Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wow, God Must Have Been Really Tired!


"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation." Genesis 2:1-3

The first few verses of Genesis chapter two tell us what God did on the seventh day of creation. He rested. I take this to mean that God rested for a 24 hour period (count me in with AIG on this one). While I do not know what it means for God to rest, I do know that He rested for a day.

There are many who do not believe that the word "day" in Genesis chapters one and two refers to a 24 hour period. Rather, they believe it instead points to much longer periods of time, usually millions of years. The folks at Biologos, for example, think this.

If "day" in Genesis chapter one speaks of thousands or millions of years, then "day" in Genesis chapter two must mean the same. That means, according to this view, that God must have rested for thousands or millions of years. My response to this is astonishment; God must have been really tired!

We quickly see the absurdity in this. God by definition is omnipotent, sovereign, and above physical limitation. He has no need to rest for millions of years. He doesn't get tired (Jesus got tired on earth, but that was His humanity).

The word "day" is used very consistently in Genesis one-two. When interpreting this passage, we cannot simply pick-and-choose how long we think a day is. It should be the same in each instance.

If God's rest was a short one, and it certainly appears it was, then each day would have been a short period of time. Twenty-four hours sounds about right.

If there is any further question about this, the Ten Commandments make it clear how long a day is.

10 comments:

Chris Jefferies said...

We are faced with what seems to be a dilemma. The Genesis text is clear, I agree with you that 'yom' is probably best translated 'day' (though the Hebrew meaning may include 'afternoon', 'age', 'forever', and 'lifetime' for example).

The scientific evidence on cosmology, the age of the solar system, geology, and biology overwhelmingly implies billions of years.

Forcing these two accounts to somehow mesh into one is neither necessary nor useful. Is there a problem with accepting that spiritual and physical reality are both correct?

To do so we need only regard the Bible message as far deeper than we sometimes suppose. Might the Almighty be sharing eternal, spiritual truth with us? Do we need to bring that truth down to a merely physical level?

Eric said...

Chris,

I think we've had this discussion before. I don't limit the scriptures to simply spiritual truth.

As for the scientific evidence, I disagree that it overwhemingly supports any conclusions. In fact, much of the data points to a literal reading of Genesis 1-2.

I'm glad this is not a gospel issue. I don't mean to imply that it is. There are many genuine brothers and sisters in Christ who stand on both sides of the debate (or somewhere in between).

However, we must be careful in how much of the bible we say should not be taken literally. If we start with Genesis 1-2, why should we believe the gospel accounts that point to a literal resurrection of Christ?

Randi Jo :) said...

God does not need to rest for thousands or millions of years.

But God does also not need to rest for 24 hours.

Perhaps they are equally absurd?

I don't really have an opinion yet on the interpretation of the word, "day" in this text. So I really don't have an opinion on how long it all took. I'm okay with not knowing with clarity the how or when of this all. The importance of these first 2 chapters for me is the Who.

Eric said...

Randi Jo,

I can understand what you are saying, but I do have a question for you. In Exodus 20, God specifically compares Israels' Sabbath day to God's resting on the seventh day. If these do not both refer to 24 hour periods of time, then what is the author of Exodus talking about?

Chris Jefferies said...

I also have a question for you, Eric.

If creation and resurrection came up in a court of law which of them do you think would fare best before a jury on the basis of evidence presented?

Eric said...

Chris,

I really have no idea. There is a tremendous amount of evidence for both.

Chris Jefferies said...

I'm thinking resurrection would win hands down. There are several accounts of Jesus' death and the manner of his death and burial and others of the empty tomb and meetings with him later.

There are no such witness accounts for creation (obviously).

For me, that makes it easy to accept the resurrection as literal. The creation account is not supported by evidence in the same way so, indeed I'd say there is much scientific reason not to take it literally.

I hope that answers your question, 'If we start with Genesis 1-2, why should we believe the gospel accounts that point to a literal resurrection of Christ?'

It's not some sort of random choice on my part. It's a matter of evidence.

yonderfield said...

I have no desire to argue about a literal 24-hour "day" in Genesis (or arguing about anything else, for that matter), but I would like to point out that you're making a pretty sizable assumption. You're assuming that someone (God or you or me) is NECESSARILY tired when He/he rests. I can get up in the morning, make a cup of coffee, sit down, and rest the remainder of the day. That doesn't automatically mean that I'm tired after the act of brewing Maxwell House. Resting can simply mean the cessation of work. Be careful not to read into Scripture things that are not there.

Eric said...

Yonderfield,

I agree completely with you that God was not tired. He is in no way limited by His own creation.

My point is simply to ask for consistency in interpretation of Genesis 1-2. I see this lacking on the part of many Christians.

Randi Jo :) said...

Wordpress doesn't notify me when others comment after me - sorry! :)

About the Moses passage. I don't know.

Moses was not trying to explain the creation account - he was passing on the law of the sabbath, right?

If God's "day" in the creation account (or always) is a lot longer than our period of "day" now ---
How else could Moses have communicated the sabbath law & also shown & explained & clarified that God was the first to have that rhythm of work/rest even if it isn't EXACTLY like ours.....that they could apply & understand?

wouldn't it just be too complex for him to explain God's time vs. our time..... when he was just trying to communicate the sabbath law? it wasn't important....I don't think He knew how many thousands would be diseccting his every word for thousands of years :)

There isn't a word used for the day of the Lord.... well there IS technically a "day of the Lord" haha but there's no place where we can understand what God's "day" could be. right? That isn't for us to see/understand/comprehend except the "thousand years" passages...there's not a word for that - just a description.

God could do it in 6 (24 hour) days. He could do it instantaneously if He chose to.

I really don't have any answers on this.
Just rambling, thanks.