The Seventh Day

We often speak of the seven days of creation week. On the seventh day, God rested. But what did he do on the eighth day? Did he get back to his work? Or was he truly done?

God created in six days. Genesis 2:2–3 describes the seventh day: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” In this post, I would like to address one question concerning the seventh day: How long was it?

First, let us consider what God did on the seventh day. Verse 2 says that he rested from all his work. Verse 3 clarifies the issue further, stating that he rested from his work of creating. The scripture does not say that he ceased from all activity on the seventh day but only that he ceased from his work of creating. And why did he stop creating? That question is answered in verse 2. God stopped creating because he was finished.

So for how long did God rest from his work of creating? Certainly, God rested for more than a day. He did not take just one day off and then resume creating on day eight. Rather, because God’s work of creation is completed, his rest from this work extends even to the present day. As many others have pointed out, the description of the seventh day does not end with the concluding statement, “And there was evening, and there was morning,” and this could imply (although it does not prove) that the seventh day has not yet come to an end.

I think this is a valid interpretation, but I admit that there may be others. Let us assume for a moment that the creation periods were 24-hour days. Although the Bible says that that God rested on the seventh day, it does not say what God did on the eighth day. That is, saying that on the seventh day God rested from his work of creation does not necessarily imply that God did not also rest on each subsequent day. However, it would seem odd to me that the author would say that God rested for a specific 24-hour period if, in reality, God actually rested from his work for longer than that.

Some may here invoke John 5:17, where Jesus says, “My Father is always at his work.” They may argue that this verse shows that God did indeed resume working after the seventh day. However, the work of which Jesus spoke is not the work of creation, and Genesis 2:2–3 makes it very clear that the work from which God rested was specifically his work of creating, which he had completed.

Because God has not resumed creating, I believe that the day of God’s rest from creation is ongoing. And if the seventh day has lasted thousands of years, I do not find it unreasonable to think that the other creation days could have lasted longer than 24 hours as well. In the next post, I will examine the connection between God’s day of rest and the Sabbath. Make sure you don’t miss it.

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