providence the strange workings and strivings of that intellectual and moral race he has called into being, the ebbings and flowings of ethical and physical good in their checkered history, and the final destiny to which each individual in the unfettered exercise of his moral freedom is incessantly advancing.
Hence we gather some important lessons concerning the primeval design of the Sabbath. It was intended, not for God himself, whose Sabbath does not end till the consummation of all things, but for man, whose origin it commemorates and whose end it foreshadows (Mark 2:27). It not obscurely hints that work is to be the main business of man in the present stage of his existence. This work may be either an exhilarating exercise of those mental and corporeal faculties with which he is endowed, or a toilsome labor, a constant struggle for the means of life, according to the use he may make of his inborn liberty.
But between the sixfold periods of work are interposed the day of rest, a free-breathing time for man, in which he may recall his origin from and meditate on his relationship to God. It lifts him out of the routine of mechanical or even intellectual labor into the sphere of conscious leisure and occasional participation with his Maker in his perpetual rest. It is also a type of something higher. It whispers into his soul an audible presentiment of a time when his probationary career will be over, his faculties will be matured by the experience and the education of time, and he will be transformed and translated to a higher stage of being, where he will hold uninterrupted fellowship with his Creator in the perpetual leisure and liberty of the children of God. This paragraph completes the first of the eleven documents into which Genesis is separable, and the first grand stage in the narrative of the ways of God with man. It is the keystone of the arch in the history of that primeval creation to which we belong. The document which it closes is distinguished from those that succeed in several important respects:
First, it is a diary, while the others are usually arranged in generations or life periods.
Secondly, it is a complete drama, consisting of seven acts with a Prologue. These seven stages contain two triads of action, which match each other in all respects, and a seventh constituting a sort of epilogue or completion of the whole.
Though the Scripture takes no notice of any significance or sacredness inherent in particular numbers, yet we cannot avoid associating them with the objects to which they are prominently applied. The number one is peculiarly applicable to the unity of God. Two, the number of repetition, is expressive of emphasis or confirmation, as the two witnesses. Three marks the three persons or hypostases in God. Four notes the four quarters of the world, reminding us of the physical system of things or the cosmos. Five is the half of ten. The whole and the basis of our decimal numeration. Seven, being composed of twice three and one, is peculiarly fitted for sacred uses; being the sum of three and four, it points to the communion of God with man. It is, therefore, the number of sacred fellowship. Twelve is the product of three and four, and it points to the reconciliation of God and man: it is the number of the church. Twenty-two and eleven, being the whole and the half of the Hebrew alphabet, have somewhat the same relation as ten and five. Twenty-four points to the New Testament or completed church.
The other documents do not exhibit the sevenfold structure, though they display the same general laws of composition. They are arranged according to a plan of their own, and are all remarkable for their simplicity, order, and perspicuity.
Thirdly, the matter of the first differs from that of the others. The first is a record of creation, the others of development. This is sufficient to account for the diversity of style and plan. Each piece is admirably adapted to the topic of which it treats.
Fourthly, the first document is distinguished from the second by the use of the term אֶלֹהִים only for the Supreme Being. This name is appropriate here, as the Everlasting One (p. 26) steps forth from the inscrutable secrecy of his immutable perfection to crown the latest stage of our planet’s history with a new creation adapted to its present conditions. Before all creation, he was the Everduring, the Unchangeable, and therefore the blessed and only Potentate, dwelling with himself in the unapproachable light of his own essential glory (1 Tim. 6:15). From that ineffable source of all being came forth the free fiat of creation. After that transcendent event, He who was from everlasting to everlasting may receive new names expressive of the various relations in which he stands to the universe of created being. But before this relation was established, these names could have no existence or significance.
Neither this last nor any of the former distinctions affords any argument for diversity of authorship. They arise naturally out of the diversity of matter and are such as may proceed from an intelligent author judiciously adapting his style and plan to the variety of his topics. At the same time, the identity of authorship is not essential to the historical validity or the divine authority of the elementary parts that Moses incorporates into the Book of Genesis. It is only unnecessary to multiply authorship without a cause. Hands down though, Moses is the author of the Pentateuch. See article link right below.
By James G. Murphy and Edward D. Andrews
Some Bible Difficulties Answered
- Genesis 1:1 BDC: Is the earth only 6,000 to 10,000 years old? Are the creative days literally, only 24 hours long?
- Genesis 1:1; 1:16 BDC: Was light created or made, and was it on the first day or the fourth?
- Genesis 1-2 BDC: Is there a Different order of creation in Genesis 2 than Genesis 1?
- GENESIS 1 AND 2: Are There Two Creation Accounts?
- Genesis 1:10 BDC: Is the Hebrew word for “earth” the same here as is used at Genesis 1:1, and do they mean the same thing?
- OTTC GENESIS 1:26: “and over all the earth” or “over all the wild animals of the earth”?
- Genesis 1:26 BDC: Who are the “us” and “our” of this verse?
- Genesis 1:27 BDC: Were Adam and Eve Allegorical or Historical Persons?
- How Long Were Adam and Eve In the Garden Before They Sinned?
- Genesis 7:11 BDC: Where did the water come from that cause the flood in Noah’s day?
- The Documentary Hypothesis—Defending Moses’ Authorship of the Pentateuch
- EVOLUTION: Fact or Fantasy?
- CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: Evolution or the Bible?
- Various Views of the “DAYS” of Genesis
- Are the Days of Genesis to Be Interpreted Literally?
- Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, and Theistic Evolution
2:1–3. The seventh day was a climactic day on which God stopped his work of creation, since he had finished the work he had been doing. He rested and he blessed the seventh day. The mood resembled what existed in Genesis 1:1–2 (silence and calm), but the situation was totally different. The stopping of work signifies that the universe had reached a state of completion in which all required components were present. This is the only place in the Bible where God is described as resting, although rest would be held out by the author of Hebrews as a future benefit for all God’s people (Heb. 4:1–11). No further creation was needed other than that which God would bring into his created order through procreation or reproduction (Gen. 1:11, 22, 28). The resting of God does not connote exhaustion, indifference, or lack of activity on God’s part to maintain this world and everything in it (cp. Col. 1:17).
The blessing of Day 7 was that God set it apart as different from the other days—as a memorial to his creative work. While the command for mankind to observe the seventh day as a day of rest was part of the Mosaic covenant with the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai and not with Christian believers, Scripture does teach the importance of periodic rest.
Although Christians may disagree on some aspects of the creation story, we agree that God created this world, he created it by himself, and he created it “very good.”
What a World and What a God!
Reading the creation story causes us to declare, “What a world and what a God!” To declare this requires a step of faith based on the revealed Word of God. It is the first of many steps that we as believers must take as we listen to our Creator and Redeemer reveal truth. If we accept this great truth, many other truths will follow for us. If we refuse to accept this fundamental truth, little is left for us to be sure of or to believe. May God grant us faith even as we wonder and contemplate just how God accomplished the creation.
• The story refutes atheism because it declares the existence of God; it refutes macroevolution because it states that God created all things; it refutes pantheism because it shows that God is separate from his; it refutes eternality of matter because there was a beginning to; it refutes fatalism because there is purpose to. creation creation creation creation creation
• Many humans have sought to worship the sun, but God desires people to worship him. God was there in the beginning, and he waited until the fourth day to create the sun. This was after life and light had existed.
• Creation is foundational to understanding life on this planet. It is the basis of man’s responsibility to follow God’s law (Rom. 1:18–20) and a reason for him to praise God (Pss. 19:1–6; 104:24–30).
• Genesis gives us the “what” of. The “how” is assumed by the concept of “God said … and it was so.” This demonstrates the sovereignty of God and the fact that we as finite creatures will never know everything.
• What God does, he does with excellence.
• Man is accountable to the Creator for taking care of his.
• God works in a planned and orderly fashion.
• Acknowledge God and your accountability to him. creation creation
• Recognize that God has made distinctions and divisions a part of his from the very beginning.
• Declare to the world through the godly life you live that God exists and is present in his.
- Life Application
“The Heavens Declare the Glory of God”
An atheist once complained to a friend because Christians and Jews had their special holidays. “But we atheists,” he said, “have no special day, no recognized national holiday. It’s just not fair.” His friend replied, “Why don’t you celebrate April first?”
No one wants to be known as a fool. But a person is a fool if he doesn’t acknowledge God. The Lord has not left us without evidence of his existence. Romans 1:20 explains that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Creation gives evidence in its order, design, and harmony that there is some cause for all this. And mankind must recognize that all creation points to the Creator. All of creation shouts that God exists and that he is a God of power and glory—a being worthy of worship. The fool may talk of “Mother Nature,” but nature itself is powerless to produce life of any kind without the processes put into place by God himself. To substitute “Mother Nature” for “God” is to confuse the creature or creation with the Creator.
God of creation, majestic in power, awesome in your design, we worship you today. We acknowledge that you were before all things, that all things came into being at your word, and that everything owes its existence to you. Thank you for your constant reminder of your power and presence in this world that you created. Amen.
 Lit and all their army
 The BHS has the original reading “on the seventh day God finished his work,” while we have a variant in the LXX, QT, SP, and SYR “on the sixth day God finished his work.” The versions are noted for their variants, especially the Syriac Old Testament Peshitta. It might be that the scribes were attempting to make the reference to the seventh day clearer at the end of the verse. And God finished on the sixth day his works which he made, and he ceased on the seventh day from all his works which he made.
 Kenneth O. Gangel and Stephen J. Bramer, Genesis, ed. Max Anders, Holman Old Testament Commentary (B&H Publishing Group, 2002), 15–17.
- Edward D Andrews, BIBLE DIFFICULTIES: How to Approach Difficulties In the Bible, Christian Publishing House. 2020.
- Edward D. Andrews, INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, Christian Publishing House, 2016.
- Gleason L. Archer, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982).
- Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., “Appearance,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988).
- Hermann J. Austel, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999).
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003).
- James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
- John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, vol. 1-4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989).
- John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
- Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).
- Thomas Howe; Norman L. Geisler. Big Book of Bible Difficulties, The: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation. Kindle Edition.
- Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Chronology, Old Testament,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988).
- W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996).